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UMS Group's skills set extends to all underground mining development

Since joining the UMS Group CEO DIGBY GLOVER has taken quick action to change the market’s perception of the two companies it acquired in 2015 – Shaft Sinkers and METS.

“We have incorporated the intellectual property and experience from both businesses into the cohesive, efficient and stable entity United Mining Services Group (UMS), and in so doing we are moving on from our legacy challenges,” he tells LAURA CORNISH.

This article first appeared in Mining Review Africa Issue 5, 2019
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Following the acquisition of Shaft Sinkers and its sister company METS, UMS underwent the process of stabilising Shaft Sinkers but required the vision, direction and leadership of a strong mining industry CEO and supporting management team to reposition and grow the company in this market.

Glover, a former CEO of WorleyParsons RSA (previously TWP), together with COO Murray MacNab who also brings a wealth of experience from WorleyParsons RSA, is now working to reposition UMS in the market as a leader across all its fields of expertise.

“UMS is entering an exciting phase in its history – we have a relatively small company that has an incredible history and know-how and with the right team in place is now perfectly positioned to grow.”

Having spent the last months of 2018 evaluating UMS, Glover affirms that the business has significant potential.

“Our immediate priority is to build the business up moving forwards and leave our legacy issues firmly in the past and so, while we have absorbed the strengths that both Shaft Sinkers and METS have to offer, we have incorporated those skills and intellectual property under the UMS name.

"In so doing, we move forward as a well-rounded, one-stop-shop mining services firm that has the capabilities to build new mines, from concept through to commissioning and operation, under one roof,” he outlines.

“UMS has solid capability in the underground ore body access, mine infrastructure as well as process facilities.”

Moving forward with direction and purpose

“It wasn’t rocket science to get a number of things right quickly – starting with just the fundamentals.

"The business now has the appropriate structure, governance, systems and procedures, marketing and communication, project control and compliance in place.

"Overall, we have simplified the business by removing silos that existed between the various offerings.”

Given the stable market which the industry is seeing at present, the scope to grow quickly has been made easier.

With an effective business model in place and the necessary multi-disciplinary skills to support it, Glover and his team have already started making headway in better selling its mining contract services as well as its mining and processing EPCM service offering to the market.

Glover’s vision and strategy is also fully supported by the company’s shareholders.

“UMS is entering an exciting phase in its growth evolution – we have a relatively small company that has an incredible history and know-how and with the right team in place is now perfectly positioned to grow.”

Looking at the company’s project pipeline and targets, Glover confirms that its budgets and projections for the next 12 months are on track – “on the back of being prudent with our costs.”

UMS’s focus will range across all tiers of the mining sector, including both juniors and majors.

Having recently completed the shaft sinking contract for Barrick’s (formerly Randgold Resources) Kibali gold mine in the northern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo, UMS is active in tendering on various potential jobs across all its areas of expertise in Africa, the United States and India.

The company also recently acquired a new contracting project with South32 and is underway with various projects in the chrome and PGM space.

“We recognise that the mining industry is built on relationships and track record and we have brought both into the business,” Glover highlights.

In addition to himself and MacNab, Erik Bruggink (former MD of Basil Read Matomo) has also joined the company.

“The company’s technical skills base is intact and strong. Many of our key technical skills have been in the industry and within the company for a long time, and have built up a wealth of project experience that enables us to provide best practice solutions to our clients.

"This is the UMS management team who all boast a longstanding, solid track record of doing business in the industry with professional services and contracting backgrounds and have the requisite competency to build the company into a strong, competitive, leading firm across all our areas of capability,” Glover concludes.