"We hope to see continuous growth, even beyond South Africa, as the rest of the continent becomes more industrialized and implements local content policies."
Can you give an overview of Fabchem Mining and the company’s history in South Africa?
Fabchem was established in 1996 and specializes in providing total underground support solutions for hard rock and coal mines. We are a trusted and reliable manufacturer, distributor, and supplier with a footprint across Africa, Australia and South America. Our primary markets are in the SADEC and West African regions. Our main business is strata control, and we manufacture and sell different anchors which are customized based on clients’ specifications and are suitable for any hole size. We aim to continuously develop advanced innovative solutions for the mining and civil strata support industries.
Can you elaborate on Fabchem’s innovative products?
Fabchem is a leading OEM of strata control products. We innovate through intensive market research and performance appraisal of our current and new products. Our stressing jacks, used to tension cable anchors, are the lightest on the market, which significantly helps with productivity and overall ergonomics. Our grout detector is a handheld electronic unit used to detect and provide assurance that an anchor has been full column grouted during and after an installation of a cable anchor. The grout detector also uses sensors attached to the cable anchor to detect that sufficient grout is pumped to cover the full length of the cable anchor. Up to three colour-coded sensors are installed to measure at the start, centre, and end of the cable anchor. If you don’t grout properly, the risk of ground fall is much higher, and thus our validation device is an innovative solution that significantly increases safety. Fachem also offers portable drilling equipment, including new and refurbished portable gopher roof bolters.
Have local content laws in South Africa contributed to Fabchem’s growth?
The focus on local content development has facilitated the company’s growth in many ways. Mines are looking to help local companies develop, improve their technologies, and become globally competitive. We hope to see continuous growth, even beyond South Africa, as the rest of the continent becomes more industrialized and implements local content policies.
How is the company capitalizing on digitization and automation trends?
Fabchem is differentiated through its innovations and generates new technologies to stay competitive in a global market. We have projects underway to ensure that our products and systems embrace the fourth industrial revolution. Most of the systems we use to run our business are already cloud-based, giving us remote visibility and flexibility. We are also starting to install digital principles into our products, enabling us to link our machines to the cloud and implement automation technologies to increase safety.
How does the South African mining charter support local manufacturers and promote their development?
The mining charter, as it applies to the procurement of goods, has been a major step forward. There are areas where the Minerals Council is challenging the charter, but we are yet to see the outcome. Overall, local content requirements helped us focus on what can be achieved in South Africa. We are not yet as organized as we should be concerning local manufacturing, but we are on the right path. Promoting local manufacturing is also a huge opportunity for job creation.
Product coding is essential so that demands can be aggregated. Once we know the volumes being consumed by the mining industry, it is much easier to build a business case around producing items locally. A proper coding system will allow for easy reporting on consumables and local content procurement. There is also the challenge of various definitions of local content, and this uncertainty needs to be cleared up to increase investor confidence and attract FDI.