Bolt war hots up

Staff Reporter

Upcoming tenders for roof bolts and other ground support products at the Crinum and Kestrel mines in central Queensland have taken on added significance for the country's strata products suppliers.

With Jennmar looking to further improve its market standing after securing half the New South Wales mine strata products market in the past 18 months, ANI Strata Products trying to build on its recent contract wins at the Central, Southern and Moranbah North collieries, and Celtite endeavoring to gain a stronger foothold in the Queensland coal market, competition in the strata products market is as fierce as ever.

Major new contracts such as those soon to be let at Crinum and Kestrel should also help spell out the future of suppliers of specialty bolting and other ground support products. Jennmar's entry into the Australian market, coupled with the growth of specialist suppliers such as Megabolt, has created a highly competitive local market.

Meanwhile, rumours continue to circulate about a likely buyer of the ANI Strata Products business, put on the market in September last year by new ANI owner, the Smorgon Group. A field of nearly 30 potential suitors is understood to have been whittled down to a handful of serious bidders. Jennmar has clearly eroded ANI's previous dominance of the local coal roof bolt market and, in the process, the price likely to be paid by the successful suitor.

Ingersoll-Rand, Sandvik and a South African group were said to be still in the running.