Australian made: Designing a stronger mining industry

For engineering solutions provider Leverlink, having Australian-made mining products is crucial for supporting the nation’s resources sector.

The Queensland-based company, which has operated for 25 years, designs machinery for the mining industry, including slurry and sump pumps, conveyor guards, and crusher and screen drives.

Leverlink managing director Richard Sharp highlighted the importance of having Australian-designed and manufactured equipment, which is delivered to customers faster.

“There are no delays from products coming in via overseas export and we can control our cost,” Sharp told Australian Mining.

“And many of the companies we deal with are really happy about buying Australian-made products.”

Sharp said the company’s performance improved significantly during the first half of 2017, largely driven by high demand for its stored energy bases for mining.

Leverlink has reduced its operating costs by using rubber torsion springs to store energy for mechanical tension of v-belt drives. The rubber cords used to manufacture the stored energy springs are designed to withstand the tough environmental conditions common in the mining, quarrying and extractive industries.

Sharp also attributed the company’s success to increased demand for its dynamic impact beds, which he invented during the 1990s.

“This is the niche market we have,” he said, emphasising that they are only designed for large market players.

The beds are designed for conveyor load zones and resolve impact damage to conveyor belts, troughing rollers and supporting structures.

Sharp said the company pioneered all of its systems and does not diverge from its core business areas in conveyor solutions, safety guards, power transmissions and vibrating equipment.

He said this was the company’s skillset and where it continued to strengthen its expertise.

“We also manufacture a lot of associate equipment that goes with our stored energy motor bases such as the pumps we manufacture,” he said.

Sharp reflected on the major downturn experienced by the mining industry in 2012 but said a turnaround had emerged over the past two years.

“This turnaround has been due to mining companies seeking efficiencies with what they do,” he said.

And this has been a major positive for Leverlink, with more resources companies seeking out the company’s products.

“The products we do have got an extremely good reputation in terms of reducing maintenance costs. Companies have come to us and either introduced our systems or expanded on the systems they currently have,” Sharp said.

Despite the turnaround, Sharp, like many other mining executives, remains cautious.

“The turnaround has been well controlled by the mining industry,” he said. “It’s making good decisions; before the money was spent often without much thought, but now the focus is on getting a good return on investment.”

The company remains focused on continued growth in the future, Sharp added, with it planning to expand its product offering and staff numbers.

This article also appears in the September edition of Australian Mining magazine.