Mining after the Pandemic
Real Estate

Mining after the Pandemic

Photo courtesy: Tata Hitachi Prior to the pandemic, the mining equipment market was absorbing about 500+ excavators, over 600 wheel loaders and nearly 200+ dump trucks annually, according to figures shared by Tata Hitachi. Mining was classified an essential services ...

Photo courtesy: Tata Hitachi Prior to the pandemic, the mining equipment market was absorbing about 500+ excavators, over 600 wheel loaders and nearly 200+ dump trucks annually, according to figures shared by Tata Hitachi. Mining was classified an essential services during the lockdown and hence many mines were operational. However, “industries absorbing the output of mining, such as power plants using coal and urban construction using steel and cement, themselves saw a dip in demand (for power, steel and cement respectively, and so on) and hence, the overall demand for mined minerals and metals dipped,” notes Sujeet Kumar, Business Line Manager, Surface Division, Epiroc Mining India. “Consequently, the first quarter of FY21 generated no demand for mining equipment.” Only after the initial lockdown was lifted did demand for excavators, dumpers and wheel loaders start to revive, observes Hemant Mathur, Assistant Vice President Sales and Marketing, Tata Hitachi. “With infrastructure projects restarting, we witnessed some revival in demand in June, July and August,” shares Jasmeet Singh, Head, Corporate Communications and Corporate Relations, JCB India. Singh expects the next three months to be very critical for the industry, especially because the Covid-19 setback came at a time when the economy was already experiencing a slowdown. “Demand resumed in July and has shown a month-on-month increasing trend ever since such that today it is almost where it was in January 2020 before the pandemic outbreak,” says Kumar. He expects demand to fully bounce back by January 2021. In-demand equipment So, what machines are in demand today? “Coal India is investing substantially in surface mining equipment—recent equipment tenders for high capacity electric mining shovels, dump trucks and draglines have run into several hundred crores,” observes Shib Bhowmik, Country Head, Komatsu Mining Corp. Group, Joy Global (India). In this category, Joy’s (Komatsu Mining Corp) “P&H” brand surface equipment portfolio is known for reliability, build quality and productiveness. “Coal India and Singareni Collieries are also investing in underground mining machines to increase production, particularly in continuous cutting technology,” adds Bhowmik. Joy being by far the global leader in continuous miners, shuttle cars/battery haulers, roof bolters and feeder breakers it sees good prospects for these equipments. “NTPC and some private entities are also making major investments in creating substantial coal mining capacity,” adds Bhowmik. Plough feeders and semi-mobile crushing plants with primary sizers are in demand in coal handling plants, according to Indranil Roy, Director, Material Handling Equipment, thyssenkrupp Industries India. “In the iron ore sector, thyssenkrupp is seeing demand for equipment such as long distance conveyors (pipe as well as troughed), crushing and screening systems with jaw crushers, cone crushers, etc.” “In aggregate crushing and screening plants, thyssenkrupp is seeing rising demand for screens, conveyors, jaw crushers, cone crushers etc.” “Demand for 45T to 100T class of excavators with 1-35cum bucket capacity, 35T tippers and off highway dumpers has started showing signs of increase, primarily driven by coal mining,” says Mathur. “Other segments like iron ore mining, limestone have also started showing signs of recovery.” The mining segment is mainly absorbing large excavators and wheeled loaders, adds Singh. Feature-wise customers Labour scarcity due to labour migration has increased interest in highly productive machines like the SmartROC Series and SpeedROC 2FA, opines Kumar. Customers are looking for machines with the latest safety compliances, and which are highly reliable and fuel-efficient, says Mathur. Tata Hitachi’s GI series of excavators come with Consite, an onboard health-monitoring system, which imparts information on the health of the machine, tracks its GPS location and helps to remotely monitor the machine and enhance its efficiency. JCB’s LiveLink telematics technology delivering security, operations and services (SOS) on machine owners’ smart devices is enabled on almost 150,000 JCB machines working across the country. With LiveLink, users can remotely oversee their entire fleet in real-time and access critical machine information such as the fuel level, battery condition, etc. for higher productivity and control cost. Linked machines are geo-fenced and can be located anywhere, even when stolen. Industry wish-list Going forward, Roy expects good growth in demand for crushing, screening and conveying systems in the mining industry, which is presently worth approximately Rs 15,000 crore. Roy also foresees a huge growth potential in the coal sector considering the recent initiatives by the Government of India to open up mining to include commercial mining and auction 41 coal blocks, and the need for crushing and conveying systems in existing mines for the transport of coal to the railway loading station. Bhowmik expects Coal India’s expansion plans to generate substantial demand for drills, loaders, shovels, mining trucks, etc. and continuous mining equipment for underground operations. He expects coal block auctions for commercial mining to add demand for these equipments from next year onwards. Singh expects reform in the coal sector and the consequent rise in coal mining activities to decrease dependence on imports, drive positive sentiment in the industry, and increase demand for large excavators and wheeled loaders. However, coal reform is not enough to boost mining. “Sustained spend on infrastructure development including the proposed investment of Rs 111 lakh crore in the National Infrastructure Pipeline and in frontloading some large projects, including logistics projects enhancing capacity at ports, improving operational efficiency and connectivity, is vital for the revival of industry, including mining,” opines Singh. “Railway and large projects like Sagarmala, Bharatmala and Jal Marg Vikas, in the pipeline, must also continue to be given impetus to improve logistics.” Singh points out that liquidity is essential; the risk appetite of banks and NBFCs should not become nil. After-sales challenges Tata Hitachi maintains service locations very close to mine sites, fully stocked with spares, consumables and lubricants, and staffed round-the-clock by Tata Hitachi service engineers. JCB’s after-sales services is facilitated by SmartServe, an application for service requirements, service engineers and service jobs, to enable the dealership to locate and map their service engineer. Meticulous planning and safe operations practices have allowed Joy to continue to offer customer-facing operations and after-sales services during the pandemic. But this hasn’t been everyone’s experience. thyssenkrupp has transitioned from physical commissioning to the virtual commissioning of machines and provisioning after-sales support. Epiroc has been at the forefront to support customers for timely after-sales services and has ensured customers get uninterrupted supply of parts, consumables and services. Innovations such as training engineers remotely and using virtual reality for maintenance work on drills have further strengthened the brand value of Epiroc. Timely services are vital to tide over this challenging situation. Watch out for these new technologies Epiroc is bringing about a paradigm shift in the way drilling is done in surface mines by introducing revolutionary technology, bench remote drilling. This will be used to run 3X drills from a bench remote station situated far from hazardous area of mining operations. In line with its aim to promote blast-free coal mining technology in India, “thyssenkrupp proposes to launch new technology for mining hard rock up to 50 MPa with a compact bucket-wheel excavator, thus boosting drill-and-blast-free environment-friendly mining and simultaneously cutting mining costs,” explains Indranil Roy, Director, Material Handling Equipment, thyssenkrupp Industries India. In recent times, Komatsu India has introduced battery-operated hauling equipment (battery haulers) for underground coal mining. Working without trailing cables, these are more flexible, and have increased production and productivity from underground operations. thyssenkrupp has also launched steep angle pipe conveyors, which can convey material at inclines up to 32 degrees with horizontal and vertical curves. JCB India has been consistently supporting the mining sector with state-of-art machines like JCB 380 (a 38 Tonne excavator), JCB 455ZX (a 5.5 Tonne payload machine), and JCB India’s Excon’19 launches the ecoXpert backhoe loader; the NXT range of excavators (14T to 24.5T); the Quarry Master range of excavators (14T to 38T) category; side-engined telehandlers. Next, JCB is looking forward to consolidating its product range in India. Used mining equipment, anyone? In July 2020, Tata Hitachi launched a used equipment website where consumers can buy and sell Tata Hitachi certified used equipment and exchange their machines of any brand for certified ones. Hemant Mathur, Assistant Vice President Sales and Marketing, Tata Hitachi, explains how the website works: “Under the Tata Hitachi Premium Used programme, the company offers certified refurbished used ZAXIS-series excavators. Under the Tata Hitachi Value Plus programme, certified refurbished used EX-series excavators, wheel loaders and backhoe loaders are on offer. Tata Hitachi engineers evaluate used equipment against a comprehensive 64-point checklist. All these Tata Hitachi models come with limited warranty and free services. Tata Hitachi buys back used excavators, wheel loaders and backhoe loaders, exchanging those with a new Tata Hitachi machine.”

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