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Secure supply and efficiency needed for Africa’s mining growth

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More exploration is necessary to meet the needs of a lower carbon global economy. In picture is TSX listed E-Tech Resources’ Eureka REE project in Namibia, a promising prospects in a growing exploration destination in Africa. Image credit: Leon Louw for WhyAfrica

Secure supply and efficiency needed for Africa’s mining growth

The pressure is building for the mining sector to re-set its production capability in the face of growing future demand – especially in those minerals critical to global decarbonisation trends. An important focus of this year’s Investing in African Mining Indaba will be on security and supply.

Decarbonisation will not only require more exploration and mine development in the long term, but it will demand more predictability and efficiency across the value chain.

According to Ralf Hennecke, Managing Director of Omnia Group company BME, 2023 will continue to bring challenges with regards to mining supply chains around the world. “These obstacles have their origins in the economic lockdowns during the Covid-19 pandemic but have been compounded by the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the related disruptions,” says Hennecke.

This has brought home the importance of secure supply chains in key inputs like explosives and blasting technology, on which mines rely to meet their daily output targets. PwC’s annual insight report SA Mine 2022 has also recently raised similar concerns about whether Africa’s resource-rich countries will benefit fully from mineral demand growth.

This will depend, argued PwC, on their ability to address bottlenecks in supply and mine-to-market infrastructure.

Dealing with supply chain disruptions (Secure supply and efficiency needed for Africa’s mining growth) 

“As BME, we are always dealing with supply chain disruptions – caused by a range of factors from weak infrastructure to border efficiency,” says Hennecke. “Our success in serving customers stems from ongoing investment in local infrastructure and skills, to strengthen local supply chains.”

Closer collaboration between mines and their supply partners was a key ingredient in building future stability in the sector, he adds. Beyond supply chain issues, the pursuit of efficiency in mining remains a vital theme.

This is because efficiency is directly relevant to energy saving efforts for decarbonisation, as well as for unlocking opportunities to gradually increase production levels.

“The digital age offers mining supply companies the ability to continuously develop our productive technologies,” says Hennecke. “In our field – blasting and explosives – we have seen the significant impact that our technological development can have on mine safety and productivity, for instance.”

Hennecke highlights that these efficiency improvements were important to the long-term sustainability of the sector – as they improved the commercial viability and longevity of every project.

Greenfield projects to produce key commodities are scarce, he pointed out, and minerals like nickel, copper, cobalt, and platinum group metals are likely to experience supply shortages if new projects are not initiated soon.

“It has become clear that more exploration, in battery minerals particularly, is going to be necessary to meet the needs of a lower carbon global economy,” he said. “Being a high-risk endeavour, exploration needs optimal levels of confidence from the investment sector – so every efficiency gain will help.”

Secure supply and efficiency needed for Africa’s mining growth 

WhyAfrica is one of the media partners at this year’s Investing in African Mining Indaba. Members of WhyAfrica enjoy a number of benefits and gets first hand exposure and up to date information about natural resources in Africa, including new mining projects.

 Membership is only a click away and you can now pay online at  https://www.whyafrica.co.za/product/membership/

WhyAfrica reports about, and publishes newsletters, magazines and research reports about natural resources and the primary sectors of African economies, and the infrastructure, equipment and engineering methods needed to extract and utilise these resources in an efficient, responsible, sustainable, ethic and environmentally friendly way, so that it will benefit the people of Africa.

Furthermore, WhyAfrica promotes Africa as an investment and travel destination, analyses the continent’s business environment and investment opportunities, and reports on how the political economies of African countries affect their development.         

WhyAfrica provides you with business intelligence that matters. Africa is our business, and we want it to be yours too. To subscribe to WhyAfrica’s free newsletter or digital magazine, and for more news on Africa, visit the website at www.whyafrica.co.za or send a direct message. WhyAfrica launched its first ever digital magazine in November 2021.

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