Master Drilling acquires a stakeholding in A&R Group

Master Drilling Mining Services Ltd (MDMS), a subsidiary of Master Drilling, has entered into various agreements with the A&R Group in respect of the acquisition of an interest just above 25 per cent in the A&R Group (comprising A&R Engineering and Mining Supplies Ltd, Lamp Room Solutions and Consulting Ltd, Moxie Digital Ltd and Embedded IQ Ltd), with options to MDMS to subsequently acquire control of the A&R Group at the discretion of MDMS.

 Master Drilling looks to grow its product and service options through the acquisition of a stake in the A&R Group

Master Drilling looks to grow its product and service options through the acquisition of a stake in the A&R Group

MDMS has an option to acquire the remaining 75 per cent interest, subject to certain conditions, within 90 days after the expiry of two years. MDMS will, however, enjoy minority protection rights that are normal in transactions of this nature.

Founded in 1978 as A&R Engineering and Mining Supplies Ltd, the A&R Group initially supplied underground traction batteries for locomotives, battery chargers and locomotive controllers for horizontal transport in the gold mining sector.

Since then, the A&R Group has evolved over the years to become a leading operator in the underground rail-bound and trackless equipment hardware environment in terms of management systems and intelligent devices installed across various mining operations.

Lamp Room Solutions and Consulting Ltd (LSC) commenced operations in 2000, initially providing full outsourcing of the lamp room operation in the mining industry. The core of LSC's offering is the Comprehensive Mine Management System (CMMS). CMMS system (software) undergoes continual enhancement and development and together with the hardware supplied has enabled LSC to become a leader in this field within the mining industry, currently managing in excess of 100,000 miner lamps on a daily basis over a wide geographical area.

The ongoing need and drive for intelligent management information is constantly driven by the end-user in the mining industry, and this service is provided by Moxie Digital Ltd, whose area of expertise is centred around providing reporting and data visualization as well as 24/7 software support for the CMMS.

Since acquiring an interest in Embedded IQ Ltd, a Johannesburg based R&D business, over a decade ago, the A&R Group has developed proximity avoidance hardware for underground rail-bound and trackless vehicles to facilitate safe and efficient mining.

Equipment and systems supplied by the A&R Group track the movement of more than 50,000 people and machines underground in South Africa daily and, through specialised hardware, allow missing personnel to be located.

The investment in A&R Group is aligned with the strategic intent of Master Drilling to diversify its range of services to include services that are not necessarily drilling-related but focused on technology that can improve the safety and operational performance of miners globally. This transaction will better diversify overall market exposure and add additional revenue streams to the Master Drilling Group.

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