Judsi de Sousa Calado, Administrator, Geosondas

MACIG Connect Series

Geosondas seeks to be part of Angola’s diversification into new minerals.

Judsi-de-Sousa-Calado-WEBCan you give an introduction to Geosondas and the projects that the company has been involved with in Angola?

Judsi de Sousa Calado (JDSC): Geosondas is a young company directed by young people, which gives the company a youthful energy. We have been in the market for over six years now providing services to the mining industry. Our growth has been steady with a rate of roughly 17% every year by number of employees and by revenue; our goal is to continue with this rate. From 2014 to 2015, Geosondas has been involved with prospection, drilling, and blasting services, and recently has been managing the quality control (QC) for PLANAGEO.

What are Geosondas’ core strengths and what services contribute the most to the company’s revenue?

JDSC: Drilling contributes 85% to Geosondas’ revenue and is definitely the company’s core strength. With the new contract for blasting, we expect that area will contribute 40% to the company’s revenue by 2016.

Geosondas also provides other services that include airborne geophysical surveys, data collection and water exploration. These services are very important especially in a market like Angola. Geosondas has an advantage here because there are not many local companies in Angola providing the services that we offer.

Geosondas has been involved with the CATOCA diamond mine. Can you elaborate on the projects you have done at the mine?

JDSC: Geosondas has three contracts with CATOCA. One is a drilling contract for which we are the exclusive drilling company. Through our demonstrated success with CATOCA, when we opened our new blasting division, we were able to secure a contract with them for this service as well. We also provide geological survey and QC services to CATOCA.

The Honorable Minister of Mines and Geology, Francisco Queiroz, has stressed the need to diversify Angola’s mineral exports. How prepared is Geosondas to work with other minerals?

JDSC: Geosondas is willing and prepared to work with other minerals and metals. We currently have other projects involving other minerals besides diamonds. We are ready for Angola to diversify its mineral exports and we as a company want to diversify as well. We also welcome the opportunity to work with Ferrangol on iron projects and we are currently preparing a project to present to them. The goal is that Ferrangol will give us a concession to conduct further exploration.

Can you elaborate on Geosondas’ involvement in the PLANAGEO project?

JDSC: Geosondas is one of three companies that are doing the QC for the projects. We were approached by the Ministry of Mines and Geology to do the QC for the project. The data gathered from the airborne surveys conducted for Angola is analyzed by Geosondas to see if it is correct and if those companies doing the airborne works are fulfilling the requirements.
The PLANAGEO project is divided into blocks, and each of the companies doing the airborne works were given several blocks. Geosondas and the other QC companies are not divided and we analyze data from all the blocks. The goal at first was to complete the project by 2017, but there is pressure to complete it faster. As with any new project you encounter unexpected challenges, but we believe that the project will be completed on time.

CITIC, one of the companies involved in PLANAGEO, would like to be part of the exploration stages that follow the completion of PLANAGEO. Has Geosondas been approached by any companies looking to get involved in the subsequent stages?

JDSC: Geosondas has been approached by companies looking to get involved in the exploration stages; however, we are not allowed to discuss the PLANAGEO project results with these companies. It is good that the project is bringing attention to Angola and there is a significant amount of companies sending proposals to come and invest in the country. The interest is not only in diamonds, but in other commodities such as copper and gold as well.

Qualified labor remains a long term problem for Angola. Have you encountered any challenges in finding skilled local staff in the Angolan market?

JDSC: Finding skilled labor in the Angolan market is a huge challenge. We rely on qualified expats to do the technical works. Geosondas employs 120 Angolans and 50 expats but has strong training programs to transfer skills to Angolans. Some of the local individuals are also sent abroad to receive training. The aim is to have a fully Angolan staff in a few years’ time.

What differentiates Geosondas from the few competing companies in the Angolan market?

JDSC: Geosondas’ biggest differentiation is the company’s team. We have a significant amount of combined experience in various fields and all over the world. Altogether, the geologists on the team have over 100 years of experience. We also have local geologists that understand the geology in the area that the company is working in.

What are Geosondas’ plans for the year ahead?

JDSC: We are looking forward to the diversification initiatives for Angola, as we are prepared to work with the other mineral resources Angola has to offer. Diversification of operations and service offerings, with sustainable company growth is our vision for the year ahead. Geosondas is a company that can be trusted and which others can always rely on.

This interview was conducted as part of research being conducted by GBR for its upcoming Mining in Africa Country Investment Guide (MACIG) 2016. A pre-release report on the Central African Copperbelt was released in May 2015 and can be accessed here. To participate in this report, please contact Molly Concannon at mconcannon@gbreports.com.