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Boart Longyear - a global success story.

Quality products and services for every phase of mining and drilling operations.

Created in South Africa by Anglo American mining magnate Sir Ernest Oppenheimer to find an application for the low-grade industrial diamond (boart) being mined in Zaire, Boart International - the mining supply arm of the newly-named Boart Longyear group - emerged as a dominant player in the South African mining supply industry soon after its formation in 1936. Now, almost sixty years on, in spite of the prolonged domestic political and economic turbulence, and increasing hostility to South African business abroad, it has grown into a multinational corporation that is today counted as one of the world's major mining product suppliers.

Of the 8,500 people employed in mining and drilling manufacturing sites around the world, some 2,400 are based in South Africa, indicating that, nothwithstanding its significant international market penetration, the group remains firmly rooted in the Republic.

With a reputation for innovation that stems from the development of Boart's first product - a diamond drilling crown - the South African companies in the Boart Longyear stable have specialised in designing and manufacturing quality mining and drilling products that can perform efficiently and reliably in the country's own arduous hard rock mining environment.

It is testimony to the calibre of both the company's people and products that they have succesfully countered the negative effects of limited technology transfer - and the other isolationist business practices which hindered the industry during the apartheid years - to remain internationally competitive. In 1994, Boart Longyear's South African subsidiaries exported products totalling R62 million to Australia, Africa, Canada, Eastern and Western Europe, the Pacific Rim, and North and South America.

"Achieving world-class manufacturing status has been a key focus for Boart Longyear and with all our South African operating companies holding ISO 9000 accreditation, there can be no doubt that we manufacture quality products of an internationally competitive standard. But there's more to our success than that", says Boart Longyear's regional director for sub-Saharan Africa, John Carr. "The Boart Longyear difference is our focus on value".

Value, he says, is the optimisation of quality, service, performance and price. "Our companies aim to provide it through the development of products and services tailored to our customers' specific needs, and a cycle of continuous improvement. So a key thrust, for 1995 and beyond, is to ensure our manufacturing facilities reflect state-of-the-art technology and that we continue to research international best practices in every facet of our business."

Group structure

A number of specialist companies make up the Boart Longyear group. Boart Longyear Contract Drilling is involved in exploratory and deep hole drilling, rotary percussive, pilot hole and reverse circulation drilling, bore-hole surveying and logging, and contract diamond wire sawing. Boart Longyear Diamond Products specialises in diamond drilling, sawing and grinding tools, diamond exploration drilling equipment, surface and underground drilling machines. Boart Longyear Hardmetal Products makes hardmetal powders and sintered hardmetal components, while Boart Longyear Mining Products manufactures hard rock percussion drilling tools and soft rock drilling tools. Completing the group are Boart Longyear MSA (miners' lighting equipment, industrial filtration products, breathing apparatus, safety equipment and instrumentation); Boart Longyear Osborn MMD (materials handling and mineral processing equipment); Boart Longyear SCS (strata control products, non-explosive rock breaking products, conveyor belt cleaning equipment); and Boart Longyear SECO, (pneumatic and hydraulic percussive drilling equipment, utility vehicles, down-the-hole rigs, rotary blasthole rigs, auger drills, screw-feed compressors).

Boart Longyear has two dedicated research facilities: Boart Longyear Technical Centre in Ireland and the group's flagship institution, Boart Longyear Research Centre in South Africa.

Diamond wire sawing

Among many innovations which could be highlighted within the group, the use of diamond wire has been an area of intense focus by Boart Longyear Diamond Products, mainly as a result of working with Anglo American's Technical and Development Services on this high-priority project aimed at introducing diamond wire sawing into the gold mines. The company is the first in South Africa to successfully make rubberised diamond wire for use in the hard underground quartzites. Fifteen wire saws are now planned for underground operations during 1995.
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Title Annotation:Mining South Africa; Boart International Ltd.
Publication:Mining Magazine
Date:May 1, 1995
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