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ACHIEVING

BUSINESS

EXCELLENCE

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BusinessExcellence Weekly

ISSUE No. 48 | www.bus-ex.com

ferroatlÀntica:

The metals

of energy The world leader in silicon metal and other diverse alloys

konkola copper mines:

PZS Stabilization -SNCA Products:

TCRA:


Included The BE Mining Directory showcases leading mining organisations from across the world, ranging from big corporations to junior mines and their supply chains. Be seen throughout our portfolio of magazines: •BE Mining Directory •BE Mining •BE Weekly •BE Monthly •

Go to page 98 to see this week’s listing To find out how to get involved contact: vincent@bus-ex.com


business excellence Design Matt Johnson Art Director mjohnson@bus-ex.com Louise Culling Production Designer lculling@bus-ex.com

business Richard Turner Director of sales rturner@bus-ex.com Vince Kielty Director of Editorial Research vkielty@bus-ex.com Sharon Rooke Administration & Operations srooke@bus-ex.com Matt Day Head of technology mday@bus-ex.com Andy Turner Chief Executive aturner@bus-ex.com

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info@bus-ex.com Infinity Business Media Ltd

Suite 22, St Francis House, Queens Road, Norwich, NR1 3PN

editorial Martin Ashcroft Editor In Chief

Martin has edited business magazines for 15 years and has been editor-in-chief since Business Excellence began in 2006. mashcroft@bus-ex.com

Will Daynes Editor

Will has been a business writer for three years. He joined the Business Excellence team in September 2012. wdaynes@bus-ex.com

John O’Hanlon Editor

John has contributed to Business Excellence since its inception: he joined the in-house editorial team in February 2013. johanlon@bus-ex.com

CONTRIBUTORS George F. Brown, Jr.

George is the CEO and cofounder of Blue Canyon Partners, Inc., a consulting firm working with leading companies on growth strategy.

Mark Forrest

Mark is general manager of Trimble’s Field Service Management Division, which provides visibility into field and fleet operations so businesses can streamline efficiency and increase productivity.

Tel: +44 (0) 203 137 7100 Fax: +44 (0) 1603 666466

www.bus-ex.com The content of this magazine is copyright of Infinity Business Media Ltd. Redistribution or reproduction of any content is prohibited. © Copyright 2013 Infinity Business Media Ltd.

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issue No.48

12

6 strategy

it’s been done before

How implementing lessons learnt from other business environments can enable your business to grow.

12 Customer service

What the future holds for the field service industry

Customer satisfaction is increasingly being seen as a top priority in the fight to attract and retain customers.

18 FerroAtlĂĄntica The metals of energy

Grupo FerroAtlĂĄntica combines bewildering diversity with simple principles, sticking firmly to its objective of remaining the world leader in silicon metal and other diverse alloys.

18 42

32 Venturex Resources CRITICAL MASS IN THE PILBARA

Perth-based Venturex Resources has a strategy to combine a number of copper-zinc deposits in the western Pilbara around a processing plant that will put the region on the map for more than just its iron ore.

42 Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) Delving deeper

As Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) embarks on its complex Konkola Deep Mining Project (KDMP) it has never been a more important time for the company to demonstrate its commitment to sustainable development.

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contents

58

50 Assmang: Khumani Mine Iron men

The Khumani Mine Expansion Project is taking one of Assmang’s most prized assets to a whole new level.

58 PZS Stabilization -SNCA Products Initiating a revolution

How SGA-1 is set to revolutionize the oil and gas industry’s hydraulic fracturing process.

66 Djibouti Telecom A gateway to the world

The progress Djibouti Telecom has made in becoming a telecommunications gateway to the rest of the world.

76 TCRA

THE POWER OF TEN

66 76

Having overseen revolutions in broadcasting, postal services and telecommunications, today’s revolution is a digital one.

90 East African Portland Cement Company (EAPCC) Building a brighter future

Having played its part in Kenya’s growth, learn what the future holds for both the company and the country.

BE Directory 98 MINERP

ground breaking technology

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It’s Been Done How implementing lessons learnt from other business environments can enable your business to grow

written by: George F. Brown, Jr.

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strategy

e Before

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strategy

J

ust over two decades ago, I had the privilege of working with Jack Grayson, then Chairman of the American Productivity and Quality Center, on an initiative that resulted in the founding of the International Benchmarking Clearinghouse. One of the many things I learned from working with Jack on this subject was summed up in a statement that “Most business problems are only new to the individual facing them”. The wisdom of that statement became clear as the team working to establish the clearinghouse shared example after example of the excitement that came from finding some other firm that had solved a problem that was a dark cloud over the firm then experiencing it. By now, my guess is that just about every firm can cite a success story built upon the insights that came from a benchmarking process.

One arena in which firms should consider learning “lessons from other environments” involves the initiatives to implement new business models within their companies. Such initiatives are increasingly frequent, reflecting strategies to solve problems of growth or profitability and to react to changes associated with competition, regulation, customer priorities, and new technologies. In recent months, I’ve had the opportunity to work with companies that have identified necessary changes along multiple dimensions – developing new products to meet the needs and price points of mid-market customers in global markets; creating information-rich smart products that yield significant cost savings for their customers, evolving from selling a product to selling a solution, responding to the economic requirements for sustainable operations,

and many others. Each of these strategic directions has posed the requirement for one or more fundamental changes to their business models. Not surprisingly, the leadership teams involved with those decisions saw the potential that things might go badly and that Murphy’s Law might make an appearance in their firm. My semicomforting advice to each of them has been to say “Don’t worry. It’s been done before”. The advice is good, but only serves as a starting point for actions designed to increase the probability of success of the planned changes. There are several immediate challenges that must be addressed. The first is finding where those previous success stories exist, the examples and experiences from which insights can be gained. The natural tendency to see what your usual suspect competitors are doing is the wrong one. First, it your initiative is

“Most business problems are only new to the individual facing them” Be weekly | 9


truly an innovation, your firm will be in front of the competition, and they will have little to teach you. Second, in those cases where some competitor has stolen the march, learning from them, even if that is possible, only offers the potential to help you catch up, while the most valuable learning is that which will allow you to get ahead. In fact, all of my strongest examples of highvalue lessons from other environments involve cases in which the industry from which the learning emerged was truly different from the firm that gained the insights – a health care firm that learned from the logistics industry, a laboratory instruments company that learned from a building systems company. So cast your net broadly and creatively in the search for lessons from other environments. The second challenge is that of separating insights relevant to strateg y from insights relevant to successful execution. Among the top reasons for disappointment in the results from attempts to change a firm’s business model is “the

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strategy

“Lessons from other environments can be valuable sources of insight as to how to get to the goal line and how to avoid the obstacles hidden along the path” implementation process was poorly managed”. Sometimes that reflects bad decisions in terms of the composition of the team or the budget or the timeline. But often it reflects the fact that changes to the business model require knowledge and competencies that are not available in the corporation. Experts in managing factories that produce to stock are often challenged to duplicate that success in a production to order environment. Sk illed manufacturing organizations often fail at service delivery. Suppliers to large enterprise customers

often fail to succeed in the small business market segments. Companies that are roaring successes in their home market often fail badly in other global settings. And often, it’s not because the strategy or concept or product was wrong. Rather it’s because there was a lack of understanding as to how to implement the idea, a failure to understand what was required for success under the new business model. Lessons from other environments can be valuable sources of insight as to how to get to the goal line and about how to

George F. Brown, Jr. is the CEO and cofounder of Blue Canyon Partners, Inc., a consulting firm working with leading companies on growth strategy. Along with Atlee Valentine Pope, he is the author of CoDestiny: Overcome Your Growth Challenges by Helping Your Customers Overcome Theirs, published by Greenleaf Book Group Press of Austin, TX. He

avoid the obstacles hidden along the path. For many of your most pressing challenges, it’s good to remember that more likely than not, it’s been done before. Use that inspiration to search out disparate sources of knowledge and focus your efforts on learning the things you don’t know that can hurt you. Lessons from other environments can enable you to move forward to implement the strategies you’ve developed to drive growth and profitability and to respond to the changes and challenges facing your firm.

has published frequently on topics relating to growth strategy in business markets, including articles in Industry Week, Industrial Distribution, Chief Executive, Business Excellence, Employment Relations Today, iP Frontline, Industrial Engineer, Industry Today, and many others. www.bluecanyonpartners.com

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What the futu the field serv

Customer satisfaction is incr priority in the fight to attr

written by: Ma

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Customer service

ure holds for vice industry

reasingly being seen as a top ract and retain customers

Mark Forrest

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A

s field service organisations review their priorities, it’s important to note what factors are driving them. Budgets? Productivity? Efficiency? All of these play a role in some capacity but when it comes to key strategies, there are several that come up time and time again. Good customer service drives profitability Field service organisations are recognising the importance of delivering a greater customer experience to be successful. Happy customers are loyal customers and critical to improving revenue streams, both through their spending as well as referrals. At Aberdeen’s 2012 Chief Service Officer (CSO) Summit, 85 percent of attendees said that their organisation was placing an increased importance on service, given the constraints of the economy and the competitive marketplace. In addition, the delivery of excellent customer experience was spreading across the entire organisation, by focusing on increased value for the customer, which

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in turn improves results for the business. Aberdeen also found that ‘best-in-class’ organisations have reduced churn and achieved a 92 percent level of customer retention, as opposed to 72 percent for all others. The strategic importance of field service delivery as a driver of customer satisfaction and brand reputation was confirmed in Trimble’s latest research report, The Road Ahead The Future of Field Service Delivery. Of the field service departments sur veyed, 90 percent of companies see field-based staff as the face of the company and 68 percent consider customer satisfaction a top priority. Safety is a key priority Vehicles driven for work purposes are clocking up the highest mileage on Britain’s

85% Attendees of Aberdeen’s 2012 summit who are placing an increased importance on service

roads. A recent survey into the Fleet200, the UK’s 200 biggest fleets, revealed an average 35 percent accident rate, suggesting the need to mitigate road risk is of the utmost importance. Because of this acceleration in road accidents, field service organisations are becoming increasingly aware of their legal responsibilities when it comes to employees driving a vehicle for business. Businesses are looking for ways to safeguard their fleets, both to minimise insurance claims and to reduce the number of driving incidents. The result is an increase in next-generation technology solutions to help mitigate road risk. These solutions include in-vehicle safety devices that monitor driving behaviour as well as maintenance and diagnostics reports to ensure vehicles are safe and “roadready.” The best solutions also include exception alerts that warn of hazards or out-ofcompliance issues, including lapsed certifications. Technology will streamline fuel costs The volatile cost of fuel has caused a headache across


Customer service


“Field-based employees are now being rightly recognised as the new frontline in customer service” many businesses and this isn’t likely to subside soon. In fact, rising fuel prices were cited as the number one concern in meeting field service priorities, according to the Road Ahead report. Regulating fuel consumption has been an on-going challenge for fleet managers trying to maintain control of operating budgets. Re-evaluating the types of vehicles in their fleets as well as initiating programs to raise awareness of excessive idling will help remedy the problem, but savvy businesses will also harness technology that monitors and identifies excessive waste in fleets to encourage fuelsaving strategies. In addition to streamlining fuel costs, businesses can seek “connected-vehicle” technology (i.e. GPS based fleet management devices, workforce management/ dispatch and routing software

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and driver-monitoring devices) to regulate and enhance efficiencies and improve per for mance management across the entire organisation, which ultimately improves the bottom line. Technicians will take on a lead role Field-based employees, whose potential as brand ambassadors had gone largely unnoticed, are now being rightly recognised as the new frontline in customer service. The Road Ahead report found that nearly all (93%) of respondents agreed that mobile workers are the ‘company face’ and an additional 89 percent consider field staff to be important for the image of the business. Two thirds agreed mobile workforces must be made aware of company campaigns and values if they are to

reflect a positive corporate brand out in the field. Nearly half of those surveyed hold regular customer service training sessions and a further 31 percent meet frequently to discuss how to interact with clients. So it is not surprising that there has been an increase in technicians undergoing training to promote the brand and helping to drive revenue by finding opportunities to cross sell and up-sell products and enhance service to increase c ustomer sat isfac t ion (and retention). Aberdeen’s Field Service 2012 report revealed that 26 percent of visits require a secondary or additional follow up, so it is very important that technicians get it right the first time to ensure customer satisfaction. Companies that empower their workers with better information and tools will resolve customer issues


Customer service faster and more effectively. By investing in appropriate technology and improving worker training, businesses will not only retain customers (and good workers), they will develop brand agents who are more knowledgeable and better equipped to do their jobs efficiently and productively. The importance of the cloud Many field service businesses are starting to lean towards cloud computing as a way of helping remote workers stay connected to company data and applications from anywhere at any time. The ‘software as a service’ (SaaS) form of cloud computing is well suited to organisations with field based operations. SaaS cloud-based applications can offer visibility into day-to-day fleet operations to identify, manage, and improve areas such as driver safety, customer service, back office administration, fuel use, and fleet efficiency. Businesses are able to access their account and information at any time from any computer and manage

the mobile workforce in real time. Benefits of increased productivity of up to 30 percent, dispatch efficiency up to 60 percent and a reduction in overtime expenses of up to 70 percent have been recorded. Information is key, not data It is important to note that the data collected through f leet and field service technologies can only be

of value if it’s turned into meaningful information and the analysis is provided to the right stakeholders, who can then analyse and use it to impact areas of the business most in need of support. Decision makers are suffering from data overload in their attempts to operate the most efficient workforces and fleets on the road. What they need are high level trends and benchmarking, not a mass of information. Analytical tools allow companies not only to extract rich, meaningful data from their various solutions, but also ensure that key stakeholders get that information in salient, relevant reports and snapshots. These give an instant, clear picture of business performance whether that’s for operations, finance, customer service, HR or the CEO.

Mark Forrest is general manager of Trimble’s Field Service Management Division, which provides visibility into field and fleet operations so businesses can streamline efficiency and increase productivity. www.trimble.com/fsm

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The metals of energy Grupo FerroAtlĂĄntica combines bewildering diversity with simple principles, sticking firmly to its objective of remaining the world leader in silicon metal and other diverse alloys, developing downstream technologies for the energy industry

written by: John O’Hanlon research by: Louisa Adcock

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FerroAtlรกntica

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The Nuevo Pindo hydroelectric plant


FerroAtlántica

T

he Spanish industrial minerals group FerroAtlántica dates back to 1992, when Juan-Miguel Villar Mir acquired the Ferroalloys Division of Carburos Metálicos. He added a number of businesses, till in 2007 the business had arrived at a critical mass that enabled itself to launch itself as today’s Grupo FerroAtlántica: since then it has continued to grow through acquisition within the silicon and ferroalloys sector, but also setting up a number of new businesses around the world, as dictated by the growing market in these commodities. Today it employs 3,000 people in five countries and four continents. Starting with four factories in Spain in 1992, it now operates fifteen factories in Spain, France, South Africa, Venezuela and China, and produces over 1 million tons of a diversified array of alloys. The parent group (Grupo Villar Mir), says Chairman Juan-Miguel Villar Mir, has the unusual distinction of being made up from companies that were in difficulties, were turned around and are now thriving – it is now the 14th largest Spanish corporation. A former Finance Minister, he was ennobled by the King of Spain in 2011 and in recognition of the work the group has done in France he was awarded France’s highest honour when he was installed Chevalier de la Légion d’honneur in 2010. Grupo FerroAtlántica itself, having grown in this manner, says Group Chairman and CEO Pedro Larrea, has also proved the success of the model, demonstrated by a turnover of more than €1.1 billion in 2012. Following a

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YO U R LO N G T E R M PA RT N E R F O R LOW A S H C OA L!

Enerco BV – Keerweg 2 – 6122 CL Buchten – The Netherlands T: +31 464 819 900 – F: +31 464 859 211 – E: info@enerco.nl - www.enerco.nl

Rheinfelden Carbon is proud to be a strategic supplier to Ferroatlantica


FerroAtlántica difficult trading period, the enerco strategy will be continued. Based in Born, The Netherlands, ENERCO has been a long“Our strategy continues term partner of FerroAtlantica for many years and is the to be based on ensuring leading producer of high quality, low ash coal world-wide for operational excellence, more than two decades. ENERCO produces in cooperation maintaining a portfolio with its customers tailor-made coal products in its modern of worldwide growth processing facilities in Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Born, and prepares grades with precise sizing and ash content to projects and promoting meet their specific requirements. Comprehensive research technological innovation to and development programs led to patents and the design of be able to maximise profits flexible and efficient coal upgrading processes which allow when recovery comes, just-in-time delivery all over the world. ENERCO offers which we hope will happen customer-oriented services from procurement to shipment, throughout 2013. In a market from coal upgrading to marketing. environment that we hope www.enerco.nl will improve this year, and especially from the start of 2014, we will continue to look for sites for future factories, as well as launching and driving new product sales management, and improving our competitiveness.” The competitive scenario is an increasingly demanding one, he points out, in a market driven by demand for efficient energy production. “To maintain our current market position, we will need to be able to incorporate a new production plant every two or three years. Given that we are talking about completely globalised markets, we look for the most efficient location with regards to the cost of energy, raw materials and transport, and we are confident of providing our technological and operational capacity to make them the most efficient in the world. Without being too specific, I can say that we are at an advanced stage in developing new projects on five continents.” At the same time, he adds, FerroAtlántica is keeping a close Group Chairman and CEO Pedro Larrea watch on mineral exploration developments

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€1.1 Billion+ 2012 group turnover

The Monzón factory in Spain

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with a view to improving the supply of raw materials – and will also consider entering the electricity generation market. When asked about the challenges silicon technology faces from advanced plastics and other materials, he is quick to point out that silicon remains the key material for new technologies. FerroAtlántica’s Elsa electrode, which offers significant energy savings and avoids contamination with iron, has been sold to the world’s main silicon metal producers and is used in the manufacture of 30 percent of all silicon metal produced today in the western world. “We also have proprietary technology to manufacture cheaper and cleaner photovoltaic quality silicon metal more efficiently,” he enthuses, drawing attention to the market fundamentals: demand from photovoltaic cell manufactures for this material is still surging at an annual rate of 20-25 percent. And nobody can trump the achievement of the group’s technology in developing a low cost way to produce silicon at 99.9999 percent purity! FerroSolar is the name of this technology: solar grade silicon has hitherto been produced by expensive chemical processes which only yield small quantities – so the main bottleneck in making solar energy feasible has been producing enough solar grade


FerroAtlántica

The Serrabal quartz mine

silicon. “It’s 100 percent our own technology and will allow us to considerably reduce the cost, energy consumption and environmental impact, while greatly increasing production capacity,” Larrea predicts. One of the most recent additions to the FerroAtlántica family, the largest quartz mine in South Africa with an annual production capacity of 1.3 million tonnes and reserves of 60 million tonnes, was acquired in July 2012 for €25.7 million. SamQuartz, founded in 1955 and now the largest producer of high quality silica in South Africa, is of

vital strategic importance for the group says Larrea. The mine is the biggest quartz mine in South Africa and one of the biggest in the world. “With its purchase we have achieved vertical integration of our industrial assets in South Africa and at the same time guaranteed silicon metal production of the highest purity as well as special ferroalloys for a period of no less than forty years. The South Africa operations managed by wholly owned subsidiary Silicon Smelters include the arc furnaces of Polokwane Smelters and Rand Carbide, the mining operations

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of Thaba Chueu Mining (TCM) including SamQuarz, and 9,584 hectares of sustainable tree farms that provide the smelters with charcoal. South Africa’s economy is badly in need of investment to develop its mineral resources, says Jan Coetzee, Marketing and Commercial manager for Silicon Smelters. “All the investments by FerroAtlántica have supported production of value added products from domestic resources. We employ over

1,000 people directly but to that you can add a further 6,000 indirect jobs. We have calculated that the economic benefit from our operations extends to more than 30,000 people across South Africa.” The benefit of having multiple local and global facilities is that knowledge and best practices can be shared, says Coetzee. Silicon Smelters is a South African company, but is fully integrated into the FerroAtlántica group.

“The group has transferred world class business principles and skills to its employees in South Africa”

Working at the Monzón facility in Spain

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FerroAtlántica

Worker at the Rand Carbide factory in South Africa

“Activities like marketing, sourcing, financing and benchmarking are done at an international level, and the domestic operations reap the benefit from these activities. The group has transferred world class business principles and skills to its employees in South Africa.” Needless to say the most active silicon market in the world is China. FerroAtlántica entered this market in 2008 with a JV that created the Ganzi project in Tibet, which is constructing the world’s largest silicon metal factory. In addition to this project, in 2010, it acquired the Mangshi Sinice Silicon Industry Company Limited in Yunnan province, out of administration. The plant was a new one, completed in 2008, but had never run at capacity. Following FerroAtlántica’s purchase of the factory in November 2010, a two-year

investment program of close to €25 million was launched aiming at upgrading the plant, including the introduction of FerroAtlántica proprietary electrode technology and the increase of the nominal capacity of each furnace to 23/24 MW as well as bringing all plant operations to compliance in every respect (health and safety, environmental and technological standards). The plant restarted operations on schedule in May 2011 and has, according to finance manager Junhua Shen been performing as efficiently as any in the group. Like the South African operation, it will be developing sustainable forestry to feed the furnaces, additionally acquiring land to allow expansion – this factory alone will provide 250 jobs, he says. “With the nearest high school 650

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“It is quite difficult to attract young educated people in remote areas like Mangshi but they are attracted by the training opportunities we offer�

The Clavaux facility in France

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FerroAtlántica kilometres away in Kunming it is quite difficult to attract young educated people in remote areas like Mangshi but they are attracted by the training opportunities we offer.” In 2011 when the plant started up, 15 technicians came over from Europe for six months to train local employees. Unlike the western silicon market, Junhua Shen points out, the Chinese market consists of more than a hundred producers, and hundreds of agents/traders, creating a great deal of competition. The Chinese market accounts for around half of all global production of silicon, and China’s strategy is to control 50 percent of this supply within its borders – being an indigenous player is not an option for the number one global producer. Mangshi, a spanking new operation, contrasts with the oldest in the group, acquired in 2005 when their subsidiary FerroAtlántica acquired the French company Pechiney Electrométallurgie, now Ferropem. The Montricher plant in south-western France was established in 1914 and has been specialising in the production of Silicon Metal through carbothermal reduction of quartz since 1984. The arrival of FerroAtlántica led to a complete revival of its industrial activities says plant director Francis Rateau: “Grupo FerroAtlántica gave us a very clear directions

Silicomanganese

and objectives, which motivated everyone to improve our plant’s performance.” Through investment, process optimisation, employee empowerment, quick decision making all contributed to the turnaround, he says. Among the improvements seen as a result of more than €10 million invested in this specific plant were an increase in production capacity through upgrading the furnaces, better raw materials handling in a new input facility close to the rail link and reduced emissions through the installation of a new baghouse. Montricher is a reminder that the hub of FerroAtlántica’s activities lies in Europe, serving European customers. “However our two South African plants serve the Americas and Asia. Furthermore, our Chinese plant gives us great strength in China and reasserts

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The Monz贸n factory in Spain has two Silicomanganese furnaces and two Ferromanganese furnaces


FerroAtlántica our position as the world leader in silicon production”, asserts Rateau with pride. He places his finger on one of the most intractable facts relating to the electrometallurgical industry – that it is highly energy intensive and still relies on competitive energy prices. “The main challenge is to produce silicon with a positive net energy balance. We consume significant amounts of electricity to produce silicon from quartz extracted from the earth. Our goal is that silicon will ultimately generate a lot more energy than the amount required to produce it initially.” Nevertheless, faced with an adverse economic situation in the industry and electrometallurgy in particular, a fall in global demand, the pressure of competition or the high cost of electricity, FerroAtlántica Group has done its homework, says Pedro Larrea. “We have diversified our production, we have invested in our own technology and we continue to invest in international expansion whilst maintaining a 100 percent Spanish identity. We are confident we can continue along our path of growth, diversification and development, we aim to consolidate our global leadership position and continue improving the service we provide to our customers. We are also committed to the professional and personal development of all our employees – and with the rooting of our activities in the social, economic and industrial environment in which they work.” For more information about FerroAtlántica visit: www.ferroatlantica.es

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CRI

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Venturex Resources

ITICAL MASS IN THE PILBARA Perth-based Venturex Resources has a strategy to combine a number of copperzinc deposits in the western Pilbara around a processing plant that will put the region on the map for more than just its iron ore

written by: John O’Hanlon research by: David Brogan

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Serra Verde doca vein


Venturex Resources

W

estern Australia’s Pilbara region is best known today as one of the world’s biggest sources of iron ore and manganese – principally the former. These minerals are shipped out of Port Hedland to the hungry markets of north Asia and India, where demand for steel seems insatiable and likely to hold up for a good many years to come. In 2012, out of a total of 245 million tonnes of every kind of cargo that was exported through Hedland, 97 percent was accounted for by iron ore, 0.8 percent by manganese. Seen from the air, the Pilbara is one mass of red earth – iron is not hard to find. The Pilbara does contain significant quantities of other minerals but one could excuse people getting the idea they don’t amount to much. That being the case it was far-sighted on the part of Venturex Resources and its antecedents to turn their attention to the copper and zinc rich volcanogenic massive sulphide ore bodies that occur across the Pilbara. The geology was known about, but problematic, explains Michael Mulroney, who was appointed Managing Director in February 2012. “These deposits tend to occur in clusters of between five and eight, grouped around ancient volcanic centres. They were laid down billions of years ago, but they are directly analog0us with the hydrothermal vents or ‘black smokers’ that have been found on the modern deep ocean bed.” The difficulty was that none of these deposits on its own would be commercially viable. The company’s strategy, since it established

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Venturex Resources in 2009 that its Evelyn deposit within its Liberty-Indee site had considerably greater potential than originally thought, has been to consolidate as many as possible of these deposits. Only 30 kilometres to the north, the Whim Creek deposits became available and were acquired by Venturex in 2010. “At about the same time,” says Mulroney, “we became aware that CBH Resources’ Sulphur Springs asset 190 kilometres to the east of Whim Creek might also be about to become available.” It took nearly a year, he says, to complete the acquisition of Sulphur Springs, but from then on the company had the critical mass it needed to launch a feasibility study. The result of the definitive feasibility study (DFS) was announced in December 2012 confirming very positive results on the entire copper/ zinc Pilbara operation, which it estimated would yield an average of 16,500 tonnes per annum (tpa) of copper, 30,000 tpa of zinc and 200,000 ounces of silver a year over at least 8.5 years. “This defines the Pilbara project as one of the larger emerging base and precious metals projects in Australia,” the DFS states. With around 84 percent of the ore considered in the study coming from Sulphur Springs, this is where the company plans to locate its brand new processing plant. The ore will come initially from a new underground mine at Sulphur Springs – but the beauty

“We are looking at adopting a ‘Kambalda’ strategy!”

of the project is that the plant, which will produce a copper concentrate and a zinc concentrate, will have plenty of capacity to process open pit mined ore from Whim Creek and Liberty-Indee too. The upside of all of these resources is considerable, says Mulroney. “We have identified just two deposits at Sulphur Springs, so we think there is a lot more potential there. We know of three at Whim Creek, which is a similar terrain but a bit younger, and the indications are that there could be several more based on the cluster model.” The Liberty-Indee deposit to the south is a

Sulphur Springs underground mine design

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brand new discovery, he adds. A lot of work is going into learning all about it but it appears to be a similar type of ore body and with that comes the expectation that there will be more to find there too. These assets on their own give the project the critical mass to justify development. However the opportunity does not stop there. The Pilbara offers other opportunities and from the advantage it has as the first mover here Venturex’s facility could well become a processing hub that will attract similar material mined by others. “It’s a model that worked well for WMC at Kambalda when they focused on their processing hub processing all the smaller mines’ material at a central point. We are looking at adopting a similar ‘Kambalda’ strategy!” The infrastructure favours that model too, he adds, with excellent roads leading to Port Hedland, the main export port for BHP Billiton and other iron ore and manganese production companies. With the DFS under its belt Venturex is in great shape for its next phase – discussions with financing institutions and potential offtake partners, who may themselves wish to put capital into the project. “At the same time we are working on continually optimising the project as it was defined in the DFS – there are still a number of areas we think we can make improvements.” Additional drilling

is due to start at three of the resources not included in the DFS – Kangaroo Caves near to Sulphur Springs and two identified deposits in the Whim Creek area. The permitting process has commenced and the indications are that this could be completed within six months. Mike Mulroney would like to have his financing well advanced by then, though he is realistic about the difficulty of attracting investors to an untried asset in what is perceived as a relatively

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Venturex Resources

high cost area. On top of mines are projected to close in 2014 and 2015 so zinc that the Australian dollar supply could be constrained is inconveniently strong for resulting in a lift in prices anyone hoping to export. with major implications for Nevertheless the Venturex Mine life of Pilbara our project.” proposal is compelling: project ‘conventional’ investors such Once permits and finance have been obtained, the as banks have shown a good way ahead becomes clearer. deal of interest, he says, and he thinks less conventional sources such as Developing the new underground mine from mezzanine finance, quasi-equity and offtake scratch, and building the processing plant, can partners may well provide a level of second be done in 20 months, which translates into first shipment in the second quarter of 2015. tier support. On the one hand, he points out, potential Positive relations with the traditional land investors are being asked to take a view on owners have been established, and the mine the copper and zinc markets ten years out. has been meticulously designed to minimise its On the other, the long view of both copper footprint both visually and environmentally. and zinc is bullish. “A number of large zinc The core source of material will be the Sulphur

8.5years

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“A number of large zinc mines are projected to close in 2014 and 2015 so zinc supply could be constrained resulting in a lift in prices” Springs mine, supplemented as time goes on by open pit material from Whim Creek. “The plant is currently scaled at around 1 million tpa, which gives us the 8.5 years mine life mentioned in the DFS,” says Mulroney, “but we are considering the possibility of scaling that up to 1.2 or even 1.5 million tpa.”

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For the moment all attention is on the Pilbara, but there’s another string to the Venturex bow which might yet provide almost as much excitement. The Tapajós region of Brazil’s Pará State has given up anything from 16 to 30 million ounces of gold over the last 20 years, mainly from garimpeiro,


Venturex Resources

Whim Creek exploration

or artisan mining. It’s known to be extremely well endowed with gold but it has only been in the last few years that modern exploration methods started to be applied. Venturex has quietly established itself in this area, with five assets covering 200,000 hectares not to mention another four projects in Mato Grosso State. “We think there are large scale gold deposits to be found there.” Mulroney suggests. “We did a drilling programme at a project called Nova Canaã late last year and got some very good drill results.” This was very much an initial foray, but follow up work will continue once the rains

abate, as well as at Serra Verde to the north. At this stage it’s impossible to predict whether Venturex will hang onto its Brazil gold projects, or simply add value before disposing of them. Whichever happens, the more mundane minerals of the Western Australian Pilbara look like establishing Venturex Resources as an important player in the relentless East Asian industrial revolution. For more information about Venturex Resources visit: www.venturexresources.com

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Konkola Copper Mines (KCM)

Delving

deeper

As Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) embarks on its complex Konkola Deep Mining Project (KDMP) it has never been a more important time for the company to demonstrate its commitment to sustainable development

written by: Will Daynes research by: Richard Halfhide

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The mine entrance


Konkola Copper Mines (KCM)

S

ince the early 1930s the mining Corporation and Roan Selection Trust, the industry has been the economic mines were nationalised in the early 1970s and social backbone of Zambia. with their ownership restricted several In the decades since the country’s times before Zambia became a multi-party economy has been heavily reliant state in 1991. on the mining of copper and cobalt. Today By March 2000 the privatisation the country is internationally recognised as programme of the largest mining assets was a premier producer of these products, and completed, with Anglo American reacquiring a is ranked as the world’s seventh largest 51 percent stake in Konkola Copper Mines producer of copper, generating 3.3 percent which comprised mining operations in of the western world’s total production. Chingola and Konkola, and smelting and Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) is a major refining operations at Nkana. It was in integrated copper producer in Zambia, November 2004 that Vedanta Resources primarily engaged in the exploration for, become KCM’s majority shareholder, increasing its holding to 79.4 mining, production and percent in 2008. Since its sale of copper and copper original acquisition Vedanta by-products. A subsidiary has invested over $2.5 billion of Vedanta Resources, a to upgrade equipment, build London-listed diversified FTSE 100 metals and mining new facilities and expand Of the western world’s group with operations in capacity. The investments total copper production India, Australia, South have increased reserves & originates in Zambia resources and increased the Africa, Namibia, Zambia & Ireland, KCM’s primary aim life of the mines. is to establish itself as an over 400,000 tonnes KCM operates two mines at Nchanga, per annum finished copper producer and comprising an underground mine and four among the top biggest copper mining open pits, the Nchanga Smelter, Konkola companies in the world. Mine, Nkana Refinery and the Nampundwe KCM’s fully integrated copper operations pyrite mine. KCM’s operations are primarily include a number of open pit mines, a large classified into the four categories of mining underground mine, leaching plant, a state process plants, marketing, human resources of the art new flash smelter, modernised and logistics. The process plants process concentrators, a modernised refinery and a raw ore into high grade copper, while the sulphuric acid plant. company’s dedicated marketing team is One of the company’s most significant tasked with the selling of KCM’s products to advantages is its location within one of various clients in Africa and other continents. From a human resources perspective the highest-grade copper seams in the world. Initially owned by Anglo American KCM holds the distinction of being Zambia’s

3.3%

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“TRIDENT S.A. - INTERNATIONAL ORIGINAL EQUIPMENT MANUFACTURER”

TRIDENT S.A. Trident South Africa is the OEM manufacturer of the Goodman Locomotive, Eimco Rockershovel and Trident Winches. The Trident product ranges are backed up by comprehensive parts supply, technical service, reconditioning and research and development. Tridents exacting standards ensure quality and ensure long equipment life.

+27 11 902 6735 | info@tridentsa.co.za | www.tridentsa.co.za

NEW PRECIOUS RESOURCE DISCOVERED

Click here to visit our dedicated homepage for the mining community www.bus-ex.com/mining BEST PRACTICE IN MINING


Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) largest private sector employer with nearly 22,000 KDMP has been a key installation for Trident with the permanent and contractor purchase of 16 20ton “Big Mamma� locomotives; this is employees, meanwhile, with Africa’s single largest installation of large Battery and Zambia being a land-locked Electric Locomotives. Key to the success of this project was country, logistics plays a Tridents team of dedicated industry professionals and the hugely important role in the management team at KDMP namely Praveen Sharma and Barry Hodgekinson, who together had the vision and the transportation of finished tenacity to make this project a success. products to Johannesburg and Trident SA provides technical, parts and reconditioning Cape Town in South Africa. support to 180 locomotives in the Zambian market and From here the products besides Locomotives also sells a range of Rockershovels are then sent to their (Eimco and Atlas Copco) and Trident Winches. respective destinations. www.tridentsa.co.za In recent years KCM has invested heavily in establishing state-of-the-art mining operations across its mines and in key projects that are designed to extend the life of its assets and increase overall copper production. One of its largest and most important undertakings currently on-going is the Konkola Deep Mining Project (KDMP). This involves expanding the production of copper ore at the Konkola mine from two million tonnes per annum to 7.5 million tonnes per annum by accessing the rich ore body that lies beneath what the current operations are exploiting. In order to achieve this the company is in the process of sinking a new mine shaft to the depth of

Trident SA

22,000 Number of permanent and contractor employees working for KCM

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approximately 1,500 metres, making it the deepest new shaft sinking project occurring on the continent. In addition to this the project involves the deepening of existing shafts, the sinking of three new ventilation shafts, one new dewatering shaft and the construction of a new pump chamber. Phase one of the project has been successfully launched, with midshaft loading currently underway. Alongside the KDMP, a modern concentrator is being built to handle the additional ore that will be produced at Konkola. The Company believes the KDMP represents the largest investment by a Zambian mining company in a shaft-sinking operation since the late 1950s and expects it to bring significant short and long-term benefits to the Zambian economy. The KDMP also includes the commissioning of a six metric tonnes per annum concentrator at Konkola to enhance mining output, improve recovery and improve the concentrate grade of its copper. While the term “sustainable development” is very much a buzz-phrase throughout the mining industry these days, it is something that KCM takes extremely seriously when it comes to all of its operations, including the KDMP. As part of its corporate social responsibility programme it aims to give

back and support the community in which its mines and process plants operate. Among its chief activities KCM is working to rebuild the lives of KCM employees by providing them with alternative employment opportunities, educating the children of KCM employees in its own schools, providing medical care in purpose built clinics and hospitals, and raising public awareness of malaria and AIDS.

“KCM’s primary aim is to establish itself as being among the top biggest copper mining companies in the world” 48 | be weekly


Konkola Copper Mines (KCM)

Overview of the plant site

As part of its safety, health and environment programme KCM enacts the highest of safety measures and regulations in each of its mines and process plants. Each and every one of its employees is provided with regular training, which helps them to work efficiently while minimising risk. Regular audits are conducted to ensure that all safety measures are being complied with, while regular health check-ups are conducted and medical treatment is able to be provided to employees who fall ill. KCM has also made concerted efforts to ensure that its processes are fine-tuned to ensure minimal environmental pollution is emitted. The company plants saplings to create fruit orchards to maintain the greenery

and protect the ecological balance and water conservation is also an important issue that KCM highlights through awareness programs. When one couples the extensive work being undertaken to improve its existing mine operations, thus inevitably creating more jobs and contributing more to Zambia’s economic growth, and the work it is doing to achieve sustainable development, it is clear that KCM is doing everything in its power to make the future bright for itself and the communities around which it operates. For more information about Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) visit: www.kcm.co.zm

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Assmang: Khumani Mine

Iron men The on-going Khumani Mine Expansion Project is taking one of Assmang’s most prized assets to a whole new level of iron ore production

written by: Will Daynes research by: Richard Halfhide

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Assmang: Khumani Mine

O

riginally known as The Machadodorp ferrochrome works both in the Associated Manganese Mines Mpumalanga Province, while its iron ore is of South Africa Limited, made up of the high grade Khumani Mine Assmang as it exists today and the Beeshoek Mine both situated in the bears very little resemblance Northern Cape Province, around the towns to the fledgling company that started work on of Kathu and Postmasburg. the Northern Cape’s manganese fields in 1935. While Assmang is very much a medium Today, the three operating divisions benefit sized player within the global market it is a from the modern mining infrastructure and very important one, particularly as it holds technologies, while Assmang’s “we do it the distinction of being South Africa’s second better” philosophy has helped to ensure low largest iron ore producer. Nevertheless the domestic market takes only a small proportion operating costs and high employee buy-in. of its output, with 40 percent The company has retained its flexibility, developed of what it exports annually over decades of hardship in through the port of Saldanha difficult operating conditions, shipped to China, with Korea, which is helping Assmang Japan and Europe sharing the remainder. to enter a new phase in The Khumani iron ore its challenging but often mine, formerly known as the distinguished history with Bruce, King and Mokaning confidence, even in the face of tough global market (“BKM”) Project which refers Estimated annual conditions and challenges. to the farms on which the iron production rate of the Assmang currently has ore resources are located, is mine following the expansion project situated approximately 30 three operating divisions based on its three commodities kilometres south of the town namely chrome, manganese of Khatu, in the Northern Cape and iron ore. Although each division operates Province of South Africa and approximately independently, together they strive to achieve 65 kilometres north of Beeshoek Mine. optimum efficiencies. The Khumani iron ore mine has been Assmang’s manganese ores and alloys designed to produce ten million tonnes of consists of the manganese mines in the export quality iron ore each year, a figure Northern Cape Province of South Africa, that will eventually rise to 16 million tonnes namely N’Chwaning and Gloria mine, upon completion of phase 2 of the Khumani and the ferromanganese works at Cato Expansion Project. The Phase 2 expansion Ridge in the KwaZulu-Natal province. The includes the development of the mining company’s chrome ores and alloys consist platform on the King property, material of the Dwarsrivier chrome mine and the handling systems, stockpiles, stackers &

16

Million Tonnes

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NEW PRECIOUS RESOURCE DISCOVERED

Click here to visit our dedicated homepage for the mining community www.bus-ex.com/mining BEST PRACTICE IN MINING


Assmang: Khumani Mine

Khumani’s resources are among the best in South Africa

reclaimers, a local railway siding, an additional terms of quality and quantity. It is estimated rapid load-out station, a paste disposal facility, that the reserves will keep the mine going for haul roads and other supporting facilities. The more than 25 years at an annual extraction iron ore mined, at the Khumani iron ore mine, rate of 16 million tonnes. will initially only be exported, however with The iron ore is mined from a series of open future expansions it will also cater to the local pits, on the Bruce and King properties, by South African steel market. means of conventional drilling, blasting and The ore at Khumani is close to the surface, loading into trucks for hauling to each of and it is a very high grade deposit, with a the Bruce and King primary and secondary stripping ratio of 1.7 to 1. This means 10 crushing facilities. From there, it is transferred units of iron ore for every 17 units of material by means of overland conveyor and excavated, and the iron ore, stockpiled onto blending beds a high proportion of which that separate the material into two categories, on- and is described as ‘lumpy’, in turn yields 66 percent iron. off-grade material, ahead The Khumani resources are of treatment at the Parsons amongst the best iron ore Beneficiation Plant. Estimated life of the mine resources in South Africa in On-Grade material is

25 Years

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moved from the on-grade stockpile through to the washing and screening plant situated on the Parsons property, to ultimately produce final product incorporating tertiary crushing of any oversize material from the screening plant. Off-grade material on the other hand is moved from the off-grade stockpile through to the washing and screening plant, and oversized material crushed in the tertiary

crushers, it is also beneficiated through jigging in either the Lumpy or Fines Jig Plants, in order to remove any contaminants. The final product is then stockpiled on the Lumpy, Fines or DR Lump product stockpiles, ahead of a rapid load-out station, to periodically load 342 x 100tonne wagons, which are then railed for exporting purposes via the 861 kilometre Sishen-Saldanha railway line to the Port of

“The ore at Khumani is close to the surface, and it is a very high grade deposit, with a stripping ratio of 1.7 to 1�

The Khumani mine lies 60 miles to the north of Beeshoek

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Assmang: Khumani Mine

The ore yields 66 per cent iron

Saldanha Bay on South Africa’s West Coast, in the Western Cape Province. On 12 August 2010, on the same day it confirmed that Khumani had been commissioned on time and on budget, the company’s directors approved additional capital expenditure of R5.5 billion for the completion of the Khumani Expansion Project, to increase the mine’s capacity to 16 million tonnes per annum. The extension will see second primary and secondary crushers, screening systems and stockpile locations brought online at Assmang’s King property. In many respects, the new plant will simply mirror the existing one. To cope with the expansion, Transnet, which operates the dedicated rail line, has agreed to raise Assmang’s allocation from

ten million to 14 million tonnes a year. Every day of the year, a 342-wagon train leaves for Saldanha, with each wagon carrying 100 tonnes of ore. When the line was built back in 1976, it had an annual capacity of 18 million tonnes. Today, it can carry 60 million tonnes a year. Meanwhile, the port facilities at Saldanha are being similarly prepared, so by the time the downturn is over and the world’s steelmakers again struggle to meet demand, Assmang will be there to supply them with a better quality of ore than they can find anywhere in the world. For more information about Assmang: Khumani Mine visit: www.assmang.co.za

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Initiating a revolution

President of PZS Stabilization, Bruce Coulthard discusses the creation of the company’s SNCA Products’ SGA-1 and how it is set to revolutionize the oil and gas industry’s hydraulic fracturing process to extract oil and gas

written by: Will Daynes research by: Robbie Hodgson

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PZS Stabilization-SNCA Products

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SGA-1 has no adverse environmental impact


PZS Stabilization-SNCA Products

T

his move into the oil and gas hydraulic fracturing market is something that’s new and exciting for our company,” enthuses Bruce Coulthard, President of PZS Stabilization LLC. The move in question has come as a result of forming a manufacturing company, SNCA Products LLC, and including exclusive rights to distribute a revolutionary new line of products globally. One of those products, SGA-1, is formulated specifically for the hydraulic fracturing process of oil and gas extraction - also called “fracing”. Until now, the lack of an alternative product has resulted in the oil and gas industry using millions of gallons of hydrochloric acid and other toxic chemicals in the fracing process. A semi-noncorrosive acid in the company’s SNCA Product line, SGA-1 has been specifically designed to replace hydrochloric acid with hydronium. Unlike hydrochloric acid, SGA-1 has no adverse environmental impact. The basis for this revolutionary scientific technology is a patented stabilization and production process related to the H9O4 molecule. The proprietary system enables isolation of hydronium, the ion that determines the pH of acids. “This is a product,” Coulthard continues, “that you can literally hold safely in your hands, swipe across your lips and use down the hole of a well. It’s really that safe to use. The seeming contradiction though is that it’s powerful enough to dissolve rock in much the same way as hydrochloric acid without creating the same ground water contamination, worker safety and fume problems.”

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A stable acid that does not decompose under normal conditions, SGA-1 completely dissolves calcium, iron, zinc, magnesium and mild-steel and is readily biodegradable, breaking down into water and oxygen. Confirmed by independent testing, the product has a dermal toxicity similar to water and has been awarded a Hazardous Materials Identification System rating of zero. “Perhaps the greatest benefit of this formulation is that its base components are food grade.” Lab tests on SGA-1, conducted using FDA Antimicrobial Effectiveness techniques have been nothing short of striking. The product passed the test with 100 percent kill rates for E.Coli, Staph aureus and other bacteria and virus remain even from 1-14 days. Tests on Phytophora Ramorum have the recorded the same results. The task of spreading word of the product is already well underway with the company making strong use of social media and with Coulthard himself deep in discussion with as many as nine of the largest players in the oil and gas market. “Early reports have been astoundingly positive and there is a growing buzz in the industry,” he highlights. “More and more companies are starting to understand that use of this product has political, environmental and economic

advantages and that discarding old methods is simply the right thing to do.” Strictly from an economic perspective, one of SGA-1’s core benefits is that it may allow the oil and gas industry to get far more oil or gas to the surface and increase daily production. Looking forward, however, when it comes to how this revolutionary

“A semi-noncorrosive acid in the company’s SNCA Product line, SGA-1 has been specifically designed to replace hydrochloric acid with hydronium” 62 | be weekly


PZS Stabilization-SNCA Products

Bruce Coulthard, President of PZS Stabilization

product will shape the future not a start-up venture. But, of oil and gas operations, while one can’t realistically Coulthard is convinced that say that within six months it will be intertwined with every oil and gas company greater field use. “In a way, will be putting this product the oil and gas industry down their drilling holes, The length of time spent researching and will effectively become our it has not stopped us developing the product partner going forward. Our from strategically planning technical staff is getting for rapid expansion and them started, but in turn, putting new manufacturing their engineers will give us feedback so we facilities in key regions across the globe.” may focus on the manufacturing options we Having firmly established itself within many have available. It will help us develop the industries including the mining sector with its work on stabilizing soils and controlling next generation of products.” “Where we are today is a result of eight dust, PZS Stabilization’s foray into the oil and years of research and development. This is gas industry is very much seen within the

8 years

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“we have proven our commitment to sell environmentally-responsible products that actually work” business as being a natural progression. For his part, Coulthard’s focus in the short term is to create a financially stable business model that is environmentally-sound as well. “By selling first our PennzSuppress dust control product and now our SNCA Products, we have proven our commitment to sell environmentally-responsible products that actually work,” Coulthard

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proudly states. “I think it’s fair to say that with a product as powerful as this, we can make a difference. Chemically, it speaks for itself,” Coulthard says. “It really is amazing what this product is capable of doing in so many differing industries. It will control TCA, the cause of cork taint in the wine industry, as well as other microbial problems in the horticultural


PZS Stabilization-SNCA Products

SGA-1 has multiple uses across other sectors such as the horticulture, healthcare and wine industries

sector while also being useful in treating burn victims in war zones and burn centers throughout the world,” Coulthard says. “The oil and gas industry has started taking it seriously because it’s a resource that can solve all manner of operational issues while increasing its ability to be even more proactive on justifiable environmental concerns.” In advance of what the company sees as the expected demand for the product, PZS Stabilization has made efforts to automate the production process so that it could conceivably produce 100,000 gallons of SGA-1 per day per facility with only a few people overseeing the automated plant. It’s even possible that larger oil and gas companies will want an onsite manufacturing unit to potentially reduce costs.

As Coulthard himself concedes, the truth is that there are still multiple manufacturing and use possibilities at this stage in the game. “While we can’t be one-hundred percent certain what the years will bring, it hasn’t stopped us from looking at the future of SNCA Products broadly. We’ve mastered making a new, important product. Our job right now is to get it out to as many people as possible so they can see for themselves just how revolutionary it is. For more information about PZS Stabilization-SNCA Products visit: www.pzsstabilization.com

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A gateway to the world Technical Support Service Manager for International Business Development, Feisal Aden Darar discusses the progress Djibouti Telecom has made in becoming a telecommunications gateway to the rest of the world

written by: Will Daynes research by: James Boyle

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Djibouti Telecom

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Djibouti Telecom

O

ver the course of the last 18 months,” explains Technical Support Service Manager for International Business Development, Feisal Aden Darar, “we have been focusing on local and international trends to materialise our core goals. We have improved our Internet transit solutions by deploying Level 3 PoP, a world class Tier 1 and Saudi Telecommunication Company’s POP, with strong presence in the Middle East. In addition we have upgraded our existing Telecom Italia Sparkle node in terms of capacity and diversity. “As a result of our gradual improvement we have 20 operators from 13 countries in East Africa that are currently transiting through the IP nodes in Djibouti with live traffic volumes of about 10 Gbps. In addition to all these PoPs we have developed Djibouti Telecom‘s Pop that is sourced not only from all these IP transit providers but also from FT and Etisalat. With the combination of these advantages we can deliver premium service over diverse and redundant networks. Djibouti Telecom puts customer satisfaction first by anticipating its need and targeting beyond his expectation. Furthermore, since 2012 we also serve as a restoration path to East African operators during outages due to cables cut or maintenance.” Founded in 1999, Djibouti Telecom’s primary target is to establish itself as a regional hub responsible for delivering a complete portfolio of voice, data/IP and capacity services over state-of-the-art network infrastructure that reaches out to eastern and southern Africa, the Middle East and Europe. This drive for

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The General Manager at an international forum

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international expansion comes on top of the fact that Djibouti Telecom remains the sole provider of telecommunications services in its home country. Djibouti Telecom is recognised as being the international carrier with the strongest presence in eastern Africa. The company’s customer base consists of telecommunications service providers and multinational organisations including international carriers, mobile and fixed telephony operators, internet service providers and major government and private sector clients. At present the company has a total of five submarine cables running into the East of Africa and, as Feisal goes on to explain, plans are afoot for more infrastructure to be added in the very near future. “We are looking at introducing two additional cables, which we hope to have up and operational by the end of 2014. The presence of these new cables will further provide us with the ability to deliver to our customers the services that they require and to do so on a reliable basis, while also providing optimum availability.” The introduction of the newest cables will further cement Djibouti Telecom as having the highest number in East Africa. They also represent the company’s continued progress towards becoming a gateway from East Africa to the rest of the world. “With the help of our geographical position and intercontinental submarine cable investments,” Feisal says, “we have become the optimum gateway to Europe and Asia. We have a direct connectivity with almost 50 countries from Asia, Europe, Africa, New Zealand and Australia through our regional


Djibouti Telecom

Technical staff

and international infrastructures. Apart from the five international cables landing in Djibouti, two more are expected to be live by the last quarter of 2014, AAE1 and SMW-5. These upcoming cables will be equipped with latest technology and will further improve our diversity and redundancy.” Djibouti is an ideal location for satellite service given the low average rainfall. The Djibouti Telecom Teleport can be found within a five kilometre radius of the country’s US

Army Base, the US Embassy and the DjiboutiAmbouli International airport. Located on Djibouti Telecom’s fiber network the Djibouti fiber system also allows for connectivity to four submarine cable systems, EASSy, SEAME-WE 3, EIG and SEACOM. Both Basic IP connectivity as well as international backhaul services are available from the teleport, while all critical systems are supported by redundant UPS power. The teleport also has redundant generators

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in the case of power outages. Additionally, an iDirect Chassis has been installed at the teleport and is capable of providing services on both existing antennas. The Teleport also offers both managed and hosting services, including space for hosting line cards. While the company’s own infrastructure has continued to grow and improve, the same cannot be said for several other countries in the East African region and this poses one of the biggest challenges to Djibouti Telecom. Take Djibouti’s neighbour Somalia for example. While it hugs a vast swath of coastline the country still lacks access to submarine cables, primarily due to the on-going political instability. To overcome this issue the company has commenced plans to provide terrestrial interconnectivity to the country, much like it does to landlocked neighbours such as Ethiopia. While terrestrial interconnectivity is much more susceptible to damage or incidents of sabotage, Djibouti Telecom has proven in Ethiopia that it is able to provide a stable service. Furthermore it hopes, in the near future, to roll out a similar offering to South Sudan. Back in December 2012, Djibouti Telecom successfully launched a new 3.5G mobile service in Djibouti, thus augmenting its existing 2G GSM and 2.5G EDGE platforms.

Going live on 27 December 2012, the new 3G+ network offers subscribers access to high speed mobile broadband, mobile as well as voice and SMS/MMS services. Djibouti Telecoms customers are also now able to access broadband on a range of devices including mobile phones, tablets and laptops. From an international perspective the

“Djibouti Telecom is recognised as being the international carrier with the strongest presence in eastern Africa” 72 | be weekly


Djibouti Telecom

Djibouti Telecom’s Evatis sales agency

company has also recently launched a new tier-three data centre in East Africa to provide direct access to its undersea cable systems. The Djibouti Data Centre (DDC) offers undersea cable head access and backhaul, interconnection, collocation and internet access and is located just metres from the company’s new cable landing station. The DDC offers international telecommunications carriers and content delivery network providers neutral collocation facilities, internet exchange and other connectivity services. “It is part of our long term vision for the DDC,” Feisal continues, “to create a location from which we can provide all of the core services that our customers

require, thus making it a gateway to providing international services across Africa and into Asia and Europe. In doing so we also want to create a system that allows these customers to reduce their own costs while still ensuring the diversity and resiliency of what we provide.” Compared to its neighbours, Djibouti is a relatively small country with limited natural resources and a population of around one million people. As such national companies like Djibouti Telecom have grown up with a determination to help develop an economy that is funded almost exclusively by its port activities and telecommunications capabilities. This obligation, if you will, pushes companies like Djibouti Telecom

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to devise better services with the sole aim of attracting more customers to take advantage of the infrastructure that the country has to offer. Demand for Djibouti Telecom’s services continues to increase rapidly and this demand is the core influence behind its push to expand and deploy the amount of resources that are required to cater for the needs of its customers.

“In Ethiopia for instance,” Feisal enthuses, “we expect to experience an exponential demand for the sort of services that we provide as the country grows and becomes more dependent on the services it derives from surrounding countries like Sudan, Kenya and Djibouti. It is a country that is very much looking to diversify its interconnectivity and to do so it will require the assistance of a provider who can provide the most reliable

“Our investment in international infrastructure has played a major role in our success to date”

Backbone network being laid

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Djibouti Telecom

Entry of submarine cable

and readily available service and that can drive the most capacity. Not only do we believe that we can provide this, but we are also looking to further develop our premium offerings for this very purpose.” As the continent of Africa continues to develop and more and more nations begin to realise their social and economic potential it stands to reason that an industry as critical as telecommunications will only becoming more competitive in the years to come. “Our investment in international infrastructure has played a major role in our success to date,” Feisal highlights. “Going forward our customers will have even more options when it comes to diversity and restoration from Djibouti and that enables us to be an ideal gateway for East African countries.”

With that in mind Feisal is aware of what Djibouti Telecom has to do during this time period. “What is going to be fundamental for us going forward is our ability to meet both new and growing trends in the market by providing premium quality services. What we know about our customers is that they are most concerned about quality, availability and cost, and the way we succeed where others do not is by remaining the best provider of these qualities in the marketplace.” For more information about Djibouti Telecom visit: www.djiboutitelecom.dj www.djiboutidatacenter.com

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THE POWER

OF TEN The TCRA has overseen revolutions in broadcasting, postal services and telecommunications over the last decade, today’s revolution is a digital one

written by: John O’Hanlon research by: David Brogan

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TCRA

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Aerial view of Dar es Salaam


TCRA

A

ccording to the most recent World Bank economic update published late in 2012, “Tanzania stands out as a model of sound economic performance with a growth rate of over six percent in 2011 and 2012.” Tanzania’s economic prospects look positive over the period for 2012-14, the report goes on to say, when its GDP is forecast to grow at a rate of 6.5 to 7 percent. In economic terms Tanzania was a rock of stability in 2011/12, recording solid growth and strengthened fiscal discipline despite increases in the rate of inflation. A rock of stability, a model of sound economic performance, and politically stable to boot – Tanzania’s situation is a tribute to the great governance it has enjoyed since independence and thanks in no small measure to the wisdom of the late Julius Nyerere. Whatever you think of his brand of Ujamaa socialism it has given Tanzania a level of stability that is the envy of its neighbours. It’s true that the country developed slowly and that its growth has largely failed to impact those who make up 80 percent of the country’s poorest people. As the World Bank puts it: “Tanzania’s macroeconomic success has not been felt by the majority of the rural population that is still living in extreme poverty.” But this just serves to emphasise the potential for giving these citizens access to the agricultural commercialisation, diversification and urbanisation that has so far barely started to happen. If you had to choose a single factor driving social and economic change in Tanzania it

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TCRA

Mobile users in Tanzania are fast adopting mobile money services

might well be communications. Prof John Tanzania so it can further grow its telecoms Nkoma certainly thinks so. A physicist might and realise its full potential. “As a by profession Dr Nkoma spent most of his regulatory body we ensure that licenses are career abroad doing research in the UK and of reasonable duration and regulations are Botswana where he held the chair of physics enforceable. We use the funds we receive at the University of Botswana. However he responsibly – so I tell them to come and invest returned to Tanzania in 2004 to head up in Tanzania’s thriving telecoms industry.” He the newly founded TCRA, successor to two also believes that electronic communications former bodies, the Tanzania Communications of all kinds, now united under his overview, Commission (TCC), which formerly regulated must be allowed to play their full part in telecoms and the Tanzania Broadcasting education and healthcare. If you want to talk to Commission (TBC) which regulated broadcasting. someone in Tanzania, get Professor N koma their mobile number or their believes that developing the e-mail address or use a VOIP telecommunications network connection like Skype. The has been vital to Tanzania’s number of wire connections Tanzania’s current economy and encourages in the country is small, fibre network investors to partner with and has remained largely

7,500 KM

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TCRA

Half the population of Tanzania is under 15

“I tell them to come and invest in Tanzania’s thriving telecoms industry” constant over the last decade. Compare that to the number of mobile subscribers, which, from fewer than a million ten years ago, has now topped 26 million – that in a country with a total population of 45 million, half of them under 15! The mobile phone serves a different purpose in Africa than in other communities where the bulk of consumers use it for tweeting, chatting and finding a restaurant. Here it is a tool. Financial services are the most talked about, Nkoma agrees, and Vodacom’s wellknown M-Pesa is paralleled by the other

major players. Tigo has Tigo Pesa; AirTel offers airtel money and ZanTel Ezy Pesa. Each of these allows users to transfer without the need for a bank account, which so many people wouldn’t qualify for. The fees are typically low. To transfer up to the equivalent of $600 Ezy Pesa charges just 12c. Tanzanians have been among the fastest adopters of mobile money services in the world, just behind Kenya. In agriculture, a growing number of agricultural information service providers offer technical advice and market information to farmers through

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TCRA

The Dar es Salaam waterfront

bulk SMS, call centres we have 3G networks therefore data transfer is becoming very or specialised apps. In important.” However when it the health sector, mobile comes to stimulating business phones have opened up growth, the regulator can opportunities for remote leave much of the development diagnosis so that health workers in remote facilities to the ingenuity of the private mobile providers. Larger are supported to treat their Tanzanian mobile capital projects require patients by medical experts subscribers more attention. Tanzania’s further away via telephone. This can potentially improve principal city Dar es Salaam is service delivery in light of understaffing in fortunate in being the landing point for three international fibre optic ‘pipes’, the East African rural health centres. Facilitating these services is just one of the Submarine Cable System (EASSy), Seacom things TCRA is interested in doing. “We have and Teams. To create an inland network seen exponential growth in subscriptions, Tanzania borrowed $170 million from China and that has been paralleled by the growth in and raised a further $80 million to build a services – in the earliest years there were just vast fibre-optic cable network, stretching simple platforms, basically just voice; but now 7,500 kilometres in a ring around the country.

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TCRA

The fibre-optic network cost $250 million to create

Actually, there are three rings radiating out of Dar es Salaam and managed by the incumbent fixed network operator Tanzania Telecommunications Co Ltd (TTCL) Nkoma explains. The eastern ring links Dar with Arusha and Moshi to the north, and thence to Kenya; the western ring takes the network into Uganda, Burundi, Rwanda and the eastern DRC, while a southern ring goes into Malawi and Zambia. “For this part of the world fibre optic is a necessity – it is doing what the copper network did many years ago, and so much more, bringing fast broadband to populations that need it to develop business as well as healthcare and education.” Long term evolution (LTE) will eventually

allow remote access to high speed mobile broadband but it will never challenge fibre optic, he thinks. In any case any 4G spectrum offering is some way ahead. Meanwhile he is pleased with the spectrum management programme that TCRA has been able to deliver to date. Much of TCRA’s effort recently has been in managing a broadcasting revolution – the roll out of digital TV. The analogue signal was switched off in Dar es Salaam on December 31 last year, in Dodoma and Tanga at the end of January, in Mwanza in February followed by Moshi and Arusha in March. The switch-off in Mbeya on April 30 will mark the completion of Phase one digitalisation.

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TCRA Phase two will repeat the process as the remaining population centres are equipped with digital transmitters. “The cost of set-top boxes has not been a major problem, as the government waived tax on that equipment,” says Nkoma. An entry level STB costs around 40,000 shillings – about $25’ While most of TCRA’s work is concerned with electronic communications, it regulates postal services as well. Here the big project has been to introduce postcodes throughout the country. Tanzania leads the continent in introducing postcodes: “We have completed the basic planning, and have already compiled the postcode database for the whole country. Now it is just a question of implementation.” TCRA is coming up to its tenth anniversary. Prof Nkoma takes a broad view of its achievements, pointing to its part in ensuring a sound and credible legislative framework for communications platforms in Tanzania, with. This, he emphasises, is vital to attract inward investment. “Investors need to feel protected against unfair competition.” Following the passing of the 2010 Electronic and Postal Communications Act, new regulations published in 2011 brought in an up to date regime for the long term. “We now have a well articulated structural strategic plan which spells out our vision, our mission, strategic goals and core values of the organisation,” he concludes. For more information about TCRA visit: www.tcra.go.tz

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The digital revolution is now approaching phase two


East African Portland Cement Company

Building a brighter future For 80 years, EAPCC has played its part in the growth of Kenya. Managing Director, Kephar Tande talks about what the future holds for both the company and the country

written by: Will Daynes research by: Paul Bradley

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EAPCC

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EAPCC sponsors the biggest homes expo in East and Central Africa, the Blue triangle homes expo

enowned for the quality of its product, which has proven to be the lifeblood of the Kenyan construction industry over the last 80 years, the East African Portland Cement Company (EAPCC) has been the country’s leading cement manufacturer since it was founded in 1933. “For the first 40 years or more,” explains Managing Director, Kephar Tande, “we were the only cement company to operate within Kenya. As such we played a hugely important role in helping build the nation from the ground up in areas such as housing, education, health, tourism, transport and communication.” It was in 1957 that the company moved to its present headquarters, the Athi River Factory, an area blessed with an abundance of regularly available raw materials required for making cement. Over the subsequent years a number of investments and improvements were made, including the commissioning of new mills, a rotary wet kiln and a limestone crusher, resulting in an increase in EAPCC’s production capacity. In 2009 another new mill was commissioned, doubling capacity once again to bring it to its current figure of 1.3 million tonnes. The company’s flagship product, Blue Triangle Cement, is well regarded throughout Kenya for its reliability, having been used in the construction of a number of the country’s historical and future structural icons such as KICC, the Thika Superhighway and the Chemususu Dam. “Our customers rely on our ability to deliver quality and value,” Tande continues, “and it

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EAPCC is our consistency in being Yongo & Associates able to provide this that has It was in 1999 that Yongo & Associates completed the arguably contributed most to optimization of their new, dry process rotary kiln technology. our success over the years. In the year that followed the company achieved a great The local materials available many other things including providing technical process and to us are ideal for cement quality training to its operations department and establishing production and have allowed process economics, process costing, process improvements and budgetary controls, and inter-departmental integration us to create a very unique and harmonization throughout its operations. product. That is not to say In 2010 Yongo & Associates carried out a feasibility study that we aren’t engaged in the into the establishment of a new kiln line. Over the last 12 task of product improvement, months the company has completed technical process rather this is something we do audits, plant optimization projects, delivered training for its while paying close attention operation department staff, carried out an evaluation into to changing market trends, alternative fuels and an in-depth evaluation into technical projects associated with its updating of its kiln line. advancements in technology yongocrispine@yahoo.com and evolving customer needs and demands.” Growth, expansion and sustained profitability are the guiding principles of EAPCC’s business model, and driving these goals forward are its people. “Our long-term presence in Kenya,” Tande states, “has allowed us to develop strong local competence when it comes to manufacturing and technical skills. Every single employee, from support staff to management, can expect to receive continuous training in order to keep their skills up to date. Staff development is something that is very important to us and as such we encourage everyone to pursue higher studies.” Kephar L. Tande, EAPCC Managing Director

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Kenya is very much the archetypical model of what one would describe as a rapidly developing country. As such there are a number of prominent growth drivers that continue to bring increasing volumes of work to EAPCC and the construction industry as a whole. These include the demand for more housing to cater for an ever-increasing population and for core infrastructure such as road networks, bridges and dams, all of which of course being heavily reliant on cement. In addition to its commitment to contributing towards Kenya’s development, EAPCC is also driven by its aim to create better lives for the communities that it operates in. It does so by sponsoring a wide range of development projects through its Corporate Social Responsibility investments. The company believes passionately in education and consistently supports brilliant but disadvantaged children as well as building classes, dormitories and boreholes to support learning in hardship areas. An equally important theme for the company is its aim to be recognised as a green business that is doing its part to respond to the environmental concerns that often greet the construction sector in Africa. “We have always worked hard when it comes to

managing our responsibilities,” Tande says. “One of the ways we do this is by carefully monitoring our use of resources, for example reducing our levels of waste. At present we are looking into ways in which we can incorporate solar power into our operations, while another important development sees us looking at ways in which we can convert hot gas into electrical power, thus reducing our reliance on coal.”

“it goes without saying that as we grow as a business we will keep a sharp eye focused on other potential growth areas for EAPCC” 96 | be weekly


EAPCC

The staff clinic

Kenya, and much of East we are as well positioned as anyone when it comes to Africa for that matter, is unquestionably a fast moving recognising the positive signs market and one with an that exist when it comes to the country’s future growth. average growth rate of at The year EAPCC moved least ten percent per annum What we also know to be true to its Athi River Factory in terms of concrete and is that growing confidence associated products. in a country like Kenya in It is therefore fair to turn breeds confidence in assume that EAPCC do not envision their surrounding economies. Therefore it goes efforts slowing down at all in the years ahead. without saying that as we grow as a business “Within the next five years,” Tande concludes, we will keep a sharp eye focused on other “we intend to at least double our production potential growth areas for EAPCC.” capacity, while also looking to increase our market share further still and to expand For more information about East African our business interest into the ready-mixed Portland Cement Company visit: and pre-cast concrete sectors. For 80 years www.eastafricanportland.com now we have grown alongside Kenya, thus

1957

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“Having good information is no use unless that information is available and accurate - anywhere, anytime.” 98 | be directory

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BE.Weekly  

Issue No.48

BE.Weekly  

Issue No.48

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