Committed to Mechanical Efficiency
Writer: Emily Jarvis
Project Manager: Arron Rampling
Redpath Mining remains led by its Founder’s philosophy to rise up in the face of challenge in order to succeed in a competitive mining environment. In line with these guiding words, the Company recently made the fundamental decision to move away from traditional handheld drilling and blasting methods, embracing world-class industry practices, in a move towards mechanising all projects within its portfolio to create the desire in the industry for its continued and valuable service offering.
“Substantial capital investment has been put towards trackless mobile machinery to safely execute projects within a faster time frame and reduce total cost of ownership commitments,” highlights Bennie Burger, General Manager of Mining for Redpath Mining South Africa (Pty) Ltd.
Established in 1962 by Jim Redpath, the Company has a rich history focused on calculated growth in order to maintain a high calibre reputation of executing mining projects all over the globe. The Group’s steadfast footprint around the world comprises operations on six continents in 19 countries with eight different spoken languages; spanning some of the most remote and extreme environments including arctic, high altitudes, deserts and tropical conditions.
Determined to provide an unrivalled level of service to the mining industry which exceeds accepted standards, Redpath Mining has a controlled growth plan involving both internal and external improvement initiatives to embrace industry trends while staying at the cutting-edge of innovation, safety and mining practices.
“Jim Redpath’s vision for the Company is much the same as it was in the beginning; offering a high level of service to the mining industry which exceeds current standards and provides challenge for employees,” he adds.
With a foundation built on global experience, adaptability and exceptional workmanship, Redpath Mining South Africa has been actively involved in various mining projects across Africa including South Africa, Botswana, Zambia and Burkina Faso; ranging from shaft sinking, infrastructure development, high-speed development, contract mining, raise boring and specialised mining work.
Its major projects are located in Zambia - where the Company executes projects on an assortment of mines for Mopani Copper Mines, of which Glencore is the majority shareholder - and South Africa, executing projects for Impala Platinum and Northam Platinum.
“Our first step towards increasing our mechanisation came in Zambia, where we launched our first blind boring machine at Mopani. Fitted on tracks, this independently operating machine uses state-of-the-art technology to drill 1.5 diameter holes upwards to a maximum of 50 metres, offering a total solution to our clients,” says Burger.
“The quality of execution remains a cornerstone of our business, therefore we have established a solid plan to control and strengthen our concerted effort towards continuous improvement.”
High performance teams
Forming another crucial component of its continuous improvement is Redpath Mining’s focus on establishing high-performance teams to accompany its advanced product range. Burger explains: “This is so that we create an even better level of consistency across our employees by consolidating our resources to create a smaller team with highly effective skillsets.
“By doing so, we can engender better risk management in the daily running of our operations and simplify our other processes alongside this so as to become more efficient.”
Supporting this is the Company’s integrated management system which not only encompasses operational protocols, but also incorporates a document management system and global fatal prevention programme to improve health and safety results and endorse our safety slogan of “Safety First, Last and Always”.
Burger says: “We are driven by a total safety company culture and a set of operating values which have been carefully developed through best practice training schemes. Employees remain our greatest assets and we will continue to provide them with reasonable challenge and scope within our organisation.”
Despite the familiar challenge of skills shortages in South Africa, Redpath Mining remains confident in its ability to compete on international projects and remuneration, driven by its passion to provide employment to local South Africans and upskilling these employees where possible. “We are in a unique position where we can leverage the Group’s international expertise to add depth of knowledge to our teams and additionally, create highly skilled local individuals through our own academy on the occasions where the right skills do not already exist,” he further adds.
For any company pursuing global growth today, an efficient and mutually beneficial supply chain has become critical to securing a competitive advantage. Redpath Mining has worked hard to create a sustainable partnership with many quality local suppliers where possible, complementing this with its international relationships with key vendors from the wider Redpath Group.
Burger reasons: “We chose to partner with major international logistics vendor who have a large African footprint and the capacity to cater for the large amount of cargo and equipment we procure or rent. As we often move large amounts of equipment between our regional offices, it lends itself to ex-works Incoterms, this means we require door-to-door services from a single supply chain partner and facilitates the management thereof.
“Moreover, most African countries subscribe to withholding taxes for services such as transport and subsequently, we therefore require an international supply chain partner who is able to invoice us locally in the country we are operating in, something the smaller operators cannot offer. At the end of the day it is all about being as cost-effective as possible and balancing this with the right quality to better align our supply chain with our overall business strategy.”
Equipped with a comprehensive strategy that encompasses a highly-skilled team, competitive positioning and a streamlined supply chain, Redpath Mining is continuing on its path to excellence by investing in its core business attributes; to both combat and welcome new challenges along the way.
“Challenge is an important part of life, and this is our core guiding philosophy that drives us forward to achieve more in Africa.
“Going forward, we remain focused on bolstering our safety policies and increasing our brand presence to create a more diversified client base. As a well-recognised name in local South African and Zambian markets, we want to expand our existing and potential client base by demonstrating our ability to execute projects safely, more efficiently and in the most cost-effective manner,” Burger concludes.