Anaconda Enters The African Market
By: Nelendhre Moodley.
East Rand-based Vermeer Equipment Suppliers is one such company that evaluated the situation and changed tack.
The company recently expanded its product offering to include the Irish brand of equipment, the Anaconda range, to its suite of Vermeer products.
“As a supplier of Vermeer products, we firmly believed in ensuring brand purity, focusing on supplying good-quality products and supporting these with unsurpassed technical backing and after-sales service.
“But the impact of COVID-19 and the subsequent hard lockdowns in 2020 found us re-evaluating our business model. We took the opportunity to expand our product range which helps us to access a complementary market segment and broaden our client base,” says MD Frank Beerthuis.
“As a small business, Vermeer Equipment Suppliers is agile and flexible enough to make quick decisions to turn the business around.”
Where the Vermeer product range for the opencast mining industry is well suited to surface mining of specific orebodies that contain softer materials such as graphite, coal, kimberlite, bauxite and limestone, the Anaconda product line is suited to more arduous mining conditions, he says.
Northern Ireland equipment manufacturer Anaconda has been seeking entry into new markets and has already partnered with equipment suppliers in Australia, Eastern Europe and Russia for distribution of its product range, and was eyeing a footprint into the resource-rich African continent.
In 2020, Anaconda Equipment inked a product supply deal with Vermeer Equipment Suppliers in South Africa.
“We signed the deal after intense investigation into the Anaconda product range. We found the products to be robust, high quality and the organisation being well respected in industry. Moreover, their products are suitable to the African market and offer us synergies from which we can leverage,” says Beerthuis.
The Anaconda product line consists of crushers, scalping screens, finishing screens and stacking conveyors for the mining industry.
The first Anaconda scalping screen (Anaconda DF518) arrived in South Africa in early April – ahead of the shipment of crushers and stacking conveyors and an array of maintenance and spare parts for the Anaconda product line.
The Anaconda DF518 is a mobile 32-tonne machine, built on steel tracks and equipped with a high-energy 18ft x 5ft (5.48m x 1.52m) screen box and three foldable stacking conveyors. It is powered by a robust Caterpillar diesel engine.
Flagging the key features of the Anaconda product line, sales manager Shaun O’Toole explains that aside from being strong, long-lasting and able to handle the arduous mining conditions in Africa, the product line is equipped with robust and field-proven technology, allowing for ease of use combined with longevity.
Owing to COVID-19 restrictions, plans for a customer day to showcase the new range of products has been shelved. Vermeer Equipment Suppliers has opted instead for a staged and individualised event taking place over a few weeks to ensure customers’ safety.
“There is already massive interest in the product line,” says O’Toole, who expects that the newly arrived scalping screen will be sold even before customers have had a chance to view the machine in action.
“We have received interest from mining and quarrying companies with some showing an avid interest in purchasing the products.”
Meanwhile, to test the capabilities of the newly arrived scalping screen on South African soil, Vermeer is scheduled to have it operating onsite in North West province in early May.
In line with the new product expansion initiative, the company is in the process of growing its staff complement.
“As demand for Anaconda products increase, we will grow the team to ensure that the Anaconda brand of products is adequately supported – be it technical support or aftermarket support.
“Initially we plan to supply products to clients in South Africa and surrounding countries and as we become familiar with the associated requirements, we will expand the offering further into sub-Saharan Africa,” says Beerthuis.
To meet the current needs, Vermeer has appointed new staff, including O’Toole and additional manpower within the service team.
Although the Anaconda product range comes into a matured African market for mobile crushing and screening equipment that is already home to several well-established brands, Beerthuis believes there is space for the Anaconda range.
“Anaconda is a brand that has proven itself in many parts of the world and we believe that despite the highly competitive market we are in, there is appetite for the Anaconda product line.
“Demand for such equipment is being driven by the rapid rate of urbanisation in Africa which sees massive infrastructure developments under way, including roads and buildings, resulting in a growing need for aggregates. Further to this, there is the strong demand for commodities, which also drives demand for mining equipment,” explains Beerthuis.