South Africa’s Bell Equipment has set up a dedicated original equipment manufacturer (OEM) division to develop its underground mining business.

The company will leverage the new unit to explore opportunities underground mining space by expanding the existing product portfolio, offering specialised customer support, and establishing operations in new markets.

The company has selected Anton Wheeler, who has experience in both the mining and manufacturing industries, to head the newly created division.

Wheeler previously served as the CEO of an OEM that specialised in underground equipment and has held executive management positions at several platinum mining companies.

He has also served as the chairperson for the Mining Equipment Manufacturers of South Africa.

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By GlobalData

Wheeler said: “A key part of our strategy is to grow our portfolio of products.”

“Currently, we have two underground mining products, our Bell underground articulated dump truck (ADT) and a Bell rock scaler.”

According to him, a 6t low-profile load haul dump (LHD) loader can improve Bell’s product portfolio.

The equipment is being currently designed and it is expected to be commercialised by 2024.

 “Our strategy is to grow the product portfolio rapidly over the next few years to be able to meet the needs of customers involved in this industry,” Wheeler added.

Bell is also setting up a specialised underground mining division within its South African dealer network, called Bell Equipment Sales South Africa (BESSA).

The unit will provide specialised and targeted sales, spares, and aftermarket support for the underground product portfolio in South Africa.

In addition, Bell intends to expand its underground mining presence globally by leveraging its global network of independent dealers and Bell-owned subsidiaries.

Bell Equipment group CEO Leon Goosen said: “Our new developments will build on the achievements of our existing underground mining products, which are already at the forefront of safety requirements with the stringent PDS Level 9 built into the DNA of our 30t and 35t underground ADTs.

“We have also leveraged our autonomous learnings from our surface trucks to satisfy future vehicle control requirements as the market is ready for these.”