06/02/2008 - 22:00

Mining African opportunities

06/02/2008 - 22:00

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More than 20 Western Australian companies involved in the mining and mineral services sectors will be participating in one of the world’s largest mining conferences this week.

More than 20 Western Australian companies involved in the mining and mineral services sectors will be participating in one of the world’s largest mining conferences this week.

The WA companies are among 36 Australian groups, with more than 400 delegates, participating at Mining Indaba 2008, being held in Cape Town, South Africa.

Indaba is specifically focused on investment in the African mining sector.

Perth-based mining services companies attending Indaba include: assay laboratory Genalysis Laboratory Services; engineering firm GRD Minproc; software developers Mircromine and Cube Consulting; mining consultants Snowden; and equipment and consumables supplier, ADG Global Supply.

In addition, more than a dozen Perth-based mining and exploration companies will attend the event.

West Perth-based Cube Consulting, formed in 2000 to provide software solutions to the Australian mining, oil and gas industries, has recently moved to establish operations in Johannesburg to service the African market.

Cube has experienced strong recent growth due to the success of its flagship product INX, an integrated workplace management system accessed via a web browser.

Managing director Tony Hampton said the African mining industry faced the same workforce management issues as Australia including rosters, travel, accommodation, compliance, and occupational health and safety issues. 

“The reason mining industries in Australia and Africa are so keen on implementing INX is that it is very good at managing remote and difficult workplaces in hazardous environments,” he said.

He added that Australia had a reputation as a leader in developing best practice methods and solutions for the mining industry.

“Australian businesses are well received in Africa once they demonstrate they can provide the same quality of service and support in Africa as Australia,” Mr Hampton said.

“Africa constitutes a large and diverse market, and establishing partnerships with individuals and organisations with strong local knowledge is a key to success.”

ADG Global Supply, established in Perth in 1994 to provide equipment and consumables to the mining, oil and gas industries, went to Africa in the late 1990s.

ADG’s chief executive officer, Andy Greathead, said the company would retain strong ties with Africa because a lot of support was required there.

“We went to Africa because we knew people needed our help,” Mr Greathead said.

“In the present climate there are many companies who simply can’t get the equipment, consumables and supplies they need in remote locations.”

Australian High Commissioner to South Africa, Philip Green, said trade with Africa had grown faster than Australia’s trade with any other continent, up by more than 10 per cent per year over the past five years.

“Australian mining and resources investment in Africa is estimated at around $US15 billion, with a large proportion of new ventures on the continent featuring Australian involvement,” he said.

Australia’s senior trade commissioner to South Africa, Johannesburg-based Greg Hull, said Australian mining expertise was making a substantial contribution to the development of Africa’s resource sector.

Austrade chief economist Tim Harcourt said the resources boom in Africa represented significant potential for Australian exporters in mining, mining-related technology, infrastructure development and skills formation.

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