With mining operations remaining under pressure to optimise plants, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and suppliers must be more dynamic and focused in terms of their overall market offering. This is the message from Johannes Kottmann, Managing Director of MBE Minerals SA, who says that the company’s strong relationship with and understanding of its customers’ operations allows it to provide optimum value support and services, all of which is aimed at ensuring that operations perform optimally.MBE Minerals’ support options are customised to suit specific customer requirements and can range from basic maintenance contracts, which would typically include on-site service personnel, and can extend to consignment stock facilities and progress right up to comprehensive Service Level Agreements (SLAs). At this level, support is provided through fully fledged regional service centres capable of undertaking ongoing equipment condition monitoring, maintenance and service support.Customers are able to leverage the expertise and in-depth experience MBE Minerals SA has acquired across the full spectrum of services to a large footprint of customers. “With an OEM supporting the equipment in the plant directly, it is possible to implement efficiency improvements as a result of ongoing input and interaction with the plant personnel. In addition to this, training is undertaken that benefits the plant personnel both in terms of operator needs and maintenance,” Kottmann says.The maintenance of equipment in mineral processing plants is equally as important as its optimum functioning and a multi-disciplined approach needs to be instituted when designing a plant. Kottmann maintains that OEMs should be tasked with the continued and consistent maintenance of equipment in the plant to ensure that it is carried out cost effectively and downtime is reduced.“We have seen a trend developing within the industry whereby customers are moving away from maintaining plants in-house to an SLA or life-cycle contract with the OEM. This implies that the manufacturer is not only selling a piece of equipment but is also supplying the customer with a comprehensive maintenance plan,” Kottmann explains.“Coupled with this is the importance of the OEM’s location in relation to its customer’s operations, and we currently operate a fully-fledged service centre in Kathu in the Northern Cape to cater for these iron ore and manganese operations and in Middleburg to service various customers in the coalfields,” Kottmann says. As a result, the MBE Minerals teams have developed first-hand knowledge of how its equipment is operating within the various plants, enabling application-specific design improvements that result in an enhancement in the operational life and efficiency of the equipment.“Our locality in close proximity to our customers also allows us to provide a rapid response technical assistance and maintenance service. We maintain a substantial stockholding of requisite parts as determined by the customer base’s needs and we can offer both on- and off-site service. From an OEM perspective, we will ensure that the correct parts are installed according to specification, and that the equipment operates within its design limits, to ensure maximised throughput and minimised downtime,” Kottmann concluded.
FORMER PRESIDENT OF Ireland, Mary McAleese, has made a number of strong comments about the Catholic Church.Speaking before a lecture at the Royal Society of Edinburgh, McAleese commented on homosexuality in the church and the treatment of gay people during an interview.She also said that if former Cardinal Keith O’Brien – who retired following allegations he had engaged in inappropriate sexual activity with men – told his story it “could have been of great assistance to gay people”.Her comments were welcomed by liberal Redemptorist priest Fr Tony Flannery today, and by the Gay and Lesbian Equality Network (GLEN).The Herald Scotland reports that McAleese said that homosexuality is “not something that is perceived as something that is intrinsically disordered” nowadays, and that things written by figures such as former Pope Benedict are contradictory to the understanding of most Catholics today.She said that the issue of homosexuality was “not so much the elephant in the room but a herd of elephants” for the Catholic Church.McAleese added that she does not like the ‘love the sinner, hate the sin’ attitude that the Church has towards gay people. She said she has also studied suicide among young Irish males, many of whom were gay Catholics.Speaking to Newstalk this morning, Fr Tony Flannery welcomed McAleese’s comments. He said he has spoken to her privately on the issue before and was aware she had “very strong views”.He described it as “very useful that somebody like her would bring this out into the open” as it “needs to be discussed and talked about in the church”.Fr Flannery added that some of his best friends would be homosexual in the priesthood, and “it is something we have been aware of for a long time”.“The percentage of priests who are of homosexual orientation has undoubtedly increased right across the world in the last 10 years,” he added.He said there is a tendency in the Catholic Church for people who have a particular weakness in their private life to become very moralistic about it in public life.Fr Flannery also said Pope Benedict had caused big problems by using phrases such as “disordered” in relation to homosexuality. He said that Pope Francis “tends to start with the situation of the reality of people’s lives” rather than doctrine.The priest said that he believes that church teaching on homosexuality and a number of areas to do with human sexuality “is in serious need of change and reform”.Meanwhile, GLEN also welcomed McAleese’s comments.Kieran Rose, chair of GLEN, said:Mary McAleese continues to be a wonderful advocate for lesbian and gay people out of office just as she was as president. The comments by the former president will send a profoundly positive message to all lesbian and gay people.He said that Irish attitudes towards LGBT have changed fundamentally in recent times.Reach: Fr Flannery ‘surprised and shocked’ at Vatican cardinal’s outspoken interview>Reach: Fr Flannery ‘couldn’t look in the mirror’ if he signed Church statement>