As difficult market conditions force companies in many sectors to relook at their cost structures, quality refurbishment is becoming more important as a strategy to contain costs. According to Gary Colegate, General Manager of Parnis Manufacturing, such strategies demand that customers find experienced partners with both the technical capacity and responsiveness required for demanding projects, whether these are for existing or greenfield projects.“This economic situation looks unlikely to change in the near future, having being further aggravated by the recent surprise announcements regarding the Mining Charter and its requirements,” says Colegate. Engaged for decades in the mining sector, Parnis Manufacturing has extensive experience in equipment like mine winders and their components, boiler components, fans and fan casings, mill heads and sheave wheels. “Our large vertical boring machine puts us at an advantage to most of our competitors, and allows us to tackle a wide range of engineering projects, where we can assure customers of as new results,” he says.Vertical boring capacity at Parnis Manufacturing extends to a table size of 4.5 m, a turning diameter of 5.3 m and a turning height of 3.2 m, with a maximum load of up to 50 t. Other equipment includes horizontal borers with capacity up to 5.5 m longitudinal travel by 2.5 m high, milling machines with 4,5 m longitudinal travel and a height 1.8 m and an overhead crane lifting capacity of 50 t (tandem).“We have recently delivered a completely refurbished mine winder to a privately owned gold mine in Zimbabwe,” he says. “The equipment – which dates back to the early 1950s – was used for decades on a South African gold mining operation; it was purchased for use in Zimbabwe, and needed to be returned to a high operational standard.”In addition to its base-load work for the mining sector, Parnis Manufacturing has also made great strides into the energy sector. “We have diversified into a number of fields, thanks to the entrepreneurial approach of our founder and CEO Mario Guerini,” says Colegate. “An important area of expansion has been into the design, fabrication and assembly of mobile, modular E-houses – fully equipped electrical substations.” He says the E-house concept saves costs, space and time when compared to traditional methods of building sub-stations.
MINISTER FOR SOCIAL Protection Joan Burton has joined a number of Europe-based politicians to call for an end to the austerity measures being implemented across EU Member States.Writing in the Guardian today, Burton – along with László Andor, Pervenche Beres, Yves Leterme and Henri Maloose – calls for a full restructuring of the economic and monetary union.“Austerity could only ever bring us so far. We must now move to the next stage,” they say.The letter comes just a day after reports in Ireland suggested that Finance Minister Michael Noonan is preparing a new-but-strict plan to replace the Troika’s bailout programme.According to Burton and the other signatories, the EU has failed to deliver economic prosperity and social progress over the past five years and that there is “no tangible improvement in sight”.Although they believe a shift away from an ‘austerity only’ approach has been made, the letter states that Europe still lacks a “robust recovery strategy”.“All in all, Europe has not yet succeeded in eliminating uncertainty, and its people have paid a high price for this.”Burton, with her colleagues, believes the crisis in Europe has outlasted other jurisdictions because of “designed monetary union, without an appropriate framework of rules for banks and other financial institutions or sufficiently robust budgetary instruments.” So far the EU has only deployed the minimum collective response necessary for the euro’s survival: conditional emergency loans to troubled countries, conditional bond-buying by the European Central Bank, tougher economic policy co-ordination, and tighter restrictions on governments’ debts to assure markets of countries’ responsibility.They cited high unemployment, falling internal demand, increasing polarisation within societies and a “yawning chasm dividing relatively prosperous core countries from a periphery destined for depression” as continuing problems.The five politicians included four demands in their letter:The establishment of an EU-level banking union to restructure and/or close down failed banks, give companies access to more credit and provide greater debt write-offs.A consolidation in weaker member states needs to be balanced by higher consumption in stronger EU countries. “Symmetrical rebalancing” would require structural measures in stronger countries, such as allowing wages to catch up with productivity and adequate minimum wages to prevent in-work poverty.To use EU funds and the European Investment Bank as a major source of financial support for weaker members states which need investment so they regain competitiveness. They want sophisticated industrial policy and support for entrepreneurship, so that restructuring produces sustainable business models.Europe’s monetary policy must become more expansionary and the ECB needs to rethink its role and powers, according to the group.Finally, the five ask for more investment in “human capital” to create opportunities to reach full employment.In short, the group is calling for a “grand bargain” between surplus and deficit countries, which could include the pooling of government debt and cross-country automatic stabilisers. The continued reduction of government spending in deficit countries without higher demand in surplus nations is “a recipe for long-lasting recession and disintegration”, they conclude.There is no solution to the crisis without reconstructing Europe’s economic and monetary union, and without shifting the focus on to people’s needs and potential. Austerity could only ever bring us so far. We must now move to the next stage.Burton is the only sitting elected representative among the authors. She had made her anti-austerity position clear in recent weeks, putting herself at odds with the official line coming from the Cabinet.László Andor is a Hungarian economist and Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion in the European Commission. Pervenche Beres is a French politician and a member of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament. Yves Leterme is a former Prime Minister in Belgium and leader of the Christian Democratic and Flemish Party. Henri Maloose is the president of the Employers’ Group of the European Economic and Social Committee. Read: Fianna Fáil tie with Fine Gael in latest opinion pollIBEC: ‘Time to ease off on austerity and abandon planned tax hikes’Poll: Has President Michael D Higgins crossed the line by criticising Europe?