Fraser Alexander established a hub in Zambia to facilitate growth further in the continent. Why did you choose Zambia?
Since the privatisation of the Zambian Mines in late 90s along with implementation of fiscal policies in 2004, Zambia has transformed the economic performance of the country. Located centrally within SADC, Zambia presents a perfectly central point for traversing within SADC countries, allowing for minimum cost of doing business by shortening travel distances within the region.
Under the Mines and Minerals Development Act 2008, the government has simplified licensing procedures, created a favourable investment environment and placed minimum constraints on doing business in the country.
As a result of these efforts, the mining sector of Zambia has experienced tremendous growth and investment. The mining industry of Zambia attracted investment of approximately USD 8 billion since 2000 employing 80,000 people in 2013. With economic growth, comes more investment and jobs, making the country more and more attractive to mining services companies such as Fraser Alexander.
Fraser Alexander has been operating in Zambia since 2008, through its wholly owned subsidiary Fraser Alexander Zambia (Pty) Ltd and has recently negotiated additional contracts for the operation, maintenance and risk management of tailings storage facilities (TSF’s) and hydraulic mining in the country. We see Zambia as a definite opportunity to expand our existing operations as well as to introduce our other service offerings which include, re-mining, materials handling, minerals processing, construction and engineered bulk earthworks, water treatment and mine closure and rehabilitation.
How do you envision the future of mining in Zambia?
With rapid economic growth and new mines developing in Zambia, there has been a significant increase in power demand in the past decade. This has resulted in power shortages which has negatively affected mining in the country and continues to threaten growth prospects of the mining sector.
Not only does the power issue affect growth prospects in the mining sector, it also affects prospects for the diversification of the sector into other commodities such as uranium. The country reportedly has large reserves of uranium that can be extracted economically to form an additional source of much needed revenue for the government and jobs.
Fraser Alexander is however very optimistic with regard the future of mining in Zambia, especially with respect to the re-mining and re-treatment of the hundreds of millions of tons of old copper/cobalt tailings in the country. Hydraulic mining and the construction and operations, maintenance and risk management of tailings facilities are a few of the specialist services offered by Fraser Alexander
Fraser Alexander is a big proponent for sustainable practices. Has this been challenging to implement in Zambia?
Fortunately, the Zambia Environmental Management Agency is one of the more progressive organisations of the state. Following the less than desirable practices of the past that has seen waste and tailings storage facilities left unattended, threatening the wellbeing of local communities and plants and animals, ZEMA now adopts progressive policies that seek to promote and enforce responsible mining, the kind that seeks to leave a future behind for generations to come.
Fraser Alexander encourages the implementation of global best practice with regard the operations, maintenance and risk management of tailings storage facilities.
Our current contracts in Zambia are quite labour intensive, which does allow us to implement our localisation policies with regard to the employment, training and enrichment of communities local to our operations.
Is Fraser Alexander’s vision still to be “the preferred outsourcing mining services partner in Africa” and how close are you to achieving this?
This, most definitely, still remains our corporate vision and I am glad to say that we pursue this vision with vigour on a daily basis.
The Fraser Alexander Zambia Hub continually promotes this vision by influencing views and thought leadership in the mining sector with regard to outsourcing, especially with respect to the construction, operations, maintenance and risk management of tailings storage facilities.
Following the recent tailings storage facility failures at Mount Polley in Canada and Samarco in Brazil and the continuing adoption, by mining companies, of global best practice standards we are noticing that more and more companies are realising that the requisite operations and risk management skills, know-how and focus lies with specialized outsourced contractors like Fraser Alexander.
We are certainly enroute to becoming the preferred outsourced mining services partner in Africa.
Are there any specific strategies that Fraser Alexander will be highlighting at ZIMEC 2017?
Yes. While we are a multi-pronged outsourcing mining services company, our primary aim at the ZIMEC 2017 Conference is to promote our expertise in the construction, operations, maintenance and risk management of tailings storage facilities (TSF’s), where our experience spans an impressive 104 years on 4 continents around the globe. We have earned our stripes in this space so our customers have reason to trust our abilities to deliver on all our projects.
We also aim to promote our unique expertise and capabilities with respect to hydraulic mining of old tailings facilities, capabilities that have seen us hydraulically re-mine over 104 million tons per annum around the globe, across many commodities.