A potential new super cycle in terms of the iron ore price bodes well for drilling technology provider Rosond of Midrand. The iron ore price increased by 74% in 2020, outperforming all other metals by a significant margin and closing on a ten-year high of US$180/t in December.
Anticipated to ride an upward wave for three to five years, such a super cycle will be a huge boost for exploration activities in this commodity segment. The potential of a new super cycle is brought into greater focus when quantitative easing, coupled with massive fiscal stimuli, are expected to be the key tools for global economic recovery in a post Covid-19 environment, reports resourceworld.com.
Rosond’s biggest project to date saw the final batch of 28 state-of-the-art drill rigs dispatched to Anglo American’s Kumba Iron Ore operation in the Northern Cape in December for deployment at the Kolomela and Sishen mines. It forms part of a R2 billion, five-year tender won by Rosond to supply Anglo American with the latest drilling technology as it modernises its geoscience operations.
Rosond MD, Ricardo Ribeiro, adds that growth is currently most prominent in the surface exploration sector at present. Existing mines are becoming deeper, while very few new shafts have been commissioned over the past decade. Apart from iron ore, Rosond is also active in the platinum, gold, diamond and coal sectors.
The company specialises in tailormade solutions for the underground drilling, pack grouting, geotechnical and exploration sectors. Ribeiro has been at the helm since 2018, overseeing Rosond’s current rapid growth and development. Key differentiators are its focus on technology and innovation, strong safety culture and active community investment.
Looking to the future, Ribeiro reveals: “Over the next few years we aim to develop innovative software for drill rigs in conjunction with our manufacturing partner. We believe this to be a game changer in our industry.”
He adds: “I would be very surprised if any other drilling company has as many engineers, geologists and design specialists as us. Due to the fact that we used to manufacture our own surface exploration drill rigs and then entered into a long-term partnership with an Italian OEM, we are still very much involved in the design process of our equipment. Our company structure is also very different in that we innovate processes throughout our value chain to our clients.”
With all of the drill rigs at Kumba anticipated to be fully operational by March, and its latest contracts in Southern Africa about to kick off, Ribeiro is confident about the future. With the company celebrating its 65th anniversary this year, the next step is to get the software and data analytics side of the business up and running.
While the South African mining industry has responded well to the Covid-19 pandemic in being sufficiently proactive to protect its workforce during this period, Ribeiro acknowledges that it has been a challenge to maintain full production capacity. Finalising the rollout of the Kumba contract towards the end of last year was a major achievement in this regard, he concludes.