“Murray and Roberts has established a permanent presence in Zambia. We are here to stay and we aim to build what we build to last.”

Jan NefdtExclusive interview with Jan Nefdt, Director – Murray & Roberts Cementation (Zambia) Limited, an important exhibitor at the upcoming CBM-TEC expo in Kitwe from 28-29 April.

What products, services and projects of Murray & Roberts Cementation Zambia are you most excited about at the moment?
Murray and Roberts Cementation is the reputed leader in shaft sinking, contract mining, raise drilling and specialized mining services. The company boasts a strong track record of successful mine project delivery and is a first – choice mining contractor providing the best value for mining development and contracting services. The company offers a comprehensive range of capabilities and services covering the full spectrum of the mining value chain, from concept to commissioning, having helped clients extract, process, store and export a variety of minerals including copper, gold, platinum, iron ore, coal, alumina, aluminium, limestone, mineral sands, nickel, zinc and lead.

An integrated team of technical experts, multi-disciplinary engineers and experienced and knowledgeable operations personnel ensures specialized design and construction of underground facilities including shaft, ramp accesses, mine development and raises as well as large diameter raise drilling.

Murray and Roberts has established a permanent presence in Zambia with the opening of an office in Kitwe to serve clients in central Africa. Key mining projects currently underway in the country include Mopani Copper Mines (MCM), which has awarded Murray and Roberts Cementation the contract to sink a new vertical shaft and develop the related underground infrastructure at the Mufulira Deeps project near Kitwe. The contract is the second awarded by Mopani Copper Mines to Murray and Roberts Cementation which is also providing shaft sinking services for MCMs Synclinorium project at the Nkana Copper and Cobalt Mine. Murray and Roberts Cementation was awarded the shaft sinking and equipping contract at the Synclinorium shaft in Kitwe, Zambia in July 2011 and reached the 1180m mark early in January 2014. The contract is due for completion in June 2015 and is the second largest awarded to the company in Zambia and the first awarded by MCM.

What makes your company competitive in this market?
Murray & Roberts Cementation’s ability to offer a world class solution that meets mine project time frames has grown its reputation and customer base in the country. Not only has Murray & Roberts Cementation benefitted from these projects, but the projects have also helped to create hundreds of employment opportunities and facilitated skills transfer to the people of Zambia.

Murray & Roberts Cementation was also awarded a decline sinking shaft and underground infrastructure at Lubambe Copper Mine in 2010. The project was completed in October 2012 – well ahead of time and schedule and Murray and Roberts Cementation was awarded follow on development contract. There are currently five mechanized development crews on the mine doing 1,500m of development per month, an average of 300m per crew per month. This performance is well known in the industry and strengthens our reputation.

What would you say are the main challenges in the mining industry in Zambia?
Lack of specialized mining skills, and to have uniform training in best practice across all mining operations which will improve safety and production efficiencies.

The lack of mining supply competition forces you to buy from a specific supplier and they often run out of stock. This in turn necessitates us to carry high stock levels in our stores.

What is your vision for the sector?
With a stable copper price and increased confidence that it will stay on current levels, investment should increase not just in the mining sector but also in other sectors in the country. Zambia has a stable political history and this helps a lot for foreign confidence in the country.

What advice would you give a prospective foreign investor who is interested in investing in Zambia’s mining sector?
We decided on Zambia on Zambia as our base for Central Africa because it is safe and friendly country, and it is also one of the fastest economically reforming countries.

Why did you decide to partner with CBM-TEC?
CBM-TEC will be an opportunity to introduce Murray & Roberts Cementation as a World class Mining contractor and Murray & Roberts group offers multi displinary engineering, procurement, operations, maintenance and equipment supply services to the mining & minerals and power generation sectors, building, industrial civils construction, as well as to the government and private sector clients.

What will be your message at the event?
Murray and Roberts Cementation established a permanent presence in Zambia with its opening of an Office in Kitwe to serve its Clients in Central Africa. We are here to stay and we aim to build what we build to last.

What are you most looking forward to at CBM-TEC in April?
To introduce Murray and Roberts Zambia Limited to the mining industry of Zambia and also to showcase our abilities as a World Class Mining Contractor.