MACIG Connect Series
“Botswana has a golden opportunity to become a specialized service provider in Southern Africa.”
Please provide a brief history and background of Spectral Geophysics, explaining its key operations in Africa.
Paul Du Toit (PDT): Spectral Geophysics was established in Botswana in 1993. The founder, Cas Lötter, had previously worked in Botswana for Gold Fields but also, favorable taxation, ease of transacting in foreign currency, and easy access to projects within Southern Africa made Botswana the ideal location to operate from. Spectral Geophysics offers a variety of services, including airborne geophysical data processing and interpretation and ground geophysical surveys, data processing and interpretation. On the ground we specialize in, but are not limited to, induced polarization, electromagnetic and gravity surveys. We own or have access to the latest geophysical equipment and software packages and work closely together with specific companies that provide highly specialized instrumentation. This ensures that we can provide a top-quality product using the latest advances in our field. We have loyal customers consisting of mining and exploration companies in the base metals, gold, and diamond sectors. We also provide services to clients involved in engineering projects. Currently, in Botswana specifically, Spectral Geophysics is involved in projects for BCL, BML and Africa Nickel.
Many surveying companies have gone out of business due to the downturn of prices and thus a dramatic drop in exploration. How has Spectral Geophysics managed to remain operational?
PDT: Our geophysicists and technicians have a vast amount of experience in the field and are well trained and highly skilled. We ensure that we keep up with the latest developments regarding our equipment and data processing/modelling software packages. Spectral Geophysics joint ventures with other companies that own and manufacture highly specialized equipment like high-power IP and EM transmitters and super sensitive sensors. This ensures that we can provide our clients with the best solutions possible. Nowadays explorers need to be able to search further and deeper and for that you need more power and greater sensitivity, which is now becoming more achievable through modern technology. Our prices are also very competitive compared to our international counterparts so our clients get value for money. We are also prepared to go the extra mile and work in very hostile environments under difficult circumstances and living conditions.
Exploration efforts in Botswana have halted. What kinds of government intervention does Spectral Geophysics hope to see to pick it back up again?
PDT: Botswana needs infrastructure. Without infrastructure, nothing can work because this is a big, landlocked country, and everything is so far apart. The logistics of exploration, and even mining in general, are very costly. A railway system is an ideal solution, but there has been little movement since the announcement of the decision to create it. The country has so much going for it, including a stable political platform, favorable taxation, and free foreign trade. We have huge amounts of coal and other commodities but unfortunately it is not high grade and for that reason the cost of exploration and mining needs to be minimized or else it can never be economically exploited.
Botswana has a golden opportunity to become a specialized service provider in Southern Africa. It needs to get foreign companies to come and invest and allow them to bring skills to Botswana and then provide these skills to other countries. Don’t chase investors away with difficult work permit policies, etc. Botswana does not manufacture much, but it can supply skills. Our company is one such service provider that supplies skills and brings in foreign currency to the country. The government must see and grasp this opportunity. It can become a powerhouse in Africa even without manufacturing and high-grade commodities; moreover, the diamonds will not last forever.
Aside from Botswana, where else has Spectral Geophysics successfully operated?
PDT: Spectral Geophysics works across Africa but is capable of operating anywhere in the world. In West Africa we operate in Mali, Mauritania, Ghana, and Guinea. In East and Central Africa, we are currently in Tanzania, the DRC, and Uganda, but we have also worked in Rwanda, Burundi, Ethiopia, and Eritrea. In Southern Africa, we have done business in Angola, Namibia, Mozambique, South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe, etc. We have always been go-getters. No terrain has ever been too difficult, and our staff is willing to go the extra mile to ensure our customer’s satisfaction. Our goal is to stay ahead of technology and quickly adapt to learn the most advance systems and software capabilities. Our track record speaks for itself, so why not hire Spectral Geophysics?
This interview was conducted as part of research 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 October 2015 and can be accessed here. To participate in this report, please contact Molly Concannon at email@example.com or +244 940 514 806.