HomeFeatures & AnalysisMining in Africa: How to take it to the next level

Mining in Africa: How to take it to the next level

Hatch Goba’s mining in Africa capability, and beyond, ranges from dewatering to infrastructure, shaft sinking, ground handling systems, hoisting headgear design and dynamic simulation across all of these areas. It is this broad service offering that sets Hatch Goba believes sets it apart from similar consultancies.

The consultancy’s status as a Centre of Excellence in shafts and hoists, winding practices and deep-level mining has stood it in good stead in securing project work in a range of commodities across Africa. A recent example of its multi-disciplinary approach was its work for a client on the Zambian Copperbelt.

Kevin Seyfried, director mining AEM, associate at Hatch Goba.
Kevin Seyfried, director mining AEM, associate at Hatch Goba

“We brought an interesting service offering to the table whereby we made some smart standardisation decisions between the two new shafts on the project,” Kevin Seyfried, director mining AEM, associate at Hatch Goba comments.

This approach allowed Hatch Goba to deploy its engineering work across both shafts, and to standardise and reduce the critical equipment and spares needed during operation. “It was a different approach that allowed the client to get the project up and running much quicker than having to design the two shafts separately,” Seyfried adds.

“We have found that with the right-sizing many of our clients are going through right now due to the myriad challenges they are facing, many are changing their staffing models and indeed their business approach. Many have decided against capital investment at this point in time, and are instead focusing on increasing their operational efficiency and productivity.”

Operational performance

“From Hatch Goba’s perspective, we are well-equipped to meet this need. Over the last couple of years, we have focused on operational performance of operations in terms of getting projects to optimal production and then sweating those assets. That is what our clients need right now, and that is the niche that Hatch Goba fills through the approach of assessments through to implementation,” Seyfried asserts.

“A lot of clients rely on us to take them to the next level. Many of the bigger mining houses have large project management and design units that account for a significant proportion of their overheads. We understand that capital is a constraint at the moment for many clients, and needs to be deployed on those projects with the highest mean profit value,” Seyfried elaborates.

This means that Hatch Goba continues to look to Africa for future growth and expansion. “We have a rich base of mineral resources in Africa. Yes, it is still largely untapped due to infrastructure issues, accessibility to ports and railways, customs and visas and difficult political environments. However, things are changing. The mining industry is critical for economic expansion in Africa.”

The Sishen South (Kolomela) mine project was carried out in South Africa, with detail engineering input from the Hatch São Paulo office in Brazil
The Sishen South (Kolomela) mine project was carried out in South Africa, with detail engineering input from the Hatch São Paulo office in Brazil

Success in Africa

Seyfried expands: “We have implemented very successful projects in Africa, from Zambia to the Democratic Republic of Congo and Tanzania. We see a bright future in Africa.” Hatch Goba’s modus operandi in Africa is to follow those clients that venture into the continent.

Hatch Goba’s ‘Global Response’ philosophy allows it to respond to any problem in any commodity sector around the world, from Russia to China and North American and South America. A key player in this regard is the Centre of Excellence based in Johannesburg. Seyfried comments that the South African mining industry is still playing a global role in terms of technological innovation.

“We have embarked on technology projects which we think will allow us to assist our mining clients well into the future. Hatch Goba has a wealth of experience and design capability to back up such advances,” Seyfried notes.

“That is why the headgear for Mosaic’s K3 potash project at Esterhazy in Saskatchewan was designed right here in South Africa, as this is one of our particular areas of expertise,” Seyfried asserts. However, Hatch Goba does not have a particular bias towards any one mining solution.

Top Products & Services Stories:

Polypipe appoints mining industry expert to head southern African operations

BMI Group’s success with Chicago Pneumatic product range

Selecting the optimum generator set solution critical says Zest WEG Group