Local Companies Gain Competitiveness within Tanzania’s Mining Service Sector

Alongside the well-reputed international players, several home-grown local companies are consistently proving themselves to be competitive, offering additional advantages such as greater expertise in business culture and environment.

By Catherine Howe

Many major international companies servicing the mining sector have a footprint in Tanzania; widely recognized brands either have subsidiaries in the country or, when it comes to equipment and machinery or other products, some have selected distributors. For example, Bell Equipment is dealt exclusively through Mining Agriculture and Construction Services (MACS), which also distributes Liebherr, Terex Finlay, Cummins Engines and Class. Continue reading

Is Kenya’s Service Sector Ready to Support a Potential Influx of Mining Activity?

With major investments in the mining industry expected, Kenya must gear up its service offering

By Catherine Howe

IMAGE: Base Titanium

There are a number of service companies operating in Kenya with an excellent reputation, strong capabilities and extensive local knowledge. Panafrican Group, for example, is a major player in East Africa, providing and supporting mining equipment, and distributes Komatsu and Wirtgen brands. “A large part is knowledge of the environment and having a clear understanding of what is really possible, how long it will take and what it is going to cost,” commented Gregory Jackson, regional manager at Panafrican Group. “There is a lot of excitement in Kenya and on top of that excitement there are a lot of resourceful people in this industry with a good problem-solving attitude. There is a very strong entrepreneurial spirit, so there are a lot of good partners to work with here.” Continue reading

Kevin Peacocke, CEO, APT Processing

MACIG Connect Series

During the downturn, APT Processing benefitted from a rise in artisanal mining throughout the continent.

How did APT fare the downturn in the mining sector?

We suffered in the downturn as well, everybody did. But we suffered less so because we are very broadly based. Our clients go from artisanal miners to the majors. The smaller players pay less attention to economic trends, they are mostly concerned about growing their businesses. There are hundreds of people like these and you need only reach a small fraction of them. Therefore, we have a division within our business especially for smaller clients, not only because it is the right thing to do but because they are very loyal and they always come back to us whenever they need us. In this regard, we have found a very specific niche and it is what got us through the tough times. Therefore, we can say that we used the slump to consolidate our business.

What new products have been introduced to grow APT’s business? Continue reading

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

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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

Mzila Mthenjane Executive Head, Stakeholder Accountability, Exxaro Resources

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Exxaro is experimenting with the ‘Internet of Things’, and it will probably be embedded throughout the business in two to three years.

What have been the major developments for Exxaro in the last year?

2016 has been characterized by our continued response to the downturn in commodity prices. Exxaro is largely invested in coal, which makes up almost all its revenue, but also has significant minority investments in iron ore, titanium, ferro-silicon and zinc. In iron ore, we have a 20% interest in SIOC, and recently disposed of a project in the Republic of Congo, Brazzaville. We also have a ca44% equity interest in Tronox, as well as a 26% interest in its local operations, which provide the feedstock for manufacturing pigment. We have a 26% interest in Black Mountain Mining, a zinc operation based in the Northern Cape. Each of these operations has faced historically low prices – in iron they have even come down to less than a third of their peak Continue reading

Erwin Spolders, CEO, Redavia

Redavia is the African market leader of rental solar for mining.

Could you provide a brief introduction to Redavia and an overview of its presence across Africa?

Redavia rents containerized solar farms to remote industrial off-grid operations, particularly in mining. Our primary market today is Tanzania, followed by Kenya. In mining, we are interested in anything above 1MW of solar capacity, which will include any gold mine in Africa.

We are also working on a few deals in West Africa, which we hope to sign in 2017. To begin with, however, we wanted to set up a core business in one country, anchored by the Shanta Gold project. Redavia is now the largest solar farm operator in Tanzania, with a few further projects in the food processing and utilities sectors.

How does the business environment and infrastructure for energy and renewables in particular compare between Tanzania and other African countries? Continue reading

Mike Biss, Volvo Penta

The Volvo Penta brand is making inroads into Zimbabwe’s industrial and mining sectors.

Volvo Penta has been in existence since the start of the 20th century. Could you introduce the brand and provide an overview of your operations in Zimbabwe?

Our industrial side of the business is spread over Zimbabwe as a whole and we also service the southern region of Zambia. The marine side of the business is located in Kariba, in the north of the country. We have held the Volvo Penta agency since 2000. We saw an opening in the industrial market segment and opened an industrial office in Harare to support the existing sector; Industrial Stationary Engines (Gensets, Pump Sets, etc.) already in the country and to provide an outlet to supply new sets into the market as well as to offer support in the mining sector with Versatile Engines. Volvo Penta is fairly new to the industrial market in Zimbabwe, but has been very successful so far; companies such as Sandvik have signed up with Volvo Penta and most of their new Loaders and Haulers are supplied with Volvo Penta power plants. Sandvik are impressed with the fuel economy, low emissions and reliability of these engines. Currently, the Zimplats Ngezi mine has 8 x TH430L Haulers(30T). Freda Rebecca gold mine currently has 3 LHD15  Loaders (15T). The growth in this side of our business depends on the demand for platinum from Zimplats and gold from Freda Rebecca. The machines run 24/7 and require servicing every eight to ten days.

Continue reading