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Purchasing mining equipment at auctions in Africa has never been easier

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The De Beers/Barlows Double Drum Winder goes on auction on 21 June 2021 to 30 June 2021. Image credit: Aucor Mining

By Leon Louw founder and editor of WhyAfrica

15 June 2021 – Mining auctions used to be a great place where miners mingled while looking for the best equipment at the lowest prices. Covid-19 interrupted traditional face-to- face networking, however, purchasing high quality mining equipment at auctions in Africa, has never been easier.     

Surfing on auctioneer Aucor Mining’s website is worth the time and effort. If you are building a mine (even an imaginary one) in Africa or searching for refurbished mining equipment at the best prices, visit www.aucor.com

Amongst a host of inventory that caught my eye on the website during my recent imaginary shopping spree, is a winder with a colourful history. The winder goes on auction soon, so if you are building a mine, or need to replace a winder, you can start bidding on the 21st of June 2021. 

Building a mine is an uphill battle                         

Building a mine in Africa or replacing large pieces of equipment at an existing operation or in a processing plant is a challenging endeavour, especially for junior mining companies. Just getting the equipment to site, is often an uphill battle.

In most cases the infrastructure is poor or non-existent, logistics is a nightmare, and it takes time at ports and crossing borders. This often leads to delays which have significant cost implications and impacts the bottom line in the critical first year of operation.

However, purchasing the best equipment for the job at hand, while keeping an eye on a tight budget, is often the biggest constraint. To get a brand-new winder, drum or mill on site, for example, within strict timelines and within budget, when it needs to be imported, shipped, and installed, is an extremely timeous and costly exercise.

One solution is to procure refurbished equipment in African and not to import brand new products with bells and whistles at a premium price from overseas.

I know of diamond miners in Southern and West Africa that purchased modest mining and processing equipment at auctions at a discount, took it apart, cleaned it up, and made a killing for many years thereafter. Those Articulated Dump Trucks (ADTs), excavators, mills, crushers, and winders were still working fine when theses mine got new owners eight or nine years later.

Put in your bid and build a mine

So, where do you find high-quality refurbished pieces of equipment, at a reasonably price, with a lot of miles left in the legs? At a good mining auction, of course. Although Covid-19 has slightly changed the way auctioneers operate, it has not changed the fact that you can get amazing deals. Moreover, in the new normal, auctions happen online. You pay a deposit, put in a bid and if you are the highest bidder, you buy the equipment.

Mining companies do not necessarily dispose of plant or equipment because it is old, or it underperforms. Often, they mine in new areas, or adjust their mining methods or mine plan, and as a result the equipment needs to be replaced with more modern or higher spec products.

If you are a junior miner in Africa out hunting for a bargain, this is essentially what you need to look out for. There are plenty of these listed on South Africa’s oldest and most reliable mining auctioneer, Aucor Mining’s, website. Aucor, which was established in 1958, is a good South African story, and although technology has changed its trajectory somewhat, it is still the best place to go searching for the highest quality refurbished mining equipment in town.

As any serial surfer on Aucor’s website would know, there are always good deals doing the rounds. And if you are somebody who has ambitions of building a mine in Africa, do yourself a favour, and see how far you will get by adding Aucor’s equipment to your wish list.

Your imaginary mine will soon be complete by spending less than 50% of the budget you initially set aside.

One of the more intriguing pieces of equipment I stumbled upon in my digital search on the Aucor website was the De Beers/Barlows Double Drum Winder, which goes on auction on 21 June 2021 to 30 June 2021.

De Beers is in possession of a 16ft double drum, direct drive AC winder which is currently for sale.

The 4.55m diameter x 1.83 m width double drum winder was manufactured by Barlows and installed at the South Deep ventilation shaft in 1995. Initially it serviced the 2960m deep shaft as a kibble winder during the sinking phase and then from March 2011 as a man and material winder.

The Barlows mechanical drum design is based on a heavy duty bolted construction with each drum installed with a three-part clutch system. The drum barrel consists of two halves bolted together having a single stiffener ring in the middle of the barrel. The barrel is connected to the drum cheeks with an axial bolted connection.

The 660 mm nominal diameter drum shaft was designed to accommodate a direct drive through shaft motor with an outboard bearing support. The winder was originally fitted with a 3400kW, 58.4rpm Toshiba DC Motor fitted with a Ward Leonard control system supplied by Actom.

The winder has the following design parameters:

  • Type – Double Drum
  • Length of wind – 2960m
  • Speed – 8 m/s
  • Payload – 6000 kg
  • Men – 1350 kg
  • Material – 2000 kg
  • Rope – 45 mm
  • Motor power – 3400 kW (DC)


The winder’s mechanical components were fully refurbished by Winder Controls South Africa. Full compliance to Anglo American was a requirement. The total electrical portion including the motor has been replaced with a 2200kW, 34.5rpm TMEIC AC Synchronous Induction Motor controlled by a TMdrive-70 IEGT vector controlled 3 Level inverter. The fixed shoe brake rigging was retained for duty at De Beers’ Venetia diamond mine; however, the brake control was replaced with a current era ESCORT semi closed loop control. The winder is designed to be fully automatic handling a payload of 18t. for the full specs on the winder see https://bit.ly/3fh07VC

It is gems like these that can put a mining operation on course for more than a couple of years or pull the mine through the worst of its woes in the wake of the Covid-19 shock. If the balance sheet is weak and timelines are tight, there is no reason why any mine should not procure quality refurbished plant or equipment. It has been done before with great success, and in a circular economy, it is a logical strategy to follow. For more info on live auctions visit Aucor on www.aucor.com

WhyAfrica provides you with business intelligence that matters. Africa is our business, and we want it to be yours too. To subscribe to WhyAfrica’s free newsletter or digital magazine, and for more news on Africa, visit the website at www.whyafrica.co.za or send a direct message.


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