Mopani aquires Condra sinclinorium headgear cranes

Condra has completed load tests on two 25-ton headgear cranes manufactured at the company’s Germiston works for Mopani Copper Mines’ Sinclinorium shaft.

The tests were witnessed by a representative from Mopani Copper Mines (MCM) during June ahead of delivery this month to the Nkana Mine, in Kitwe, where the new shaft is scheduled for commissioning toward the end of this year.

The two headgear cranes are part of a bigger order that includes two 70-ton maintenance cranes for the project’s winderhouse.  Condra will begin work on these in August.

MCM’s headgear cranes were manufactured as identical machines with very high lifts of over 80 metres.  They feature high tensile ropes and incorporate materials of the best possible quality on critical components.  Gearboxes, for example, are made of 36B case hardened stainless steel.  Live axle drives have been used throughout.

Condra has manufactured several cranes for Mopani Copper Mines over the years, including overhead cranes, high lift machines and hoists.

Managing director Marc Kleiner said that this customer had named reliability and rapid service response among the reasons for awarding the order for Synclinorium’s headgear and winderhouse cranes to Condra, which submitted a tender price higher than those of two rival bidders.

Rapid response is supplied by company agent EC Mining, which is based in the Copperbelt and able to react quickly to service calls using spare parts held in stock.


Kleiner said competitor manufacturers in the northern hemisphere generally found it difficult to respond promptly to service requirements in Zambia.

“Last year, we lost the order for Synclinorium’s workshop cranes to a European company, but there have apparently been long waits for spare parts for these cranes when they were needed,” Kleiner said.

“Copper mining companies need maximum production because of the currently depressed copper price, but this is dependent on the reliability of all machinery installed in the mines.  There is no margin for excessive machine downtime.

“It is a fact that the ability of some of our competitors to respond to needs and realities of African continent lags behind that of Condra.  I am pleased that we have been able to add Synclinorium’s headgear cranes to our long list of successful installations throughout this continent,” Kleiner said.

An interesting aspect of manufacture of the MCM cranes was the flexing of factory production schedules in order to meet time-to-site requirements.  According to Kleiner, this is something that Condra is accustomed to doing; whereas most rival companies tend not to be as accommodating.

Africa’s market for very high-lift cranes such as those for MCM has for many years been dominated by Condra, which designs these machines around the company’s durable and robust K-Series hoist range, proven to be dependable under conditions of increased mechanical strain associated with high-lift applications.

The modular design of the K-Series allows rapid modification to specific high-lift requirements, resulting in delivery times that are usually the shortest available.

Competitive prices are the result of long production runs of standard parts.


Condra uses silumin rotor cores to enhance K-Series motor-starting torque in the high-lift role, and has developed variable speed control levels on the drives to enable precise load positioning even on lifts of 100 metres and more.

Hoist speeds of between zero and 18 metres per minute, and travel speeds of between zero and 200 metres per minute, are possible.

Condra manufactures to ISO 9000 standards, and complies with the standards of ISO 14000 and ISO 18000.



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