Torsa Global expands to Africa, thanks to Mining Indaba

Torsa Global has revealed that it is in the process of establishing a Johannesburg-based office to service the mining industries of the Central African Copperbelt, Botswana, and Mozambique.

The company is also looking to expand its services to Morocco.

Speaking on the sidelines of the Investing in Africa Mining Indaba, Spanish mining technology company Torsa Global’s business development director Gabino de Diego said that 2023 is the opportune time to enter the African market.

De Diego also explained that the reasoning behind Torsa Global’s decision to open a Johannesburg office was twofold.

“We consider locations in terms of their growth potential,” he explained, citing the battery metals which are found, in varying degrees, in Torsa Global’s target markets.

Further, market research identified a growing interest in collision avoidance systems (CAS) and vibration monitoring – two fields in which Torsa Global excels.

De Diego cited research company GlobalData’s latest global mine site survey, which indicated that 47% of the mines surveyed had invested moderately in CAS, while 49% expected to either invest in the technology for the first time or further invest within the next two years.

Further highlighting Torsa Global’s felicitous timing is the fact that the 2015 amendments to Chapter 8 of the Mine Health and Safety Act’s Trackless and Mobile Machinery (TMM) Regulations have come into full effect.

The amended TMM Regulations outlined requirements for CAS installed on TMMs. These systems had to be capable of intervening on multiple levels, as outlined by the Earth Moving Equipment Safety Round Table and the International Council on Mining and Metals’ Vehicle Intervention Roadmap (VIR).

Following the December publication of Notice No. 2908, all CAS installed on TMMs must now be capable of Level 9 intervention as envisioned in the VIR.

This means that TMMs must be fitted with technologies that automatically detect the presence of any pedestrian, object or machine within the vehicle’s immediate vicinity; must visually and audibly alert the operator to the potential risk (Level 7); must deliver an advisory instruction (Level 8); and, in the event that an operator does not act to prevent a potential collision, must ensure that the brakes are automatically applied and the TMM comes to a “safe stop”.

De Diego emphasised that Torsa Global’s high-precision CAS is capable of Level 9 intervention.

“Coincidentally, our plans to expand to South Africa also aligned with our [Spanish] government’s plans to strengthen its ties to the South Africa,” he commented, citing Spanish President Pedro Sánchez’s official visit to South Africa in October 2022, during which he signed a memorandum of understanding on cooperation on Industry 4.0.

Having achieved numerous mining successes in the Central and South American regions, De Diego noted that one of the technological barriers that Torsa Global encountered was that a significant number of mines were underground, and many CAS technologies traditionally relied on global positioning systems (GPS).

“We had to find a different and reliable means of detecting objects, people and equipment underground,” he noted, adding that Torsa Global’s CAS solution uses a combination of sensors and three-dimensional light detection and ranging (Lidar) technologies.

Notably, the sensors and Lidar do not interfere with other signalling or communication equipment.

De Diego also said that Torsa Global has a proof of concept project operating in a Latin American country.

In terms of the South African market, De Diego expects competition will remain “very fierce”. However, Torsa Global’s ability to offer Level 9 intervention should serve it well, especially as some miners might have ‘kicked the can down the road’, in terms of Chapter 8 compliance.

Moreover, CAS is not Torsa Global’s only mining solution.

Its range of sensors, when used in conjunction with the Torsa Cloud platform, offers a fully integrated, comprehensive data solution that has a proven record of reducing safety-related incidents in Latin America.

Further, the Torsa Academy programme – in which the company trains the mine operators to ensure that they fully comprehend the system’s functions and capabilities – ensures that clients see tangible results, and experience marked improvements from a safety and occupational health perspective.

“For example, after we installed our vibration monitoring solution for a customer in Argentina, the number of people medically boarded for back and neck injuries reduced by 80%.

“It is evident that our solutions can help mines optimise work, reduce incidents, and increase savings by improving efficiencies and reducing maintenance, health-related absences and machine downtime.”De Diego noted that its solutions have been tested in three different countries – Mexico, Chile and Peru – all of which have different geologies, legislation, and work cultures. Consequently, the company’s adaptability and flexibility in augmenting solutions to fit specific operations, challenges and clientele suggests that Torsa Global’s solutions will work in South Africa, and Africa more broadly.

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