Hervé Boyer, Managing Director, Stanbic Bank Cote d’Ivoire

MACIG Connect Series

Stanbic Bank has a presence in 20 African countries and is now opening a branch in Cote d’Ivoire.

Stanbic Bank intends to open its first Cote d’Ivoire branch in July 2017. What is the company’s vision for this specific market?

In line with Standard Bank Group’s digital strategy, we are making a sizeable investment in our banking system infrastructure, and we hope to play a role in the digital transformation of the banking system in Cote d’Ivoire. Initially we will focus on corporate and investment banking, as well as existing clients who already operate in Cote d’Ivoire and the region. Looking ahead in our strategic delivery, we will explore obtaining more local clients and we may also eventually move into retail banking.

What have been the most significant obstacles in bringing the bank into full operation, and conversely, what strategic advantages does the company enjoy?  Continue reading

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Francois Bigara, Managing Director, Kanu Equipment Côte d’Ivoire

MACIG Connect Series

Kanu Equipment has been well received in Côte d’Ivoire and has quickly won clients in the mining and construction sectors for its products and services.

Could you give us an overview of Kanu’s operations in Côte d’Ivoire and the way your presence here has developed?

Kanu Equipment began operations in Côte d’Ivoire just over two years ago. At first it was a very small operation. Thankfully, my personal previous knowledge and experience of the country allowed us to penetrate the market for importing high-quality earthmoving and construction equipment. Côte d’Ivoire showed immense potential under the control of the new President, and it really began to open itself up to new investors. We then had to build our business from the ground up, and during these early days, our policy of employing French speakers was also a massive help. An initial positive sign was the warm welcome we received from various national political figures including the President himself. Within ten days of our setting up our offices, we had all of the papers that we needed to begin business in the Côte d’Ivoire. This welcome was a truly fantastic beginning to our operations in the country and still warms my heart. Continue reading

Stanislas de Stabenrath, Director General, Exploration & Mining Suppliers (X&M)

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X&M is continually expanding the range of supplies and products required my mining companies in Côte d’Ivoire to keep pace with a frenzy of exploration.

Do you see any tangible new mining investments taking form in Côte d’Ivoire?

The current Minister of Mines, Mr Brou has developed and implemented incredibly favorable policies and has granted many exploration permits since his appointment. Because of the mineral cycle downturn, exploration investment has been limited in Côte d’Ivoire as junior explorers have very limited access to funding on the stock exchange for greenfield projects. The difficulty in getting funding is deterring new players, but some companies have nevertheless been exploring intensely in Côte d’Ivoire over the last few years. Continue reading

Yao Kossonou, General Manager, Biotitiale

MACIG Connect Series

Biotitiale can provide all environmental and health and safety services that are required to mine in the Côte D’Ivoire.

To begin, please outline the history of Biotitiale since it was established in 2012?

I was originally an environmentalist before becoming specialised in work place health and safety. I realised that a mine is a world in miniature. It is secluded and must contain everything that it needs. Biotitale was created to service the mines in Côte D’Ivoire and the surrounding region. We help investors in mines with the health and safety of their workers, the protection of the environment and of the communities around the mines. Presently, we are working in Côte D’Ivoire, but we intend to develop across the region, especially in Mali, Burkina Faso, Guinea and Senegal as well as Central Africa.

How many employees do you have and what are their backgrounds?

We are 12 permanent staff, including environmental engineers, health and safety experts and water treatment specialists. All come from the leading schools, especially from the INP-HB (Institut Polytechnique Félix Houphouët BOIGNY) in Yamoussoukro. We invest in training them so that they can satisfy the needs of our clients.

Please explain your mobile laboratories?

Unfortunately, due to the difficult financial conditions in the Côte D’Ivoire and the difficulty of obtaining credit, this project is not yet in operation. It nevertheless is a priority. It is a truck that will provide our services. Formerly, due to insecurity in certain regions, the truck would have been at risk so the management decided to postpone this initiative. So at the moment we are working to provide results as quickly as we possibly can for our clients.

What services do you offer to mines at the outset of a project?

It depends on the client; the regulations are clear. If a client wishes us to complete all requirements until a permit is obtained, we can provide that service, or else we can help with particularities related to each mine. We can coach a company as to how to obtain all of the various permissions required from the Ministry of Industry and Mines as well as other institutions, especially in all matters concerning safety, security and the protection of the environment.

How do you help to protect local communities from the pollution caused by mines? 

In the Côte D’Ivoire there is an authority called CIAPOL (Centre Ivoirien anti-Pollution) which is a part of the Ministry of the Environment and Sustainable Development that follows closely all aspects of the environmental impact of mines. We accompany mining companies and help them to control air and sound pollution. We have all of the necessary technology to test atmospheric purity and can measure levels of sound and dust.

How do the regulations of the Côte D’Ivoire compare with those applied in other mining jurisdictions?

The new mining code sets the regulations, which we follow very closely. Of course there are aspects, which need to be improved, but having visited other countries in the region, this country is clearly progressing towards the implementation of the best international standards.

How does artisanal mining impact on the environment?

We can see that, on the one hand, there are mining companies that respect both the national and international regulations and implement them, but, on the other hand, there are those that respect neither. For example, they may use dangerous chemicals without any of the proper controls. We appreciate the government’s efforts to prevent this.

What are the objectives of Biotitiale for the coming years?

Our objective is to become an important partner with all of the mining companies in this region. The laboratory was built for this purpose. We want to enter into a dialogue with mining companies so as to ensure a healthy environment for the good of the workers, the communities nearby and for the mining companies themselves.

What is your message for the international mining community from Biotitiale?

At Biotitiale, we are passionate about the environment. We need to preserve the environment as we found it. Whatever the metal, we want to help investors and mining companies with the health and safety of their workers, managing the environment surrounding a mine, making environmental analysis and implementing preventive measures so as to preserve the environment for future generations.

 

Eric N’guessan, Partner, EY Cote d’Ivoire

MACIG Connect Series

EY has selected Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, as its regional mining hub for West Africa.

How has EY’s presence in Cote d’Ivoire evolved since its establishment here in 1958?

EY Cote d’Ivoire positioned itself in Abidjan as the center point between Canada and Australia because a great deal of foreign direct investment comes from those two mining powerhouses. Globally, EY has nine world mining partners, and in West Africa, EY Cote d’Ivoire is the hub for the region. From Abidjan, we cover Togo, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, and Benin—a majority of our mining activity takes places in Mali and Burkina Faso. Our success is a matter of specialization, as we have a handful of people that specialize in mining tax, due to the complex particularities that are very unique to the industry. The smallest decimal points can make a difference when drafting mining business plans or making the calculations of productivity. Continue reading

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

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“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. Continue reading

Dalil Paraiso, West Africa General Director, Schneider Electric

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“Many investors are arriving which means that we have more and more competition at every level. We are aware, therefore, that we must increase our standards when operating in the country as we wish to be a key investor in Cote d’Ivoire for the next ten or twenty years.”

Can you give us any overview of your activities in West Africa and specifically a description of Schneider Electric’s role in Cote d’Ivoire?

Schneider Francophone West Africa oversees twelve different countries in the region with two main offices in Abidjan and Dakar. Our regional team consists of around forty people and we serve various sectors including utilities, data centers, banks, telephone companies, as well as players in mining and water. We heavily support the empowerment of local people and businesses, which is why our focus has been to develop both a variety of local partners as well as our presence in the region.

Schneider is very integrated in mining in West Africa, Continue reading