MechCaL Expands Its Footprint into Zambia

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South African based fan and ventilation firm, MechCaL, has announced today that their renowned fans will be rolled out to the Zambian mining market. This marks a key point in the company’s on-going geographic expansion strategy which is aimed at increasing its presence in key growth markets.

“MechCaL has for quite some time had a policy of diversifying products and markets. The product diversification has progressed well but penetrating the smaller auxiliary fan market space outside of South Africa has been a challenge,” says MechCaL spokesperson and Managing Director, Professor Jan du Plessis. “We have started supplying products to mines in the Zambian market and we are positive that, in future, the quality and energy efficiency of our products will be valued as the premium fan product in the rest of Africa.”

This move builds upon the preliminary research into the Zambian market that MechCaL has been conducting over the past year or so which includes a fan demonstration that was held in Kitwe in April 2015. A demonstration of MechCaL’s energy efficient 45Kw fan using an ISO test column to analyze the velocity, flow and pressure of the fan was carried out to showcase the remarkable power saving capabilities of MechCaLs’ products. Gavin Ratner, Head of Marketing at MechCaL, led the demonstration and said that the results of the demonstration made an impression on the Zambian delegates.

“We conducted the test in the presence of mining representatives from the surrounding areas and I believe that their reaction to our products was very positive. This definitely opened the door for MechCaL to begin exporting products to service the Zambian market,” said Ratner.

In order to ensure smooth delivery and availability of fans to Zambia’s mining market, MechCaL has appointed Best Line Mining Supplies Ltd as their agent. According to Tom Hight at Best Line their move to join up with MechCaL will help alleviate demand for energy efficient products in the region. “We decided to become MechCals partner in both Zambia and the DRC due to the level of innovation in their products. Energy is becoming a concern in our region, with more demand than supply of power, coupled by a 30% energy increase in the 2014-2015 year. This has encouraged Best Line to assist with client assisted solutions to optimise the current mining operations,” says Hight.

“We appointed Best Line as they are extensively involved in ventilation in the sub-Saharan region. They are currently supplying the range of 15kW, 37kW, 45kW and 75kW MechCaL fans,” says Prof du Plessis. To date, MechCaL fans have been installed for Glencore’s Mopani Copper Mines Plc. Their preliminary order included 17 fans from across the MechCaL product range, including five of MechCaL’s new Jet Fans.

Hight believes that the outlook for MechCaL’s products in terms of Zambia’s mining industry is positive as new innovative equipment for mines could play an important support role to the mines overcoming recent challenges in the region.  “We have been hit hard in the Copper industry along with all commodity prices that have crashed since June 2015. This has placed a lot of strain on the mining economy, coupled with increases in mineral royalties and energy tariff increases. However, we remain positive and are working closely with the mines to provide solutions to improve efficiency.”

According to Prof du Plessis, one of the main challenges that they are faced with affecting exporting and installing fans for Zambian clients would be ensuring that they receive MechCaL’s latest innovative products. “We would definitely want to see more of our newer products from the Jet Fan range being supplied. We have developed an extensive range of products for the Jet Fan line from fans as small as 5kW all the way up to 45kW.”

“Supplying the best possible products to each and every client supports our goal of becoming the premier fan supplier in Africa. Zambia is one of the larger underground markets that we feel can be easily supplied from South Africa,” Prof du Plessis concludes.

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