New Finlay Screen is a game changer for Singo Mining

Published: 16 November 2021


It may seem like an old-fashioned notion to some that a client who pays good money for any service should have the right to demand that such service be sustainably delivered when needed.

This is the mantra that Robert Nesengani took on board when he decided that rather than hire in screening equipment to process his client’s coal, he would prefer to buy new equipment to ensure a sustained service through the best uptime such equipment would offer.

But Robert’s working life had not always been so affluent that he could simply buy things, as he tells us: “I had started my self-employment in a partnership during the early 1990s, making door and window frames for low-income housing in the Free State but non-payment for our products was a common occurrence and I soon saw the writing on the wall and abandoned the partnership.”

Robert then sought work in service industries related to mining and soon gained experience and knowledge of material handling and processing and this led to him starting his own business doing construction at first, but later venturing into plant hire.

“I founded my business in Alberton in 2011 and had slowly but surely built up a fleet of wheel loaders, articulated dump trucks, excavators, tipper trucks, water trucks, rollers and even graders, which were all sought after for plant hire,” he says. “As I also had experience of material handling and processing, we then started work in this field as sub-contractors before further gaining enough confidence to work as direct or primary contractors.”

When a major coal consuming client of Singo Mining & Plant Hire required a specific size coal of -20mm, the company hired in a Finlay 683+ Screen for three months but soon realised that to offer the client a guaranteed sustainable service processing the coal, which was profitable, the way forward was to buy a new machine.

“As it was during the period of lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we had to research the market online and we were happy to see that Bell Equipment was the distributor of Finlay screening and crushing equipment in southern Africa,” Robert explains. “We also knew that Bell Equipment was a proudly South African company that employed a lot of local people, and with such an extensive product range made our decision much easier.”

According to Robert, Bell Equipment responded quickly to their enquiry through its Sales Representative Geoff Condon working out of Jet Park. “We were struck by Geoff’s product knowledge and understanding of our needs and our business and we arranged our own finance to acquire a Finlay 683+ Double Deck Screen,” Robert says.

The Finlay 683+ Screen was delivered to Singo Mining & Plant Hire’s site near Secunda in Mpumalanga in early January 2021 and after some on-site training by Bell Equipment, the machine was put to work immediately. An initial production target for 80 000 tonnes of processed coal a month saw three shifts being worked continuously.

“Of that target of 80 000 tonnes per month, 45 000 tonnes would be allocated to the size of -20mm which is also known as ‘small nuts’ in coal-processing parlance,” Robert adds. “The second half of the summer of 2020/2021 was unusually wet though and our production dropped due to our clients not wanting wet coal to work with even though the Finlay 683+ Screen ran without problems.”

At the time of writing autumn and winter was approaching and Robert expressed confidence that when the weather gets drier their production would increase. The Finlay 683+ Screen’s 8 cubic-metre feed hopper is loaded by a wheel loader with a 6,8m coal bucket. The required processed sized coal is hauled away from the Finlay Screen using side-tipping trucks and Singo Mining & Plant Hire’s wheel loaders are used to load these trucks as well.

“We’ve entered into a service agreement with Bell Equipment as we believe this is important to ensure the longevity of the equipment and to give us a decent return on our investment,” Robert says. “Our equipment operators work through a daily checklist and we’ve learnt from owning a fleet of 40 wheel loaders that preventative maintenance goes a long way to ensuring equipment keeps working and providing our clients with a sustained service – maximising uptime.”

“Acquiring the Finlay 683+ Screen has promoted us as a company in the eyes of our clients as we’re now seen as serious players in material handling and processing, so much so that we’re seriously considering buying a Finlay 684 Triple Deck Screen to offer our clients a wider variety of processed products,” Robert says. “This will assist us greatly in our quest to add value wherever we work by creating jobs for local people, much as we’ve seen a company like Bell Equipment do.”


Keo Malao (Singo Mining & Plant Hire Project Manager), Tumo Katane (Singo Mining & Plant Hire Operations Manager), Robert Nesengani (CEO), Geoff Condon (Bell Equipment Sales Representative) and Delani Mcunu (Finlay 683+ Screen Operator) who says: “This machine is very simple to operate and requires greasing only every third day.”