Golder Associates establishes fully-fledged, permanent office in Mozambique.
Titos MP Munhequete (TMPM): Golder Associates has been conducting work in Mozambique since 1993. With the increasing opportunities in the country, Golder decided to invest in the establishment of a fully-fledged, permanent Mozambican office in 2008, aimed at providing continuous support to our clients wherever their ventures lead them. As a company, we have focused on establishing a strong local presence by developing local skills and ensuring that we can service our clients from an in-country perspective and with in-country expertise, supported by our more than 9,000 global specialists. Golder Mozambique has now more than 25 employees in offices in Maputo, Tete and Nacala which, in conjunction with our more than 350 specialists in the rest of Africa, provide us the ability to continuously assist our clients from the early stages of projects through the final phases with engineering, environmental and social services. Golder will continue to invest in Mozambique and to expand its presence in the country.
Golder supplies high-level consulting services, which requires highly skilled employees. How has Golder experienced recruiting the right skills in Mozambique?
TMPM: Golder is constantly working on developing the local resources of Mozambique. However, the mining industry at the current scale is recent in Mozambique and the services that we provide require a degree of specialization. Our strategy has been to attract the best talent available on the market and support their technical growth and development through continuous in-house training. As a global company, we enjoy the privilege of having some of the best practitioners in the world on-board and have a strong emphasis on continuous mentorship of our talent to ensure knowledge sharing. Our business model ensures that we, and our client, readily have access to these skills. All this combined with the international career development opportunities that we offer and an employee ownership model that have allow us to attract, develop and maintain the talent to provide the best solutions to our client´s challenges.
In a cross-industry comparison, how important is the mining industry in Mozambique to Golder Associates?
TMPM: Mozambique´s economy has been growing at a 7% rate in recent years, supported by the discovery of large unmined coal deposits and gas resources. Although we have seen a significant drop in coal prices, we expect this to revert in 2015. The large gas deposits discovered worldwide and the significant increase in shale gas production in the United States should contribute to the decrease of the price of thermal coal. Nonetheless, India´s and China´s growing industrialization demand coking coal for steel production and this should contribute to an increase in coking coal prices, although not to the previous level. For Mozambique, this presents a great opportunity, with a forecasted coal output of 40 million metric tons and a $750 million mining sector value by 2017. There are challenges to be faced, particularly on the availability of the necessary infrastructure to develop these resources. However, the government is aware of this and in partnership with the private sector is conducting a series of projects to overcome this weakness. The Nacala corridor, the Macuse mineral port and the railway line to Moatize, along with the improvements on the Sena line should contribute to providing the necessary infrastructure for the mining companies in Tete to ramp up their coal production and exports. Golder has an extensive experience in the mining industry and particularly coal mining. Our offices in South Africa, Australia and Saint Louis have been assisting our global clients and with the accumulated experience and continuous investments that Golder has been making in Mozambique, we are strongly positioned to assist our clients in the next stages of their projects. In addition, Golder has provided support in-country to the manufacturing, infrastructure and burgeoning oil and gas sectors.
Is there any exciting project that is currently in the pipeline for Golder Associates in Mozambique?
TMPM: Our clients trust us to bring more value to their business and Golder has been working closely with the mining companies that are developing their resources in Mozambique. Golder has been assisting Vale Moçambique on the development of some of their mining sections and will continue working with them. In recent years, we have provided different engineering and environmental services to Rio Tinto and have been involved on the resource evaluation for ICVL who recently acquired Rio Tinto´s assets. We look forward to providing our support to ICVL in the next stages of their project. We have been working also with Jindal and we are assisting them on different projects as well. We are excited to be talking to a number of companies that are either newly established in Mozambique or are in the process of setting up programs here. Our in-country experience will be of significant benefit to these organizations as they develop their assets. Golder has also followed a strategy of diversifying its business and has projects in the pipeline for clients in the power sector, urban development and Infrastructure and, as well as the oil and gas sector.
How do environmental legislations and regulations in Mozambique compare to its African mining neighbors?
TMPM: There is a huge willingness from the Mozambican government to put legislation in place that is on par with international standards and that is a good sign. Mozambique is in the midst of establishing the entire legal framework that is necessary to develop the resources. As Golder has close working relationship with the government, we are able to advise our clients on compliance with legislation, as it can be a challenge to navigate this environment for a new or established entrant. An investor needs guidance from someone who understands both the needs of producers as well as the country. The process of securing initial permits ready for exploration is also challenging, as Mozambique’s land law is unique. It is important to understand the process and have the right approach from the beginning to make the process of permitting as smooth as possible. The timeline of getting permits depends on the scale of the project and for smaller projects it can take from three to six months. The legislation compares favorably with similar legislation in neighboring regions and provides a fair balance between environmental controls and regulations and supporting important economic growth. This is supported by the pragmatic view of the government in its approach to environmental decision-making.
How much growth do you anticipate for Golder Associates in Mozambique in the next year and what will drive this growth?
TMPM: Mozambique is estimated to continue growing at a 7% to 8% rate a year in the next years, driven mainly by the mining and the upcoming oil and gas industry, along with all the clusters around these indus-tries. This presents great opportunities for Golder as we will continue providing support to our clients on the different industries we are involved. In spite the challenges ahead, we strongly believe in Mozambique and in the efforts the government is taking to ensure the right steps are being taken to proper develop the country. Golder will continue expanding its presence in Mozambique during the next years, to allow us to better serve our clients and will continue developing the local resources, with the collaboration on our global specialists. Globally, Golder is committed to the growth our company in Mozambique. It is this support and through the growth of our client base in Mozambique that we are confident that our company will continue to grow in Mozambique. Our 2013 to 2014 growth has exceeded 25%, and we are looking forward to similar growth into the future.
This interview was part of the research being conducted by GBR for its upcoming Mining in Africa Country Investment Guide (MACIG) 2015. To participate in this report, please contact Sharon Saylor at email@example.com.