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Some of the highlights over the past years show, to some extent, the capabilities of Thos Begbie & Company to react to the urgent and stringent requirements of the strategic mining industry.


Currently; and first for the new year of 2010; The Thos Begbie Team are hard at work producing a massive 220 ton copper cooler supply contract for export to the polar region of Russia!

The first furnace will be completed in April and the second in October 2010.


The most recent achievement was again  manufactured over the December Holidays, this time during December 2009:

Many of the production Team voluntarily postponed their summer holidays to ensure that the customer’s requirements were met.

The 96 ton copper cooler supply contract was completed in the record time of 4 weeks and was air-freighted to Perth and then on to Adelaide in Australia, where a long final leg was done by road to the Olympic Dam Smelter.

A letter of thanks was sent to the Thos Begbie CEO congratulating the Team on a job well done!


The December Christmas holidays in South Africa seem to be the time for urgency to supply furnace components. December 2008 was no exception:

One of the world’s largest copper smelters in Northern Canada came to a standstill and an urgent enquiry was received by Thos Begbie’s CEO. Not only had the price to be right, but the almost impossible delivery schedule of 10 weeks had to be met as a condition.  The Thos Begbie Team worked day and night to get the quotation out to the client. The price and terms were accepted and the challenge was on.

Hardly had the first order been placed, when additional coolers were asked for. These 5m long arch roof coolers had never been made before and Thos Begbie accepted the challenge. Due to the urgency of the delivery and the remoteness of the site, it was agreed to send the entire 190 tons of cast copper coolers by air! Something that had never been achieved in this industry.

Thos Begbie’s engineering and production staff worked 24/7 to ensure that the entire consignment arrived on site on time, and according to specification.

Thos Begbie met the deadline exactly on the due date, and the last shipment was offloaded at the Oliver Tambo International Airport in time for the 3-days it would take for the giant Jumbo to fly via Germany to Canada…..then….disaster struck! That last vital shipment just disappeared! The aircraft arrived in Germany sans its precious cargo!

It was later discovered that the owners of the smelter in South America did not believe the story, and thought that it was a ruse because of being late!

Thos Begbie’s International Distributor, Palstave in the UK, had to send a logistics expert to Germany to assist in the search for the missing consignment. The result sounds like something from a science fiction movie:

The Jumbo landed at Nairobi, in Kenya, Africa, where a unilateral decision was unwisely made to offload the precious copper cargo onto the Nairobi Airport runway and replace it with a consignment of flowers! It was some days before the error was picked up and rectified.

 However, when the crisis was over, and with great relief at the smelter, someone had the sense of humour to  produce the following news items in pictures:

Thos Begbie & Co

The Frankfurt portion of the debacle was humorously depicted as follows:

Thos Begbie & Co

The final sign of the relief at the Canadian Smelter: the shipment arrives with a bouquet of roses:

Thos Begbie & Co


During the 3rd quarter of 2008, this time a planned supply of cast copper coolers were ordered by Tenova Pyromet for delivery to Norway. This 21 ton order was sent via sea freight and arrived within the 8 week requirement.


Later during the 2nd quarter of 2008, BHP Billiton again had an urgent request, this time a break-down at the Kalgoorlie smelter where they needed furnace components so quickly, that Thos Begbie’s Team sent 32 tons of copper castings by air-freight to Perth, and then by road to the mine. This order was completed in a record time of 3 weeks! Again, Thos Begbie exceeded the requirements of the customer.


Scarcely had the ink dried on the Korean quotation, when a similar occurrence in Kalgoorlie, West Australia, had the world’s largest mining company, BHP Billiton, calling the Thos Begbie Team for an urgent supply of wall coolers for their nickel smelter. Again, 90 tons of cast copper coolers were sent to Australia by sea and further on land to Kalgoorlie, within the 10-week quoted period.


In December 2007, and during the usual South African Christmas Holidays, the Thos Begbie Team received an urgent call from a Ferronickel processing plant at Gwangyang in South Korea. They had stopped production and had to get their smelter going again as soon as possible. The International furnace specialists, HATCH, situated in Toronto, Canada, were appointed as the consulting engineers and a quotation and scope of work was immediately put together.

The Thos Begbie & Company Team got everyone into top gear and promised an 8-week delivery to their site. The client obviously wanted the soonest possible delivery.

Well within the quoted period, 72 tons of cast copper waffle coolers travelled half-way around the globe from Middelburg, in South Africa to Gwangyang in South Korea!

The very grateful owners of the ferronickel smelting operation expressed their thanks for the excellent quality of product and service experienced from Thos Begbie.

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