Modi Mining relies on load and haul equipment from Bell Equipment.
Ever since Sam Molefi had qualified as a mining engineer at the Witwatersrand Technikon and had gone on to work, first as a learner official before taking on more responsibilities in this challenging field, he knew that he wanted to be an entrepreneur in mining.
And having started his working career in mining, he thought it apt that when he registered his own company in 2007, he should call it Modi Mining. The word ‘modi’ in the Setswana language means ‘root’ and he is by his own admission, rooted in mining.
“However in the lead-up to operating independently, I had to learn a few things and one of them was patience,” he says. “Registering your company and then registering on mining companies’ vendor lists is a simple thing but finding work is another.”
Molefi persevered though and his first contract saw his three crews of 13 people each working hard in white area stopes, where the old and seemingly worked-out production area of a platinum mine are reclaimed and swept, to retrieve every fine bit of precious platinum ore. He also extended his services to that of manufacturing and, in his modest plant in Klerksdorp, he manufacturers blasting barricades, pipes, headboards, winch clamps and sweeping scrapers – all items that are directly used in mining. The operations of Modi Mining are out of Rustenburg.
“I always felt though that we were destined for bigger work and when we landed a waste ore handling contract at Impala Platinum’s 20 Shaft in 2013, I knew I now had to invest in a Wheeled Loader and get serious,” he says. “I knew Bell Equipment as an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) and had read good things about the company and its BBBEE initiatives and this swung me to buy a Bell L1806E Wheeled Loader.”
When Molefi needed a reliable haulage machine for the same contract, he again turned to Bell Equipment and this time, made use of the OEM’s initiative with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) – the Black Business Supplier Development Programme – to obtain finance to buy a Bell B18E Articulated Dump Truck (ADT). This initiative has since moved to fall under the auspices of the Ministry for Small Enterprise Development.
“Working on the waste dump on a mine is not suitable for any truck as underfoot conditions are challenging at times and this is why I decided on a Bell B18E ADT,” he says. “I fitted the Fleetm@tic system, which has proved to be a marvelous control tool, especially when monitoring fuel burn, tonnages moved and operator behaviour.”
Molefi mentions the case of an ADT operator wanting to claim overtime payment and when his hours were checked on the Fleetm@tic system, his claim could be refuted.
During 2015, Modi Mining landed a contract for stockpiling material on a platinum mine near Rustenburg and Molefi again turned to Bell Equipment and the company’s sales representative, Devon Cort.
“We had to prove to Modi Mining’s clients that a low-hour used wheeled loader that we had in mind for this project, could in fact deliver and we subsequently made it available to Sam for this purpose,” says Cort. “The machine, a Bell L2106E Wheeled Loader, had a mere 6 000 hours on the clock and when it proved itself of this contract over a one-month period, Modi Mining acquired it.”
“I soon got the impression that Bell Equipment and their experienced personnel such as Devon, understand our business and appreciate what we go through to stay in business,” says Molefi. “This makes one realise that this is one OEM you can approach with confidence and they will make a plan for you.”
This confidence has been sustained and more work for Modi Mining was to follow, this time demanding material to be screened on a mining site. Again Bell Equipment could supply a low-hour used Bell HX390E excavator with the benefit of the balance of a warranty, to feed a brand new Finlay 883+ Screener.
“Providing material handling and related services to the mining industry is not always easy but our path as a fledgling and growing company has been made easier by the support we’ve received from Bell Equipment,” Molefi says. “Our future looks bright and there are more exciting opportunities on the horizon especially when partnering with bigger more established companies and we further believe to ensure the longevity of our fleet, we should be engaging with Bell Equipment to handle all our servicing and repairs as well.