Lack of capital affects equipment manufacturer

Business Reporter
A SMALL-scale mining equipment manufacturer, TSB Engineering, has a strong order book but says lack of working capital is affecting production. TSB Engineering founder and chief executive officer Mr Todd Bhunu told The Herald Business in an interview that there is a huge market for his mining and processing plants.

“We have a strong order book. There is a huge market for our mining equipment products but we are constrained by lack of capital. We have many clients placing orders for washing machines but because we do not have enough working capital to fund the orders.

“Our customers are not able to pay cash upfront so we need huge capital outlay to make the products and give them terms,” he said.

Mr Bhunu manufactures an assortment of mining and processing equipment but is currently focusing on the washing plants.

The washing plants are used in the processing of sand in alluvial gold mining.

“Some of our washing plants can process up to 300 tonnes of sand per hour and we also have smaller ones which process 3-4 tonnes per hour. These plans use electricity or diesel. The 3-4 tonne per hour washing plant uses about 5-10 litres of diesel per hour,” said Mr Bhunu.

The 300-tonne per hour washing plant has a 20horse power engine and uses about 40-60 litres per hour.

“But for that one hour you would have processed lots of gold,” he said.

A mechanical engineer by profession, who boasts of more than 25 years in manufacturing various mining and mechanical equipment, Mr Bhunu lamented the lack of support for small scale manufacturers.

“We can make up to ten washing plants per month but we are incapacitated due to lack of funds,” said Mr Bhunu.

The 300-tonne per hour washing plant costs $40 000 while a 25-tonne per hour plants goes for $15 000.

TSB Engineering has invested more than $1 million in manufacturing equipment at its Chitungwiza site. The workshop is fitted with central boring machines, horizontal boring machines and lathe machines.

“We have enough equipment for manufacturing these products. The material we use is locally available and given funding, we can easily meet demand,” said Mr Bhunu.

Other challenges the company is facing include power outages which have affected production.

“We are facing problems with power outages. During the day we do not have electricity so we have no production going on,” said Mr Bhunu.