Johnson Controls is seeing stable demand growth for its robust cooling solutions, as mining operations in Africa expand into more remote locations and to significantly greater depths.
Neil Cameron, Johnson Controls Africa General Manager said the multinational heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) equipment producer said political and legislative uncertainty coupled with rising costs of production, is deterring investment in South Africa’s mining sector and international investors are seeking opportunities in other African countries.
“Currently, we hold an 85% market share of the African mining sector, supplying deep-level mining cooling systems to ensure that rock faces are cooled sufficiently to enable mineworkers to carry out their work,” said Cameron.
Cameron says there is significant growth in other parts of the continent, such as Ghana, Mali, Tanzania and Ethiopia.
“As mining companies venture further into these locations, Johnson Controls has become the go-to supplier for cooling solutions that offer sophisticated technology, robust designs and, critically, energy efficiency.”
Cameron highlights that, in such remote areas, reliability and ease of maintenance are imperative for cooling systems, owing to the logistical challenges involved in transporting specialised parts and experts to mine sites.
“We also predominantly supply surface plants into Africa, which provide cooled air or water down mine shafts . . . These limit the amount of damage incurred by the systems, which are easily accessible, should repairs be required. Our systems are also designed to withstand the harsh and dusty conditions typically associated with a mining environment.”
Johnson Controls is currently involved in numerous projects, including the installation of chillers at a gold mine in Gauteng, which are required to run 2 km underground.