Solving mining's toughest challenges
Joy Global have become one of the biggest suppliers of products and related services to the mining industry in Sub-Saharan Africa
Writer Matt Bone
Project Manager Tom Cullum
Joy Global Inc. is a worldwide leader in high-productivity mining solutions. With over 130 years' experience in the manufacture, sales and service of original equipment and related parts for the surface and underground mining industries, Joy Global have become one of the biggest suppliers of products and related services to the mining industry in Sub-Saharan Africa. The first Joy Global sales office in Africa was opened in 1929 in Johannesburg and has steadily grown to now boast a staff compliment of over 1500.
The company's products are used extensively for the mining of coal, copper, iron ore, oil sands, gold and other mineral resources. Matimba Mahange, Sales & Marketing Director for Underground Mining at Joy Global Africa, explains just why Joy Global has been so successful: "We pride ourselves on providing a full range of value-added aftermarket services for the mining industry. Our focus is on mining and mining only. We are committed to assisting our customers' needs and requests at every turn. To achieve this, we use a Life Cycle Management approach, which places the highest value on continuous and exceptional customer support."
Advancing the Industry
Joy Global Africa have invested over R80 million in a new distribution and service centre at their Wadeville Plant in South Africa. This new plant will enable them to better service their customers from a central localised base. "With the opening of this new distribution facility, we can continue in our effort to provide our customers with world class service," Mahange cites.
Furthermore, Joy Global Africa introduced the largest front end wheel loader, the P&H Brand Series LeTourneau Series L-2350 front end wheel loader, to the South African mining industry which is currently being used at one of the world's largest iron ore mines in South Africa.
In March 2014, Joy Global Africa introduced a new Joy 12HM37-C continuous miner developed to meet high productivity requirements of today's underground mining industry. This miner has a cutting capability of 30 tonnes per minute, which has greatly reduced cutting times for Southern Africa's high seam coal mining.
New product development remains a key focus for Joy Global and their future plans. Joy Global has invested R70 million in hard rock mining research and development in South Africa. This is exclusive new mining research that will benefit the global mining industry and allow the company to expand its footprint beyond South Africa into new green field projects in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Over the last 3 years, industry-wide market challenges have been a big factor for Joy Global. The global mining market has been in a decline with the demand, specifically in the USA, on the decrease. Mahange has an optimistic outlook on the markets though: "We see how the current market conditions not only here in Africa, but on a global scale, have changed over the last few years and we are prepared to combat this. We have started to realign our business models, during these tough times, to ensure that our service remains of the highest quality for our customers," he states, adding that "our customers always come first in the business."
Although the market is proving very challenging for the company, Joy Global are still able to identify vast opportunities for their business in Africa. "We are seeing more mining houses expanding their business opportunities beyond Southern Africa, and we need to ensure that we are ready to support them in all their mining needs," Mahange remarks, clearly feeling that the market is not as suppressed in Africa as it is elsewhere.
Infrastructure in South Africa has been a challenge for the mining industry, which relies very heavily on rail and road links to supply coal for the export market. Even though RBCT has a capacity of 91Mtpa coal capacity at present, due to rail infrastructure, they only export 71Mtpa. RBCT would like to expand the capacity by 2018 to 81MT Pa coal. Rail is seen as integral to the overall success. Private sector investment in the development and operation of the expansion of coal loading terminals plays an important role in the industry going forward.
Improving on Success
Joy Global have seen their company achieve great success in Africa due to operating their business within a direct service model as Mahange explains: "At Joy Global, our field service team will attend the mines to resolve any service issues that may arise. We do not rely on third parties to service our equipment; our people are passionate about working directly with our customers to solve mining's toughest challenges. we believe that being close to our customers enables us to partner with them to continuously improve our products, processes and services to assist them in driving zero harm targets, resulting in higher productivity at the lowest cost possible."
A key factor in the company's success has been exposure on a wider scale. Having previously attended and been well received at several mining conferences and expo's, Joy Global are proudly exhibiting at the 2014 Electra mining Expo in Johannesburg in September. This expo will give potential clients and customers a chance to speak with the company and better understand just how Joy global can become an integral part of their projects.
Partnering with customers is becoming increasingly important within the mining industry, and Joy Global are ensuring that they fulfil this. "We need to work together with customers to solve the toughest challenges of safely increasing production while lowering operating costs. this is creating growth in our direct service and support network, namely our Smart Services centre where we can monitor equipment remotely and anticipate when a customer may need a particular part or service, so the mine can continue to operate at optimal levels," highlighted Mahange. Joy global opened their Smart Services centre in South Africa in 2009. Since then, Joy Global have added five additional Smart Services centres in 2013 globally and more will be added this year.
Joy In the Community
Joy Global have been working with a great vigour in projects that give back to the community. One such is a community-based organisation, aimed at preventing and managing HIV/AIDS, which has already proved to be much needed in the local area. The company have also helped build a TB clinic, which will help people in need in rural areas in South Africa. Mahange is keen to show that Joy global have a strong awareness of the environment in which Joy global operates: "we are proud to be in partnership with a community-based organisation, supporting initiatives aimed at preventing, managing and treating TB and HIV/AIDS. Joy global have contributed towards the building of a tB clinic which serves the greater Ekurhuleni area, in South Africa." a large part of the company's spend on socio-economic development goes towards basic and essential needs to support local communities and those in some of the poorest parts of the country, where education alone cannot alleviate the problems.
Reinvesting in the Country
One of Joy Global's biggest commitments is to the South African market as a whole. They have consistently poured investment into the people, by means of training and up-skilling local workers and investing significantly in apprentices who will be trained as boiler makers, electricians and so on. These apprentices help build up the local community, who in turn generate more money for the local economy. It is this cyclical approach to investment that has truly put Joy global at the heart of local business in South Africa.
Even in the business markets, Joy Global Africa maintains a strong level of commitment to their customers. They currently have over 70 engineers on site and on call, ready to help with any problems that may arise and can be dispatched to locations across the country. Mahange emphasises that the company is always on hand to help: "We offer a complete system solution to our clients, from design through to service. We aim to help our customers get the most out of every product they buy from us."