Modern Mining September 2016


feather in our cap. The materials handling system has been com- missioned and we’re now all but complete with our contract, with just a handful of our people still on site.” Still in the mining field, ELBCON has just started an assignment at Assmang’s Black Rock Mine Operations (BRMO) in the Northern Cape which will see it constructing a Rapid Train Loading Station (RTLS), an asso- ciated feed conveyor, as well as two product stackers. Black Rock Mine Operations is operated by Assmang Limited, which is jointly owned by Assore Limited and African Rainbow Minerals Limited. ELBCON has not confined its activities to South Africa and has operated as far north as

Above: Construction at Black Rock Mine Operations in the Northern Cape. Left: Celebrating one million LTI-free hours at Medupi.

projects. “Typically, the smaller contracts will be assignments such as scheduled plant shut- downs, preventative maintenance projects or repairs following equipment breakdowns,” he states. “This type of work – which can last as little as a day or as long as several weeks – is one of our specialties and we provide a full service which includes assistance with the planning and scheduling of outages. “Within our workforce, we have a core of 40 people,” says Budd. “They constitute a young, competitive, hands-on team – there’s a huge amount of energy. We believe in allowing our managers to exercise their initiative and this is promoted by the fact that we have a relatively flat reporting structure. There are no barriers to fast decision-making. “ELBCON now has a substantial fleet of vehicles and heavy equipment which includes trucks, rough-terrain hydraulic cranes, forklifts, generators, welding equipment and LDVs,” he says. “We also, incidentally, have a substantial investment in IT systems and make use of state- of-the-art software for estimating and costing projects and for site management.” Finally, and discussing current conditions in the marketplace, Budd acknowledges that the recession in mining has not left ELBCON unscathed. “We’re facing the same challenges as everyone else operating in the mining sector and our order book, as a result, is not where we would like it to be. But we’ve avoided retrench- ing people and have maintained our team intact. We’re also, as a company, very optimis- tic about the future,” he concludes. 

Sierra Leone where it refurbished facilities at the port of Pepel (for the Tonkolili iron ore project). Closer to ‘home’, it has completed projects in Zambia (notably at Ndola Lime on the Copperbelt), the DRC (for a mining client) and Mozambique (where it refurbished and upgraded materials handling facilities at the Matola coal terminal). Its only cross-border contract currently is at a diamond mine in Botswana but Budd says that within a matter of weeks the company will be returning to the DRC to work on a tailings project. While ELBCON identifies as a construction company, Budd points out that it is not in the business of directly executing civils and building work. “Our core expertise lies in project super- vision and site management and we ‘buy in’ the civils and building work we need,” he explains. “Having said this, we are a fully-fledged struc- tural, mechanical and piping contractor and within the group we have sister companies with related skills. B&W Instrumentation and Electrical – very prominent in the E&I field – was purchased by the ELB Group in 2014 while, in the same year, we also launched a new busi- ness unit, ELB Conveyor Maintenance, which handles all aspects of conveyor installation, commissioning and maintenance. We work closely with both these companies and their skills complement our own.” Regarding the scope of work that ELBCON can handle, Budd says that contracts can range in value from less than a hundred thousand rand to several hundred million rand on some of the bigger mining and power generation

“Our core expertise lies in project supervision and site management and we ‘buy in’

the civils and building work we need.”

September 2016  MODERN MINING  31

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