THE newest player in Australia’s longwall equipment market, Inbye Mining Services, is confident of continuing its expansion despite an industry-wide downturn in new equipment purchases. After completing major equipment refurbishment and redesign contracts in its first year of operations in 1998, Inbye set about building a presence in the new equipment market last year. The move paid almost immediate dividends.
Run by former Meco Australia boss and senior Joy Mining Machinery manager Richard Eveleigh, Inbye signed an agency agreement with American manufacturer Longwall Associates Inc to market the latter’s armoured face conveyors in Australia. Since entering the agreement, Inbye and its partner have supplied and commissioned:
* Australian-manufactured maingate and tailgate driveframes for a 34mm, 900kW AFC at Wyee colliery, near Newcastle in New South Wales. The equipment incorporates a hinged maingate ramp pan and automatic tensionable tailgate driveframe.
* Australian manufactured automatic tensionable tailgate driveframe for an AFC at Angus Place colliery, in the NSW Western Coalfield, complete with hydraulically operated covers.
* Australian manufactured maingate and tailgate driveframes for a 34mm 850kW AFC at Newstan colliery, near Newcastle. The equipment includes a double-drive maingate driveframe with hinged ramp pan and a conventional tailgate driveframe.
* An imported 250m AFC pan line for Southern colliery in Queensland’s Bowen Basin. The line pans feature a 1000mm raceway, while Inbye also supplied 42mm Reilloc AFC chain and flight bars, and two-piece spill plates. Longwall Associates’ Super Gearrack chainless haulage system was also supplied. Eveleigh said the Southern equipment was specifically designed to ensure ease of assemble and disassembly to aid longwall move times. The two-piece spill plates gave easy shear access at any point along the longwall face.
Formed in 1996, Longwall Associates quickly grew into a significant supplier of AFCs and stage loaders to US longwall mines. The company’s manufacturing base is in Virginia in the US.
As well as Longwall Associates, Inbye is representing German underground equipment manufacturer Webster Schaeff, British AFC chain and flight bar manufacturer Reilloc Chain Products Ltd, and C&A Cutter Head Inc, a maker of shearer drums.
Eveleigh said while Australian mines were perhaps 8-10 months away from a significant re-equipping phase, Inbye continued to undertake longwall repair and rebuild contracts, and was now able to offer a diverse range of products.
“We started with a five year plan and we’ve been reasonably happy with the way it’s gone to date,” he said. “We’ve done what we said we would to start with and we now want to ensure that we are there as an alternative supplier when the upturn in the local industry does come.”