This is the word from Kevin Dabinett, newly appointed Africa operations manager for Coffey Mining (Pty) Limited. He explains in an exclusive interview with Mining Review Africa that the company has entered the African market through a take-over of RSG Global, which had a strong presence in Africa with offices in South Africa and Ghana.
“Coffey Mining’s technical strengths lie in exploration, resource estimation and feasibility study consulting services, as well as the implementation and construction management of mining-related infrastructure and access systems,” Dabinett explains.
“While we have been able to supply all these services in the past, they have had to come from Australia,” he points out. “ Our intention now — having moved into Africa physically through the takeover of RSG Global — is to serve Africa from Africa, and we intend opening a ‘one-stop-shop’ for the African mining industry right here,” Dabinett states.
“Africa has great growth potential for mining,” he concedes, “and we are committed to the exciting challenge of growing our operations in Africa as the resources sector expands. The intention is to actively seek expansion through acquisitions and country growth as well.”
Dabinett plans to expand existing operations in South Africa by acquiring companies which complement Coffey Mining’s current strengths in the areas of mining and geology. The company’s Ghana office currently specialises in geology and exploration project management, and it is his intention to expand this suite of services to include the mining, geo-technical and environmental disciplines.
FOUR NEW AFRICAN COUNTRIES
“Apart from expanding the existing offices in South Africa and Ghana, we are considering opening operations in four other African countries at this stage,” Dabinett reveals.
“First of these is Zambia. We will be opening an office in Lusaka within the next month or two with the focus on exploration,” he says. “We have already been approached by several parties who need exploration projects manned and managed,” he adds. “We will start with these, and once our exploration base is established in Zambia, we will move into other disciplines such as mining, metallurgy and processing.”
Robust expansion is happening — and is expected to continue and grow — in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Dabinett explains that this market will be served from Coffey Mining’s Zambian office for a start. “Depending on how things develop,” he continues, “we may consider opening another office, either on the Zambian copper belt or in the DRC itself, to serve that market.”
Turning to other growth possibilities, Dabinett names Tanzania as the next logical step. “I cannot be specific on when this is likely to happen, but it will only be once the Zambian operation is bedded down — probably early next year,” he estimates.
“After Tanzania we will probably examine the possibility of opening up in Namibia, and then possibly in Botswana,” he says. “These are the other centres where we expect a resources boom in the near future.”
As another leg of its expansion initiative, Coffey Mining has also brought its newly-established subsidiary, Coffey Mine Development, into South Africa.
Specialists in engineering design and construction management, the company offers specialised project implementation services for the development of underground mining projects, directed mainly at the international mining sector with the aim of adding value to both existing and new projects.
“This will be achieved by providing a strong practical foundation and project co-ordinators and implementers with the highest levels of training and experience the industry has to offer,” says general manager Peter Naude. “The idea is create a speciality implementation group, as opposed to another consulting group,” he explains.
Although Naude will remain based in the company’s Australian office in Perth, it will also operate from offices in Johannesburg (for Africa) and Sofia (for Europe and Eastern Europe).
The mining related projects it will tackle include shaft-sinking, raise-drilling, decline development and the mining and support of large excavations such as underground hoist chambers, internal shaft headgears and loading pockets, crusher stations and ore storage silos.
“We are in the process of setting up our Johannesburg office, which will concentrate on Africa, but also handle export projects back into Australia and elsewhere,” Naude reveals. “From this engineering design office we will cover the full field – mechanical, electrical, structural and civil operations,” he adds. The office should be up and running as a comprehensive, stand-alone operation within four to six months.