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MURRAY & ROBERTS CEMENTATION TRAINING ACADEMY TAKES SIMULATION TO THE NEXT LEVEL
Monday, 3 February 2014
Against a backdrop of waning investor appetite in the South African mining industry, Murray & Roberts Cementation has set its sights on realising the potential for growth it has identified in the greater African market. This focus has led to a formal African growth strategy that has already seen a pleasing growth in the company’s order book from African operations, which currently constitutes about 25% of its turnover.
“With the action in the mining industry moving north and the next ore bodies to be exploited located in other African countries, we initiated a study to evaluate the potential in these countries,” Chris Sheppard, managing director of Murray & Roberts Cementation, says. “This involved gaining an understanding of the risk, logistical constraints and potential clients in each country and has resulted in a hub-and-spoke strategy that we believe will steadily grow our business on the continent.
“In recent times we’ve established representative offices in Ghana to serve clients in West Africa and in Zambia as a central African base, as well as an office in Maputo, Mozambique in anticipation of significant infrastructure work expected to flow from the coal mining industry in the Tete province. It’s satisfying to see that we already have three major projects in Zambia, while we are actively seeking work in the DRC, having secured an in-country partner to identify potential underground mining projects. At the same time, we’re targeting prospects in Ghana and Mauritania.”
Sheppard adds that Murray & Roberts Cementation differentiates itself through its ability to enter into internal joint ventures with international sister companies in the Murray & Roberts Group, notably in Australia and Canada, to add real value to projects. For example, the company is poised to engage with a project in Mauritania in JV with Cementation Canada which, among other resources, has provided the necessary key personnel proficient in French.
“With the downturn in mining in Western Australia, the competition for African projects from Australia has increased, while China is also making its presence felt on the continent,” he continues. “With access to trackless mining expertise from our sister company in Australia, Murray & Roberts Cementation is, however, well able to compete by adding an Australian flavour to our African bids, while our competitive edge against the Chinese lies on the quality side of the equation. Access to our group’s Global Underground Mining Platform provides us with world leading shaft sinking skills out of Canada.
“We’re also differentiated by the Murray & Roberts Cementation Training Academy at Bentley Park, near Carletonville. This Mining Qualifications Authority-accredited facility is unique in the contracting space, giving our personnel the matchless opportunity to learn best practice mining and shaftsinking skills by working on full-scale mock-ups and simulators. They acquire these skills in a controlled environment free of noise, environmental hostility or the pressure of production targets.
“Ultimately, we’re offering clients in the greater African mining industry a full service offering, from cradle to grave,” Sheppard concludes. “We have the skills to partner with clients to do the necessary value engineering to extract the best possible value for a project and, when we execute our excellent training systems, safety programme and project management capabilities are guaranteed to achieve superior project delivery.”