MACIG Connect Series
The last time we met, you were the managing director of DRA. Since then you have founded ENCOM. What was the reasoning behind doing so, and what has been the experience thus far?
Abreu Muhimua (AM): Being both a Mozambican and an engineer I wanted to give something back to the community. Given my experience in mining, power, and infrastructure, I saw the need to establish a 100% Mozambican-owned, engineering, procurement, and construction management (EPCM) company. ENCOM is composed of the top Mozambican engineers who have worked in mining, infrastructure, and oil and gas. Although 2013 was not considered the best year economically, that is when ENCOM entered the market, and we are happy with the decision.
Majors are generally quite conservative with their contractors and outsourcing any operations in a commodity crisis. What has been the market reaction to ENCOM?
AM: ENCOM was a new company and faced many of the challenges that new players to this market faced. However, the engineering talent that was backing ENCOM was recognized in the market, and this helped move things along. We won a few tenders and lost a few, but the market was looking for a Mozambican company that could provide EPCM and operational maintenance services and can deliver a project from feasibility to execution.
What type of expertise do ENCOM’s engineers bring to the table?
AM: ENCOM has all the disciplines, including mechanical, civil, electrical, piping, operational maintenance, automation, and instrumentation. We are also developing a project-support arm called Beyond Zero Harm, which conducts health and safety audits. Beyond Zero Harm operates as an independent subsidiary. We are currently working towards ISO accreditation for both ENCOM and Beyond Zero Harm.
ENCOM has won several tenders over the years. Which project best demonstrates the multidisciplinary level that ENCOM has?
AM: Due to confidentiality agreements with some clients I cannot reveal everything. ENCOM’s main clients include Vale, Jindal, CLN, Nectar Coal, Maputo Sugar Terminal, and ICVL. We are currently also working on a resettlement project for the World Bank in Beira.
Will we see more Chinese investment coming into the Mozambican mining Industry?
AM: Mozambique will attract newcomers and new investors. Chinese investors are already here but we still see interest from Western investors. The only question remains the country’s political situation. From an engineering and financial perspective, Mozambique offers a lot of opportunities.
The oil and gas potential in Mozambique has been garnering a lot of attention due to the Rovuma Basin reserves. Is ENCOM looking toward entering the oil and gas market?
AM: ENCOM is preparing to enter the oil and gas sector. We have participated in workshops and have decided where the company can add value. ENCOM is looking to make investments to guarantee that we play a role in the development of oil and gas in Mozambique. ENCOM also has foreign consultants with the relevant knowledge and experience.
Are there opportunities for local companies like ENCOM to create formal technical partnerships with external technology companies?
AM: Mozambique is not isolated; one must remember that we are in the age of globalization. ENCOM is open to partnerships and understands intellectual property and technology links. ENCOM will not reinvent the wheel; we will work with technology owners and identify the expertise that we need and see how to synergize on specific projects. ENCOM understands the local market and its respective challenges and limitations. We also know where to look for assistance, and are open to partnership.
ENCOM is a young company. What are the firm’s aspirations for growth over the next two years?
AM: We want to see ENCOM continue to grow as a strong company that provides professional and reliable services to the world through international projects. We are currently looking at Zimbabwe, Malawi, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivore, and Angola as potential destinations. ENCOM aims to have at least one international project in two years.
Do you have a final message to our readers who are potential investors in mining, oil and gas, services, power, and infrastructure? Why should they choose ENCOM for their EPCM needs?
AM: ENCOM is a Mozambican company that understands both the market and the culture. Today’s world is about creating sustainable and innovation solutions to remain competitive, which we have proven. ENCOM is client-focused; we look out for clients, not just a return on investment. ENCOM goes the extra mile by providing services that other companies cannot because they do not understand the engineering setup in Mozambique. If you are looking for a company that can execute your project with value for money from feasibility to operation and maintenance, come to ENCOM.
This interview was part of research being conducted by GBR for its Mining in Africa Country Investment Guide (MACIG) 2017. The 2016 edition of MACIG was published in early February and can be accessed here. The GBR team is currently in Mozambique conducting the necessary research and interviews for the mining and oil & gas sectors. To participate in this report, please contact Molly Concannon at email@example.com or +258 82 559 4115.