Placed by Mota-Engil, the order is associated with a contract signed between this Portuguese mining and construction group and Black Mountain Mining for further drilling, excavation and transportation work at Gamsberg. Black Mountain Mining is the mine owner.

The 13th cranes already installed were designed and manufactured in Johannesburg by BB’s parent company Condra. They were installed by BB Cranes. The first 11 were delivered to the mine during its initial development in 2017, and a further two units were commissioned as a separate order last year.

There are currently two 10-ton double-girder overhead cranes in service, one 40/8-ton crane also of double-girder configuration, a number of 5-ton single-girder machines and various hoists and lifting beams.

The latest crane for Gamsberg Zinc will be a 20 ton, double-girder electric overhead travelling crane once again of Condra design, but this time manufactured by BB Cranes at its Cape Town factory.

To be delivered in September 2021, it will span 18,2-metres and deliver a 12-metre lifting height over a long-travel distance of 40 metres. The crane will be used for maintenance and repair duties in Mota-Engil’s workshops.

BB Cranes will manage manufacture, then deliver, install and commission its latest order as a turnkey project, supporting it with technical service and maintenance from Cape Town. The company has managed the lion’s share of Gamsberg Zinc’s crane maintenance requirements since the first machines were commissioned.

Three to four service teams are available to all BB customers, one of them on round-the-clock standby. The company employs two lifting machinery inspectors for certification.

Management at BB Cranes believes the latest Gamsberg order will reinforce the attributes and benefits brought to mining by the Condra brand: robust design, short lead times and rapid service and spares back-up. For Gamsberg Zinc as the customer, BB Cranes’ proximity is the most important of these, allowing the application of technical support, knowledge and service expertise more quickly than would be possible from Johannesburg.

BB Cranes has a lifting equipment history stretching back 30 years, the last five as part of the Condra group. Condra acquired a majority shareholding in BB in 2016 to expand its distribution network and achieve a closer presence to customers in the Western and Northern Cape.

At the time of the acquisition, BB Cranes had gained competitive advantage through local manufacture of the large, heavy steel girders essential to overhead cranes, eliminating the cost of transporting these from Johannesburg and allowing BB to price aggressively compared with other manufacturers.

The company completes its cranes using Condra components and sub-assemblies as necessary.

Last year, BB Cranes moved to larger premises in Rivergate Industrial Park to meet increased demand from mining and local government. There has been notable recent success in the Western and Eastern Cape’s water treatment utilities, where orders have been taken from wastewater works in Cape Town (Zandvliet), George and Knysna.

Industry observers consider BB Cranes well positioned to meet increasing future crane and hoist requirements in mining, industry and agriculture across the provinces.