Dealing with the mining downturn

Dealing with the mining downturn


Despite the downturn in the global commodities market,outsourced plant operations and maintenance specialist Minopex, a member of global multidisciplinary engineering firm DRA, was able to renew and maintain almost all of its contracts during 2015, testament to its “superior value-added and bespoke service offering”.

While one of Minopex’s contracts was not renewed in 2015 owing to the tough operating environment, the company still operates and maintains an impressive 13 mineral processing plants in Africa, as well as one plant overseas, says Minopex South Africa business development director Rafael Abela.

In 2015, Minopex was awarded a contract at the Ad Duwayhi gold mining project in Saudi Arabia, owned by Saudi Arabia’s largest mining group Ma’aden Gold and Base Metals.

The contract entails the operation and maintenance of the gold extraction process plant as well as up-skilling the local staff.


Using its minerals processing and operational readiness expertise, Minopex is able to gear up to production quickly, which will helps its clients receive a quicker return on their investment, says Abela.

Furthermore, the outsourced operation and maintenance of the processing plant can reduce business risk as plant availabilities are optimised. “Partnering with Minopex also allows a client to focus on its core mining competencies, while Minopex takes care of the rest.”


Minopex’s service offering extends to every aspect of minerals processing including:

  • Health and safety;
  • Plant process operation, control and optimisation;
  • Asset maintenance and management;
  • Contract management and administration;
  • Purchasing;
  • Stores control;
  • Training and skills development;
  • Sub-contractor management;
  • Environmental management; and
  • Waste and tailings.


While the South African mining industry was marred by labour unrest during 2014 and 2015, compounded by strike threats as a result of wage negotiation stalemates in the gold and coal industries, Minopex ensured that no strike action took place at any of its clients’ 11 South African operations. “We ensured our clients’ plants performed to standard as promised.”


“Our focus has been on improving optimisation efficiencies, in terms of plant availability, processing and overall plant operation. If we are able to improve efficiencies within the plant as well as along the entire minerals processing value chain then will be able to unlock further value for our clients and add to the clients bottom line,” says Abela.


While most of Minopex’s business is in the platinum, coal, diamonds, chromite and gold sectors in South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana, Tanzania, Mozambique and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia the company is expecting more work in the phosphate, iron ore and coal sectors in Africa in the short-term future.

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