Mandjou Kourouma, Director General, Soudure Industrielle Et Construction Cote d’Ivoire (SIC–CI)

MACIG Connect Series

“SIC-CI is a local Ivoirian welding company that is winning contracts with international miners”

Can you give a brief introduction and history of SIC-CI since its creation in 2013?

SIC-CI focuses on the mining and oil and gas industries. I personally have a decade of experience in the industrial sector as I previously worked for a chemical company, after which I entered the mining sector. I started working with Randgold in construction on the Tongon Mine for over two years, then established Mining Logistics Company (MLC) with two partners, and then entered the welding and construction section of the supply chain. Three years after the establishment of MLC, I decided to create and develop SIC-CI which has a focus on industrial welding and construction.

SIC-CI integrated the main oil refinery of Côte d’Ivoire into our business operations, and we are currently still working with them as well as other oil exploration companies in the country. In 2015, we started integrating mining companies into our business, but it was not easy for a new company to get a market share in mining. We first had to prove our competencies to the multinational companies in the market, but we are now starting to significantly increase our concentration on the sector, and we are currently busy with construction works at the mines.

SIC-CI had a difficult start with regards to obtaining financing, as the banks in the country are reticent to offer financing to new and small companies.  At the beginning, I had to use entirely my own funds to develop the business as one of the main challenges in Côte d’Ivoire was to attain funding.

What are SIC-CI’s aspirations of how big you hope the mining industry will be as a part of your business plan?

SIC-CI strives to be one of the key actors in the mining construction area in Côte d’Ivoire. We have local competencies in place with an excellent and talented team of local workers. By using local talent we can save costs for both ourselves and our clients. There are schools in Côte d’Ivoire to train welders, but the standards of these schools are not of a high level of aptitude, and welding in general can only truly be perfected via knowledge transfer. Most welders that we employ had external welding experience in other countries, and we also use our experienced welders to train and transfer knowledge to our employees that have just come out of school.

Is there any legal or regulatory assistance from the government as to develop and support local businesses and get multinational companies invested in maturing local companies?

We encourage international companies to mine in Côte d’Ivoire, but we want them to integrate local businesses into their operations to the highest extent possible. All jobs cannot be given to international contractors and there should be a partnership between the multinational companies and local entities who have the capacity to achieve. Partnering with international companies also allows for transfer of competencies and enables local companies to develop and grow.

Mining authorities should apply themselves to involve local companies in the mining industry.

What advantages are there for mining clients for working with SIC-CI?

One of the advantages of working with SIC-CI is that our costs are very low. We employ local workers which cuts cost for us as well as for our clients. With local employees, we do not have a problem with mobilization of people, and most of the time they live in and around the area they work in. As we are a local company, we also have the knowledge of operating in the Côte d’Ivoire and we are familiar with the cultures and lifestyles of the communities surrounding mining operations.

Do you have a final message for our international readership?

SIC-CI wants to play a leading role in building Africa’s tomorrow. Our vision is to operate in all the West African regions and lead mining companies to enhanced profitability. We want mining companies to gain trust in us as we have the people and the knowledge to support them to build their businesses. We want to grow our business and we are also open to establish partnerships with compatible companies as to expand our capabilities.

 

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