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Discover the enhanced JCB 3CX Backhoe Loaders, arriving in South Africa this July with upgraded features for superior performance. (Image source: Bell Equipment)

The updated range of JCB 3CX Backhoe Loaders is set to arrive on South African shores this July, promising to build on the brand’s popularity with enhanced features aimed at delivering improved comfort, versatility, and productivity, thereby reducing costs and boosting efficiency

Bell Equipment sales product manager for JCB products, Massyn Jansen Van Vuuren, commented, “This new model range will replace the existing JCB 3CX Eco, 3DX and 3CX Global product lineup. The new cab makeover is the most noticeable change and is bound to impress. The striking new design uses high quality moulded plastics, and the pillars and roof are light grey in colour to give a lighter and more spacious feel.

“Most importantly the new cab places a huge focus on operator safety, comfort, and ease of operation. For example, the loader lever has been simplified to operate like a wheel loader. The 3CX range now has a single lever loader control incorporating an F-N-R directional switch so an operator can control the loader and transmission with one hand. In addition, there is a proportional switch on the side of the lever to operate the 6-in-1 bucket, which further reduces the effort needed to operate the machine.” 

Enhanced features

The new EasyShift transmission with 'kick down' comes standard across the range, simplifying gear changes via a rotation of the F-N-R directional lever next to the steering wheel. The kick down switch, located on the floor, allows operators to shift from second to first gear for added power during loading or site work."

“All cabs are ROPS/FOPS certified and the seat rotation area is larger to give the operator more room, which together with improved cab sealing to keep out water and dust, creates a cleaner and more pleasant workspace. There is also improved visibility to the working area behind the machine,” remarked Massyn.

In addition, the 3CX Plus model introduces a high-performance HVAC air conditioning system with 21 adjustable air vents strategically positioned around the front console, ‘B’ pillar, and rear of the machine, optimising comfort and demisting performance. The 3CX features a standard fan mounted on the B pillar."

Under the hood, the JCB 3CX range benefits from enhanced hydraulic efficiency due to new standard variable displacement piston pumps across all models. The larger pump provides 150lpm, a 39% increase over the previous model, allowing for reduced engine speed while maintaining productivity, effectively cutting fuel consumption. Moreover, the variable flow pump operates on demand, reducing engine load and further improving fuel efficiency.

The Plus and Pro models feature a standard Smooth Ride System for improved road handling and can be equipped with a versatile 6-in-1 shovel, optionally fitted with flip-over forks for increased functionality. “The 6-in-1 shovel can be used for dozing, loading, digging, grabbing, spreading, and grading while the optional flip over forks are ideal for machines that will double up as a forklift for pick and place activities around the work site and to unload vehicles,” he added.

Lighting has been upgraded with six LED work lights replacing halogen lights. Front-mounted adjustable LEDs and rear-mounted LEDs, two of which are adjustable, enhance nighttime visibility. A 'guide me home' light system keeps work lights illuminated for 30 seconds after the ignition is turned off, aiding safe exit from the machine and worksite during nighttime operations.

Other standard features include an in-cab boom lock, front and rear wash/wiper functions, Return To Dig function, electronic throttle control, Bluetooth radio and USB ports, front and side LCD display, adjustable steering column, and a battery isolator key for electrical isolation during maintenance.

"All in all, the new 3CX range has a machine to suit all requirements and we expect these new machines to add real value and strengthen JCB’s position as the world’s leading brand of Backhoe Loaders. We have a fleet of units that will be used across the country to familiarise customers with the new range and the improvements, so we encourage customers to contact their nearest Bell dealer and experience the machines for themselves,” concluded Massyn.

The RA40 is the largest of the two haulers being promoted by Rokbak. (Image source: Rokbak)

Rokbak, an articulated hauler manufacturer and member of the Volvo Group, has partnered with Heavy Machinery Dealership (HMD) to help bring its ADTs to customers in Nigeria, Ghana, Senegal, Benin, Guinea and Côte d'Ivoire

HMD is a premier provider of construction, mining and quarrying equipment in West Africa, boasting a strong reputation as an experienced local partner. This expertise will now be used to support Rokbak’s efforts to expand its footprint in key West African countries as it seeks to serve the mining and construction sectors there.

“Rokbak has an excellent reputation, and our customers know and trust the Volvo brand,” commented HMD CEO Mathew Khouri. “Rokbak haulers will complement our product portfolio well, offering the thriving mining, quarrying and construction industries in West Africa a reliable and efficient ADT. With Rokbak we will deliver high-quality trucks alongside our exceptional service and support.”

According to Rokbak, this announcement comes at a time when demand for reliable, high-performance machinery is at an all-time high, owing to the blossoming construction and mining industries in West Africa. To meet these needs, the company is promoting two signature hauler models. The RA40 is the largest with a gross power of 331kW (444 hp), a maximum torque of 2,225 Nm and a 38 tonne (41.9 US ton) payload. Like the RA40, the 28 tonne (30.9 US ton) RA30, with a gross power of 276 kW (370 hp) and a maximum torque of 1880 Nm, benefits from a transmission retardation system, a fully adaptable drivetrain and easy maintenance to suit a variety of different job sites.

Supplying heavy machinery in West Africa

“Our partnership with Rokbak represents a significant advancement for our customers in West Africa and continues our vision to become the leading supplier of heavy machinery in Africa through customising solutions to customers’ needs,” continued Mathew. “Rokbak’s robust and reliable haulers are perfect for the region’s requirements. We look forward to working closely with Rokbak to enhance the capabilities of our customers and contribute to the development of the local infrastructure and important applications in the region.”

Paul Douglas, Rokbak managing director, added, “We are delighted to partner with HMD in West Africa. HMD's reputation for excellence and customer satisfaction aligns perfectly with Rokbak and the Volvo Group’s values. This partnership is a testament to our commitment in expanding our global reach and supporting customers in even more territories in the construction, quarrying and mining industries. Our high-quality haulers, combined with HMD’s vast experience and local expertise, will deliver exceptional value to our customers.”

Rokbak managing director, Paul Douglas, and HMD CEO, Mathew Khouri, shaking hands.

Africa is home to sizeable reserves of the world’s critical minerals. (Image source: Adobe Stock)

UN Trade & Development (UNCTAD) leaders have explored the potential for Africa to become a competitive hub for green industrialisation at an event held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

The gathering was a pre-event for the organisation’s 60th anniversary in Geneva, Switzerland, and was held under the theme of ‘Maximising Africa’s Potential: Leveraging Demand for Critical Minerals to Boost Inclusive Growth and Sustainable Development’. Here, senior leaders such as Rebeca Grynspan, UNCTAD secretary-general, made clear how critical minerals will be fundamental to the energy transition and can be catalysts to lift millions out of poverty and create a fairer world. This opportunity is particularly ripe for the African continent, which is home to sizeable reserves of the world’s critical minerals including 55% of cobalt, 47.65% of manganese, 21.6% of natural graphite, 5.9% of copper, 5.6% of nickel, 1% of lithium, and 0.6% of iron ore globally.

However, in order to realise this, Grynspan said the world must break free from the past and reject the extractive model that has kept resource-rich nations dependent and poor. “Instead, we must embrace a new paradigm that prioritises domestic value addition, fosters regional integration and empowers local communities,” she remarked.

A competitive Africa

Antonio Pedro, the UN Economic Commission for Africa’s deputy executive secretary, contributed his voice here, surmising how adding value to critical minerals in Africa could help make the continent a competitive hub for green industrialisation.

“Imagine the potential if African minerals are processed into African batteries, installed into African cars that are driven across the continent and the world,” he commented. “This would accelerate the deployment of renewable energy and the electrification of transport systems on the continent, create decent jobs and make Africa a competitive hub for green industrialisation.”

However, Pedro warned that the mining boom that does not deliver benefits across society “will leave us back at square one” and called for justice and equality in how minerals are harnessed in the global energy transition. He was joined in this sentiment by The African Union Commission’s deputy chairperson, Monique Nsanzabaganwa, who called for the right policy mix and fair international structure and systems – ones that do not threaten African nation’s efforts to increase and enhance beneficiation and value addition as some do currently.

“It wouldn’t make sense to not trust our continental certification systems and instead condition Africa’s minerals to go hit another certification system just to come back to us for value addition or trade among ourselves,” Nsanzabaganwa said.

Seizing the opportunity

According to UNCTAD, African countries generate only about 40% of the revenue they could potentially collect from the sizeable minerals reserves under their feet – a narrative that must change if the opportunity is to be realised.

Amid current global crises, limited fiscal space, slow growth and high debt, African countries need to maximise the financial and development benefits of these resources, UNCTAD advised. Participants at the event in Ethiopia therefore discussed ways to enhance revenue mobilisation and fiscal administration, boost regional value chain integration and increase investment in infrastructure, skills and innovation to support minerals-based industrialisation on the continent while promoting climate action.

An UNCTAD graph of Africa's critical minerals share for electric vehicles.

The Maple Program provides customers with data of the CO2 and oil saving made by choosing to retreat or repair tyres. (Image source: Kal Tire)

Kal Tire’s Mining Tire Group, a dedicated tyre management and supply partner, details its Maple Program, a tool to quantify and reward saved oil and carbon emissions to help inspire a greener future

The Group has made clear its dedication to driving positive change across the globe, providing mining tyre expertise and innovations that help to drive fleet availability, sustainability and safety within operations. Earlier this year, the company spoke to African Review and shared more about how its growing footprint on the continent and the new solutions which are helping to support its future expansion trajectory. Following this, we reached out to Kal Tire again to learn more about its Maple Program, an initiative pioneered to support mining sector commitments to sustainability and best practice by accrediting efforts to extend tyre life with the company’s sustainable tyre solutions.

African Review: What is Kal Tire’s Maple Program?

Kal Tire: The Maple Program provides Kal Tire's customers with validated data of the CO2 and oil savings made by choosing to retread or repair existing tyres rather than buy new.

New tyres require large amounts of raw materials in their construction and production energy is required in the manufacturing of these new tyres, particularly during the curing process. Additionally, CO2 is emitted transporting from manufacturer facilities to mine sites, which can often total many thousands of kilometres across sea, road and rail routes to get to site.

Kal Tire's Maple Program takes into account this reduction in raw materials, production energy and transportation distances to award customers with a certificate, rated with 1 to 5 maple leaves, depending on the percentage of the fleet, or total tonnage of tyres that have used these sustainable tyre solutions.

Up to 5 tonnes of rubber, steel, carbon black, oil and various textiles are used in a single 63" tyre used on 350 ton+ haul trucks. Each truck requires 6 of these tyres, and some larger sites can have many dozens of large haulers on-site. By choosing to retread or repair these tyres, customers can see potentially significant CO2 savings, sometimes totalling many hundreds of tonnes.

African Review: How powerful is a Maple certification today in an environment of ever-growing scrutiny around emissions?

Kal Tire: As environmental scrutiny grows throughout the mining industry from governments, stakeholders and local communities, companies are increasingly investigating more ways to demonstrate their total emissions reduction. We have seen particular growth in companies reporting their retread and repair CO2 savings through the Maple Program over the last 12 months, who are displaying an increased appetite to report on their Scope 3 emissions, which applies to any activities from assets brought into operations from external sources, such as tyres.

We have seen some key African customers use the emissions data from the Maple Program in their ESG reporting to help reduce their Scope 3 emissions and mention the Maple Program specifically to help the drive towards more sustainable business practices.

We ensure the Maple Program is continually validated every year, which includes ensuring CO2 savings figures are as accurate as possible - for each region that Kal Tire operates in, local emission factors are used, which fluctuates annually depending on how energy is generated in the country - for example, coal-powered, nuclear, hydro energy, etc. Raw material figures such as the cost of producing rubber, steel and carbon black are also updated as part of this process, provided by the International Energy Agency (IEA). This ensures the program is always up to date and helps further motivate customers to protect their existing tyre investments.

African Review: Since the introduction of the Maple Program in 2019 how rapidly have appetites towards tracking environmental impact developed within the mining community, especially within the African continent?

Kal Tire: Several key customers across our operations in West Africa and southern Africa have embraced the value that environmental awards such as the Maple Program can bring. This has led to increased interest in our sustainable tyre solutions.

In West Africa, we launched a retreading technique called Ultra Tread. In this process, the tyre is removed after completing its planned hours on the front position of haul trucks. Instead of being rotated to the rear to run out the remainder of life, the Ultra Tread process is performed, restoring the tyre to its original tread depth and returning to the front position. As well as giving excellent return on investment and faster turnaround times than traditional retreading, it also carries great environmental value – up to 75% less emissions are used in the raw materials and production of these tyres vs. their new equivalent. Ultra Tread gives a whole new life to tyres on the front position and can be potentially performed multiple times.

An example certificate for a Kal Tire customer.

Optimised burden relief is crucial for optimal fragmentation during the blasting process. (Image source: BME)

BME has helped a South African coal mine that was facing highwall challenges cuts costs while retaining optimal fragmentation through the implementation of a modified pre-split design

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