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Basil Read invests in four new Hyundai excavators

Basil Read’s mining division, specialists in hard and soft rock mining, has extended its fleet of mobile mining equipment, with the addition of four new Hyundai excavators, which have been deployed to a diamond mine in Lesotho.

“This project, which commenced in February 2018, involves having to move between 600 000 and 700 000 tons of material per month in the first year and thereafter ramping up over time to quantities potentially exceeding 1 million tons of material per month,” says Anton Cilliers, operational director, Basil Read. “In order for us to meet the project deadline, we have to operate this site 24 hours a day. An around-the-clock operation like this is not a new concept for Basil Read and thus far the Hyundai equipment has exceeded performance expectations.


“Challenges at the Lesotho site include steep, muddy and narrow roads, which are difficult for large machines to be transported on, as well as extreme weather conditions – Lesotho often experiences four seasons in one day – including snow.

“The Basil Read team is also mindful in every project to minimise the impact of our operations on the natural environment.”

Plant procurement policy

Clive Dabner, plant director, Basil Read, had this to say: “In the plant selection process, we need to consider the following critical factors: it is important to match the correct size machine to project requirements; we have to consider budget restraints and we need to find a reputable supplier with a proven track record, that will provide dependable back-up support and an efficient spare parts service.

“We selected Hyundai excavators because of their reputation for high performance in tough operating conditions, impressive fuel efficiency and minimal downtime. These machines have thus far delivered on all expectations.”

Hyundai machines are hard at work on site

The Hyundai R520LC-9S hydraulic crawler excavator, with Horsepower ratings of 363 kW gross/255 kW net, is now in operation at this site and according to Basil Read, this machine is achieving impressive productivity. Operators have noted features for precision control, clear visibility on site and working comfort. Other attributes include a long undercarriage and adjustable track width.


The Hyundai R850LC-9S tracked excavator has a Cummins QSX15 engine, with dual overhead cams for optimum performance. Computerised work modes allow the operator to match performance to site conditions. Hyundai machines have been designed for easy re-fuelling on site and for easy serviceability and reduced maintenance time, there is ground-line access to critical services and grease points.

Also operating at this project are two 22 T Hyundai R220LC-9S tracked excavators that boasts a bucket digging force (2 m arm) of 133,4 kN and are fitted with Hyundai HM 5,9 engines, offering a fuel consumption of only 16,6 l p/h. These versatile machines, which are self-stabilising due to their weight, provide their own anchor support and can manoeuvre over arduous and steep terrain.

The road ahead

According to Basil Read, the company maintains its leading position in the mining sector by relying on the extensive skills of its capable team of which most have worked for the company for many years.

“We work hard to maintain strong relationships with our customers and suppliers and we tailor our products and services to meet exact market demand,” explains Anton Cilliers. “The company’s well-established policies and procedures are highly valued in the industry and something we’re very proud of, is our commitment to stringent safety standards – our safety track record speaks for itself.

“Basil Read also only procures quality plant, designed for efficiency, durability and extended service life.”

When asked about the current state of affairs of related industries, Clive Dabner noted: “Although the construction industry remains depressed, the mining sector appears to be holding some ground. We have seen a trend where our customers are cutting costs by pushing for better pricing from suppliers; where traditional larger equipment is parked off and smaller machines are being utilised and in some cases, partnering with sub-contractors to perform the work.”

Basil Read has secured other contracts in southern Africa, including the extension of a drilling project and a load and haul contract in Limpopo, as well as contracts at copper and zinc mines in Namibia.

“In spite of current sluggish market conditions, we are cautiously optimistic about a turn-around in the economy,” says Alex Ackron, managing director, HPE Africa, exclusive distributors locally for Hyundai Construction Equipment. “We are very pleased to have secured a long-term partnership with Basil Read and it is satisfying that our equipment is performing so well, around-the-clock, in harsh conditions.”

HPE Africa, which is the sole distributor in Southern Africa for Hyundai Construction Equipment, as well as Soosan hydraulic hammers and McCloskey crushing and screening units, offers a technical advisory, support and maintenance service.

Tristan Wiggill
Special Features Editor at Business Fleet Africa