Berry Mwango, Director, C&B Engineering

MACIG Connect Series

C&B Engineering speaks to GBR of the challenges facing the processing industry in Zambia.

C&B Engineering began operations in 1991. What is your role in the mining sector and how have you seen the industry evolve?

C&B Engineering is a mechanical engineering company specializing in process engineering. Like many other local engineering firms, we have been active in the copper/cobalt processing stream by providing the miners with plants and equipment for leaching, concentrating, smelting and refining of the minerals. We have found ourselves supporting the mining companies through contractual works despite the stiff competition from foreign based companies that are preferred by the mine owners. The mining sector has witnessed several phases of transformation from public to private ownership with the privatization and eventually new players have joined in. There are now a lot more large scale mining companies mining copper.

How far has Zambia come in terms of extracting the full worth of its mineral resources through value adding initiatives? Continue reading

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Stanislas de Stabenrath, Managing Director and CEO, X&M Suppliers

MACIG Connect Series

X&M Suppliers explains to GBR how the company intends to rapidly expand its offering and its reach from Abidjan to the rest of West Africa.

Can you provide a brief overview of X&M’s focus for 2017 into 2018, and highlight any recent milestones achieved by the company?

X&M supplies equipment in the areas of exploration, drilling, health and safety, construction, topography and software in West Africa and beyond. We are continuing to develop our capacity in three main areas: local manufacturing, distribution, building consignment agreements and partnerships with companies trying to enter the West African market. X&M also develops services capacity for the many brands it distributes such as Draeger. For example, X&M just set up a certified calibration lab in Abidjan for gas detection devices. Up to now, customers were forced to send their gas detection device to Europe or South Africa to be calibrated. Our business will continue to focus on quality products and services of the type our customers in West Africa are seeking. X&M is on its way to becoming a one stop shop supplier, supplying clients from large stock holdings held locally in a bonded, customs cleared warehouse or sourced and delivered directly from the manufacturer. One aim in 2018-2019 is to open offices in Burkina Faso, Mali, Ghana and Senegal to service the exploration, mining, oil and gas, and other industries in those countries and the region. This year we have established a presence in Hong Kong to source and develop procurement out of Asia.

What strategy does the company have in place to grow its business in the medium-to long-term? Continue reading

John Gladston, Government Affairs Manager, First Quantum Minerals Ltd.

MACIG Connect Series

First Quantum derives the majority of its revenues from its Sentinel mine in Zambia which it is bringing to nameplate capacity.

Can you highlight the significance of First Quantum’s projects in Zambia to the company’s global strategy?

Zambia clearly remains strategically important to First Quantum. As a group we have diversified into Central and South America, but in the medium-term, Zambia will remain an important partner for us; not only because the majority of the company’s revenue stems from Zambia but also because the heritage of the company is deeply seated in this jurisdiction. Our immediate focus in Zambia is on Sentinel mine and its ramp-up to its nameplate capacity. Eventually, this will see it producing between 280,000 and 300,000 tonnes of copper per annum (mt/y). We will also continue to advance the towns and multi-facility economic zones associated with our Zambian mines in order to promote diversification and the development of the communities in which we operate.

Are there any particular infrastructure projects that you see as pivotal in bringing the Zambian mining sector forward? Continue reading

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