Hunter Valley, located north of Sydney in New South Wales, is the home of Australian wine culture, dating back to the early 1800s. Every year, tourists flock to the world-renowned wine estates, which grow varieties such as semillon and shiraz. Yet Hunter Valley is not only known for its precious vintages. As the local motto of "mines and wines" suggests, it is also famous for its mining. Beside coal, which is extracted in both open pit and underground mining, the wider region of New South Wales is also home to many metalliferous mining operations (silver, lead, zinc, copper, and gold). The port of Newcastle is the world's largest export port for coal. Around 160 million tonnes of black gold are shipped out from here every year, most of which finds its way to Japan, Korea, China, and India, as well as many other countries.
It is therefore the perfect location for the new state-of-the-art production facility of FUCHS LUBRICANTS (AUSTRALASIA), which is based in Beresfield at the edge of Hunter Valley. "Over 80 percent of our manufacturing output in Beresfield goes directly to the mining industry," reports Rob Fryer, National Sales Manager for the mining business of FUCHS in Australia, where this sector plays a leading role. "With an investment of €21 million (AUD$ 33 million) in our new factory, FUCHS is demonstrating its long-term commitment to the Australian mining sector and supporting its 'close to the customer' strategy, which employs a local infrastructure to secure the supply chain, also in emergencies." This is important for Australian mining, which operates a 24-hour business with high demands on suppliers, who not only need to be available around the clock to keep the mines running, but also face stiff competition. The new facility replaces the factory in Wickham, Newcastle, which had been in operation since 1979.
Many important customers took the opportunity to visit the production facility between March and May 2018 and learn about the modern installations and extended capacities. Success was not long in coming. "The mining team was able to conclude new long-term supply contracts with the most important players in the sector and then celebrated a new record in terms of both sales revenues and profit in May 2018," adds Fryer. Shane Christie, who works as a Longwall Mechanical Engineer at the Narrabi Mine, which belongs to Whitehaven Coal, the largest independent coal producer in Australia, also appreciates the new opportunities: "We are really happy that we can now cover our requirements in full with FUCHS thanks to the investment in this new factory and I am already looking forward to our new partnership growing to include the area of emulsions. FUCHS is now our sole supplier for all lubricants in our underground mine and we have yet to encounter any problems.“ With regard to monitoring of the equipment, FUCHS also collaborates closely with Christie, who is responsible for maintenance and repairs in the mine.
The factory in Beresfield supplies packaged and unpackaged lubricants for both open pit and underground mining. Its production operations work to world class standards and its environment even complies with the strict requirements of the food production sector thanks to its stepped filtration processes.
"We feel confident that we can further increase our market share for lubricants in the Australian mining industry," stresses Fryer. "Not least since the sector is currently booming. Growing protectionism, as well as geopolitical risks and tensions are currently driving high demand for coal.“