Daniel Major, CEO – GoviEx Uranium

MACIG Connect Series

GoviEx Uranium describes its African strategy where it has acquired three advanced stage uranium projects.

GoviEx has three advanced stage uranium projects in Zambia, Niger, and Mali. How has the company turned the perceived risks of these projects into opportunities? 

From a project perspective, we have found that being in Africa actually helps. For example, because we are in a developing region, export credit agencies (ECAs) tend to be supportive, whereas they may be less likely to offer assistance in a developed country. GoviEx has been in discussion with a number of ECAs, predominantly on a procurement basis, because we have not yet defined our off-takers and we have found a few ECAs that are potentially interested in providing insurance coverage for the full amount of our debt. The underlying funding banks are then more comfortable with being involved. Particularly in relation to our Madaouela project, people tend to believe we will have difficulty funding our project because it is in Niger, but we now have a number of commercial banks working through our data room.

What is the company’s strategic advantage in offering this geographically diversified portfolio of projects? Continue reading

Mwaba Coster, General Manager of Hearmes Mining and Trading

MACIG Connect Series

Hearmes is involved in supporting the early stages of mines in Zambia and endeavors to foster local talent.

How has Hearmes Mining and Trading managed to weather the various commodity cycles, and what is your outlook for the future as the copper price begins to show signs of sustained recovery?

Our company has been in operation for over 19 years, working with companies from the beginning of their operations through to production to provide services ranging from engineering consultancy to suppliers of labor and equipment. During that time, we have used the periods of high investment in Zambia to grow our business and position ourselves to serve international and local businesses by essentially mechanizing the mines. When we were hit by the Global Financial Crisis and the mines had to scale back, contractors such as ourselves were also impacted. However, the mines are beginning to show signs of stability again and we are therefore also beginning to benefit from the opportunities that growth affords. 

How has Hearmes seen the changing attitudes towards safety management impact its service offerings? Continue reading

Mark Wainwright, MD Natural Resources and Daimon Keith, Director, Kenya Country Manager, Turner & Townsend

Turner & Townsend’s Kenya office explains the issues related to investing in Kenya’s young mining sector.

Turner & Townsend is a global company covering several key sectors. Could you give an overview of your African operations?

Mark Wainwright (MW): Turner & Townsend is a global capital programs professional services company that has been serving the industry for more than 70 years, representing the commercial interests of owners and operators, across the spectrum from junior to major companies, as well as funders. We have over 4,000 staff and an annual global turnover of more than half a billion USD. Our services cover the entire capital project life cycle, from the pre-feasibility stage onwards and includes advising on supply chain strategy, estimating an asset’s cost and schedule, managing contractual arrangements with the supply chain, execution and commissioning the asset.

Daimon Keith (DK): Africa is one of our eight global focus regions; we have been here for 34 years, first entering Africa on the back of our global mining clients. Now have almost 300 staff. We see East Africa, and particularly Kenya, as a key country to drive growth in the region and the continent . Mirroring our global business portfolio, the Africa business’s focus is split across property infrastructure and natural resource (mining, oil and gas) sectors.

What are the main challenges facing your clients in Kenya’s mining sector? Continue reading

Lars Narfeldt , Director, RA International

RA International is seeking to bring its life support services to the African mining industry.

Please tell us about the history of RA International and its key competencies.

RA International was formed in 2003. At that time we began working in Afghanistan, where we provided support to the United Nations and the International military forces. Our key focus areas were in construction and power generation, shortly after we also moved on to include waste management and catering to our portfolio of services. We grew rapidly the first 12 months and by mid 2004, we had around 500 employees across Afghanistan. At that stage, we were also invited to enter South Sudan to set up a similar operation as we have in Afghanistan. From 2004 until 2010 we were predominantly active in Sudan and Afghanistan, but in 2010 we sold our assets in Afghanistan and decided to focus on Africa. By then we already had an established office in Kenya and had moved into Somalia. From then on, we continued to grow and we are now present in 14 countries in Africa.

What have been the main reasons behind your decision to expand into the mining industry in Africa? Continue reading

Lojomon Biwot, Non-Executive Director, Kilimapesa Gold and Chairman, Kenya Chamber of Mines

Kilimapesa has commissioned stage one of a new processing facility at its gold mine in Kenya.

Kilimapesa was the first gold mine to be commissioned after independence. What have been the key developments over the years?

Exploration began in 2007. The initial area of interest was originally licensed to a company called Sebimu and, as they were also looking for investors and partners, we reached an agreement in which we attained part of the license. We then acquired an exploration license and carried out a detailed drilling program, analyzed the results, and realized we had gold potential. The confirmed resource was close to 700,000 ounces. We then selected another area and acquired the license in 2011. We were very grateful to the government, as this was the first license to be issued for gold mining since Kenya’s independence.

We went into production immediately, upgrading the facility that was there. The gold price has been a major challenge and we had to reduce staff numbers over the years. For a period, the operations were put under care and maintenance. However, we are now out of that, and the gold prices are looking up. Our production is still relatively low, producing between five and ten kilograms of gold every month, but last year we decided to expand the company. This expansion is currently underway with the objective to crush around 3,000 tons of ore every month. This is a huge step up, and our long-term target is to crush around 6,000 tons per month. Some of the required equipment has been mobilized from Ghana. We hope that by December the new plant will be fully operational.

Goldplat also has operations in Ghana and South Africa. How does Kenya’s business environment compare, particularly with regard to investor support? Continue reading

Steve Kisakye, CSR and Community Relations Practitioner/Advisor, Dalberg

Dalberg explains how the company helps guide the Tanzanian government to upgrade its social development and infrastructure.

Dalberg was founded in 2001. What are the key focus areas of the company in Tanzania?

Dalberg considers itself both a global and local company. Under the company’s partnership-based system, every country’s operation is semi-autonomous. In Tanzania we have had a presence for about five years, but we only set up our office this year, mainly operating in a number of development sectors including agriculture, education, finance and health.

I recently joined to lead the work of a new business entity (D. Implement), looking at moving from strategy into implementation. In the program that I lead, we are supporting the government to deliver in a more effective and efficient manner with a focus on the agricultural sector where there have been some significant investments, but without a major transformation in the sector. Our work involves supporting coordination of Ministries that are involved in the agriculture sector and further working closely with government counterparts at a regional level to enhance the delivery of programs. We are currently working in the Mwanza region, and will be expanding into two other regions in the next year.

Continue reading

Ruben Govender and Charnie-Lee Kruger, Key Account Managers, Mining, Scania

MACIG Connect Series

Scania actively engages with customers to solve their transport equipment needs, giving the company a competitive edge.

Could you provide an overview of Scania’s regional and South African operations? How important is South Africa for Scania?

Ruben Govender (RG) and Charnie-Lee Kruger (CL): Scania has eight focus markets around the world and is truly global and shares expertise between the regions it operates in. In South Africa, specifically, there are 1,800 mines and we try to see around 10% of them every year. We have vast experience in mining, and this is important because our vehicles are very specific; we need to understand the conditions our customers are mining in, the methods they are using, the types of ore and tonnages they are extracting, and the road systems around their mines. We do not only sell vehicles, but offer service solutions that ensure maximum up-time and productivity. The vehicles may look the same, but their internal systems are quite different. We often sell customers a range of different vehicles, but traditionally our business is focused on tipper and side tipper trucks.

Southern Africa is a very important market for Scania Mining and although we have traditionally been known for the long-haulage business, there are extensive opportunities for us to grow our revenue and profitability in this sector. We offer transport solutions across the entire mining cycle, from exploration to port.

How difficult has it been for Scania to maintain a constant fleet of vehicles in such tough times for the industry? Continue reading