The onset of COVID-19 across the globe saw most businesses move into survival mode in 2020, and Level 1, BEE compliant process equipment supplier MIP Process Technologies (MIP) followed suit, but not for long.
“The pandemic afforded us the opportunity to do what we do best – focus on opportunities within the market that would open new doors, and this has delivered a bumper year of remarkable growth that we forecast will continue into 2022,” MD PHILIP HOFF tells LAURA CORNISH.
The MIP story has, since its first chapter, always been one of growth and success – attributable to a sound knowledge of the industry, unparalleled product and service delivery and an innovative approach to customising new solutions for new challenges.
As the company enters its 15th year of business in 2022, Hoff reflects on the last 12 months and shares some exciting news that will push MIP into a new era and new growth trajectory.
Tapping into new markets
Hoff has never been afraid to explore new markets and territories. This has served MIP well in the past and is one of the key reasons the company didn’t suffer long-term effects of limited business opportunities during the worst periods of the pandemic.
“The Northern region of Africa has come onto our radar and is a country we consider to be a new mining frontier. The region is mining-friendly and offers vast opportunities in silver and phosphates and has delivered various new project opportunities for MIP,” Hoff confirms.
Exploring the northern tips of Africa is by no means the limit to MIP’s project execution footprint. While the company already has extensive reach across most continents, including Europe, Asia and Australia, it has now added Canada to its operating track record. “This cements our position as a truly global process equipment supplier, which presents greater opportunity for new work which in turn de-risks the business.”
Breaking new product ground
While the MIP suite of processing products is extensive, the company has become first and foremost recognised for its thickeners. For those unfamiliar with the company, its equipment range also includes agitators, linear screens, clarifiers, slurry samplers, flocculant plants, mixers and peristaltic pumps.
“2020 afforded the business with the time to focus on our full product range and we have consequently achieved success in growing our track record outside of our traditional bread and butter business,” Hoff states. One of the biggest highlights in this area is a product not mentioned above – attrition scrubbers. One of MIP’s biggest orders in 2021 was for a large attrition scrubber for a South African platinum producer – secured after extensive test work undertaken at Mintek delivered highly successful results.
2021 will also be the year that positioned MIP to benefit from another product range, one that will gain momentum in 2022 – filter presses. While this market segment is dominated by a handful of players, Hoff believes his business will quickly emerge as a serious contender. Although fulfilling the distribution rights for a Spain-based filter press specialist, with product that incorporates German-manufactured plates, “our product has proven very cost effective, so much so that we are on the brink of securing our largest filter press contract to date,” he highlights.
Innovation delivers revolutionary new thickener
Thickeners may be one of the mining industry’s most tried and tested products, but there is always room for improvement and new innovations – as MIP has proven over the last year.
The first new design, one of two, entails a rake-less, ultra-steep cone design for a chrome recovery application. Without the need for rakes, the thickener becomes a zero power consumer and therefore an attractive option for an industry looking to reduce its carbon footprint. The thickener incorporates an innovative way of assisting with settling. MIP has completed a pilot scale test unit which has been operating in excess of three months and is set to secure a bigger order on the back of this work. “Important to note is this thickener is not suited to all applications but will work well with heavy minerals such as chrome.”
The second new thickener design entailed an adaptation of the MIP bolted thickener – particularly aimed at assisting its overseas client base. “Our new design has reduced the number of containers required for shipping by almost half – making it far more cost effective to transport.” Clients don’t have to fear potential installation and commissioning challenges as a result of the new design, however. MIP provides its own installation supervision crew, to ensure no delays in bringing the thickener into operation.
New growth, new premises
On the back of a year of phenomenal growth and new achievement, Hoff has one last piece of exciting news to share. “Our growth has necessitated bigger premises and having secured a property opposite our existing office, MIP will call its new 1 100 m² property home from March 2022.”
The new property – significantly larger than the current office space – will house a new laboratory that will conduct full-scale test work on all thickening, filtration and dewatering applications. This will equate to massive time savings for clients. It will also house a bigger staff complement – about 25% more than the current head count.
The building is currently being refurbished and will cater to COVID-19 compliancy requirements in terms of spacing. “This is an exciting conclusion to the end of our 2021 year and an exciting start to our 2022 year as well. From our new premises we will be positioned to continue our growth story into the next 15 years of business with an anticipated work pipeline that includes a thickener refurbishment project and a new thickener contract for a coal project in Mozambique and a chrome project in South Africa.”