Logistics infrastructure needed for the export of ore and beneficiated products is generally weak in Africa. It is characterised by poor efficiencies, maintenance issues, long delays and high project costs, engineering consulting firm WSP Africa Civil and Structural Engineers COO Darrin Green tells Chantelle Kotze.
The worrying reality is that no African country is showing sufficient consideration of all of the necessary aspects, both technical and non-technical, relating to the establishment or expansion of pit-to-port materials handling infrastructure. While WSP believes the technical issues are easier to solve, the non-technical aspects such as funding, security issues, transnational movement, bureaucracy, graft and lack of co-operation between the mining companies themselves and between the mining companies and government remains a major stumbling block. And South Africa should not be excluded from the challenges generally associated with Africa. The country may have the most well developed pit-to-port infrastructure, but it too has significant capacity and operational constraints relating primarily to the country’s rail infrastructure and rolling stock, Green outlines. Bulk ore rail infrastructure and bulk materials handling equipment within the ports are of most need in the African mining industry.
The most significant challenges in establishing pit-to-port infrastructure on the continent are financial, regulatory and human in nature – issues such as a lack of transparent, stable and predictable mining policies within African countries; poor legal and regulatory frameworks governing mining activities that do not provide security of mining tenure; and attracting and enabling mining investment are just the start. Cross-border delays, security issues, political interference, corruption, transborder movement problems, weakening commodity prices, and a lack of funding are specifically affecting the…..