Liviero mining chooses Komatsu
The Komatsu D475 machine working at Liviero Mining.jpg
Jan Steyn, Plant Director at Liviero Mining, was one of a number of executives from major South African mining and construction houses that recently returned from an intensive fact-finding visit to Komatsu headquarters in Japan.
Liviero Mining is a subsidiary of the Liviero Group, widely recognised as the country’s largest black-owned multidisciplinary construction and mining organisation. It gained entry to the mining industry in 2012, and has since made impressive strides into the coal sector. The current fleet is made up of a wide range of opencast equipment that collectively moves in the region of 40 million banked cubic meters of material a year.
Jan joined the operation back in 2013, with an impressive industry CV that includes 15 years of involvement at a senior level with another manufacturer of mining and construction equipment.
Much of his work revolved around the compilation of detailed comparisons between competitor offerings against a wide range of products, taking into account performance, price, operating costs spares availability and service back-up.
Doing so gained him an encyclopedic knowledge of market product applications and how to match specific types of machinery to meet individual customer requirements. It also involved working on behalf of some of the mining industry’s biggest players, including giants like the Anglo American Group.
It was this experience that he put to good use when Liviero elected to increase its dozer fleet to raise output at its two major coal-producing sites: Tweefontein where it provides contracting services for Glencore and Vanggatfontein, which it manages for Keaton Energy Holdings.
“Independent assessments based on performance, efficiency and cost considerations made the Komatsu 475 the obvious product of choice, not only in terms of mining productivity but as an essential tool for planned longer-term rehabilitation projects.
“Another important consideration in light of production pressures was that Komatsu could provide prompt delivery.
“A total of two D475s are now in service following a seamless delivery, commissioning and operator training process, and early indications are that the dozers are not merely performing to expectation but have endeared themselves to Liviero operators,” he says.
He explains that the first operators trained were selected on the strength of their ability and experience, and they immediately adapted to the new machines. They are easy to operate and are relatively quiet with a very comfortable air-conditioned cab.
From Jan’s perspective, the machines are performing completely in line with expectations and he is keen to see their operational records once they reach the crucial 15,000-hour mark.
The application of technology to its mining business is a cornerstone of Liviero Mining operations, a fact made immediately apparent from to the control room at its ultra-modern Middelburg, Mpumalanga, headquarters.
Control center room manager Steve van der Merwe and his team provide detailed information concerning the operational performance, fuel and lubricant consumption of literally every piece of equipment in every location at the single press of a button, while the KomTrax Plus option fits perfectly with the company’s operational philosophy.
Coming from this sophisticated environment, Jan was looking forward to his journey of discovery in Japan, and it turned out to be an eye-opening experience.
“The first thing you notice is the discipline of the people working in Komatsu plants. The factories are immaculate with an atmosphere of good housekeeping, cleanliness and an obvious concern for safety. And the productivity is amazing. Each production line assembles 25 complete machines during a single shift.”
He comments that there is less automation than he had expected as a high content of each machine is assembled by hand. He was impressed by the work ethic and pride taken by individuals in their work.
From Komatsu’s perspective, the customers viewing the products under construction was only part of the story, and this stage of the Komatsu experience was something our South African customers will remember for a very long time to come.
“A highlight for all of us was the opportunity to sample even the latest products at its test facility. For some of the more ‘hands-on’ customers it was an opportunity to try out newly-developed versions of old favourites, while for others it provided the chance to experience the power of using sophisticated and powerful machinery under highly skilled supervision.”
His own personal experience was centered on his time spent behind the wheel of an HD785 rigid dump truck.