Is this the year of infrastructure delivery?
SA President Jacob Zuma has declared 2012 the year of infrastructure delivery, and hopefully this will be the case. In his State of the Nation address, he focused on the country's multi-billion rand public infrastructure programme, which he says will be driven by the Presidential Infrastructure Coordinating Commission (PICC), bringing together minister, premiers and metro mayors under his leadership and that of his deputy.
Unless local government gets its act together, infrastructure-lead growth will not get off the ground, and Limpopo is a case in point. The damage that has been done by cadre deployment has seriously impacted all industries, not only our own. The President has to take a bold stance against corruption.
Mining nationalisation uncertainty is another factor hampering economic growth. The call for the nationalisation of mines is fuelled by the belief that only with State intervention, will the country be able to cure rising inequality, unemployment and poverty. The issue has raised investor concerns and hampered investment in the sector. Let us hope that 2012 will provide final clarity on government's stance in this regard.
For the quarry industry, hopefully we will start to see a gradual recovery, but the demand for quarry products remains low in many areas. Government is talking the language, but needs to walk the talk now. Industry desperately awaits the timeous execution of current infrastructure projects.
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The March-April issue of Modern Quarrying starts off with CESA's Naren Bhojaram's presidential address on the global issues impacting the industry. SA has major needs with respect to service delivery. Training and development is lacking and unemployment is on the increase. While significant budgets are available for job creation and accelerated service delivery, these are unspent. He asks the questions, is procurement of professional services from consulting engineers a hindrance to service delivery, and where does the power really sit with procurement?
Find an occupation that you love and you won't work a day in your life. This is the Rietspruit way of life, and an enviable one. The last few years have been tough for the industry, but Rietspruit has hardly felt the pinch, with total tons mined over the last year well over 600 000 t. Certainly the mine is extremely well located, but it takes a lot more than that to run an operation of this nature.
In May 2010, Afrimat acquired the Glen Douglas dolomite mine, initiating a foothold for the group in industrial minerals. CEO Andries van Heerden says it was a good decision for Exxaro to divest, because where Glen Douglas was a small fish in a very large pond, it is now the biggest fish in Afrimat's pond.
The last couple of years have been uncertain for the engineering and construction sectors. However, one constant is the insatiable demand for infrastructure in all forms. The last year was a tough one with a lot of companies not making it, not only in our industry, but in general. The result was the loss of some of the smaller players, but it also brought forth consolidation. According to IQSA chairman Riaan Redelinghuys, the production of construction aggregates is a highly-fragmented and competitive market, and with a shrinking market, it forced many players to focus internally, and simplify business processes, both internally and externally.
This month heralds the industry's most important event on the calendar - the 43rd IQSA Conference and Exhibition. This issue of the magazine provides the conference programme (provisional at the time of going to print), and a comprehensive exhibitor listing. The conference, which is being held at the Gateway Hotel in Umhlanga, takes place from 19-20 April.
Powerscreen, a world-leading provider of mobile crushing and screening and washing equipment, recently hosted its prestigious World Dealer Conference in Cape Town, demonstrating the versatility of its product portfolio at Portland Quarry in Durbanville, to over 300 dealers and customers from across the globe.
The Dust Dominator is a unique and cost-effective way to control dust on crushing and screening plants, has been launched by BKB Dust Suppression Solutions. The product creates a curtain of mist around discharge points and stockpiling conveyors. Note: A nasty gremlin crept in at the time of going to print, renaming the product the Dust Denominator - causing much embarrassment to the editor, as this product is being launched at the IQSA exhibition. The Dust Dominator's mist curtain captures airborne dust particles driving them to the ground, assisting in adherence to the toughest air quality standards.
Sandvik is truly a company with a heart, and recently sponsored R30 000 needed for a special wheel chair for quadriplegic sportsman Bennie Erasmus, who is earmarked as a potential high-performance athlete in wheelchair rugby. These imported chairs are incredibly expensive as wheelchair rugby is a full contact sport, and the chairs are specially designed to handle the impact, efficiently and safely for the athletes. South Africa Wheelchair Rugby is an associated member of SA Rugby.