DRA Group CEO Paul Thomson

Will this year’s Mining Indaba be able to strengthen the relationship between mining in Africa investment and socio economic development asks DRA Group’s CEO Paul Thomson.

He would like to see the emphasis on investing in mining in Africa shift to a stronger focus on investing in Africa’s future.

“The mining sector is one of the most effective facilitators of infrastructure in Africa,” he explains.

DRA has delivered extensively on infrastructure projects in Africa

“Mines need roads, railway lines, runways, utilities, telecoms, accommodation, even schools and clinics. Invariably when we design and construct a mine or a processing plant for our clients, we also have to assist in developing the required infrastructure.”

DRA alone has built R3 billion’s worth of infrastructure on the continent in recent years. The exponential power of the mining sector to contribute to Africa’s development is phenomenal,” says Thomson.

The company’s own approach to working in Africa is not only to assist its clients to minimise their risk and optimise the efficiency and profitability of their operations, but also to leave a positive socio-economic legacy. “If infrastructure is not delivered into Africa, the continent will be condemned to poverty and mediocrity,” Thomson adds.

DRA is also active in public-private engagement and believes that all players in the mining sector have a role to play in advancing Africa’s millennium development goals.

“Business should get involved with government. Yes, business can profit, but let’s not milk the cow, let’s be fair all around. Then there’s huge potential for building something that will serve the best interests of all players,” says Thomson.

DRA has more than 32 years of experience working on mining and infrastructure projects in Africa, overcoming seemingly impossible logistical and practical challenges, addressing lack of infrastructure and coping in environments beset with political, economic and regulatory uncertainty, while delivering world class pit to port solutions for its clients.

The challenges of Africa demand flexible solutions. DRA has therefore developed a multi-disciplinary engineering capability for all requirements in the industry, from concept to commissioning, across all commodity sectors, including minerals processing plants, infrastructure development, mining operations and maintenance.

In a recent acquisition, DRA purchased Cape Town-based ports and harbour engineering business RLH Consulting Engineers. DRA will leverage the wealth of industry experience of key personnel in RLH, spanning more than 30 years, which focus on international port and harbour developments and coastal engineering.

“Diversification into marine engineering as offered by RLH, has been part of DRA’s strategy for the past year and we are very excited about RLH forming part of our team. I am excited about the prospects of our Cape Town offering which supports our innovation drive, “says Johann de Bruin, MD, DRA Africa.

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