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Since its founding in 2001, a strong sense of balance has purveyed the operations at Afmine (the combination of Dairyhill Investments and African Mining and Exploration). Standing out in the industry as a beacon of environmental and industrial collaboration the company is one of the strongest and it is a pillar of strength. Always with a keen ear to taking a hands on approach to his work, Derek Cockcroft, the managing director, was on hand to discuss his company’s latest developments in this deeply South African industry.





“In 2001 we secured a contract with Zimbabwe Platinum Mines (Private) Limited, which has subsequently become a subsidiary of Impala Platinum Holdings Limited, a listed company in South Africa,” Derek explains, “This contract was for the haulage of platinoid ore from the opencast mine operation in Ngezi to the processing plant in Selous, an overall distance of 76km.”


he solution for this haulage method was developed in conjunction with Zimplats, with a view to establishing a safe, reliable and cost effective solution. This was achieved through

the use of Australian style road trains, able to operate under the legislated loading parameters set by the Zimbabwean Government. Specific legislation was passed by Government to allow the operation of these units, measured at 42 metres long and an overall gross vehicle mass of 160 ton. This specialised equipment was originally sourced from Australia, and was partially assembled locally utilising existing facilities within the group. Hence they were able to offer a cost advantage to the client and this operation continues to be the largest road train operation in Africa, achieving approximately 200 million ton/kilometres per annum. “Since then, we have grown the services to Zimplats through the introduction of ore rehandling, involving the introduction of both mining and crushing equipment, in order to assist with their above ground and underground developments,” Derek adds, “We have also expanded the group activities into exploration drilling services, such that we are able to accommodate most mining companies requirements within the group.” Afmine are heavily involved in a number of markets, indicitative of their organic growth that they have been able to meet the various demands of each of these different countries, which include Zimbabwe, Botswana and Mozambique, with the most current projects being pursued in Tanzania and Namibia. Additionally, Afmine’s capabilities extend to contract mining and

earthmoving, which is a medium sized operation undergoing organic growth currently as a result of additional client requirements as well as new projects. Specialised haulage solutions for the mining industry, including exploration drilling: “The equipment used here is considered to be the best in its class,” Derek states, “The Boart Longyear LF90D diamond drill rigs as well as RC/RAB equipment,” Historical operations of Afmine also support the capability of performing diamond drilling in excess of 1000 metres using blast hole drilling, which is one of their current developments, mining consultancy services which makes use of Afmine’s highly skilled and practical mining experience and the significant skills they have in both opencast and underground developments.

What Training Is Given? Up to and over 250 staff work with Afmine at any one time and each of them adhere and follow a certain philosophy and attitude that can distinguish one of their employees out of a crowd. “One of our major focuses is the management of health and safety principles within our operations, and protection of the environment,” Derek explains, “Continual improvement of such skills is ongoing

Customs Services is a one stop shipping, freight forwarding and customs clearing company founded in 1968 with 7 local offices and a global network representation in over 150 countries.


within the organisation, with regular training courses. Our client

continual improvement of our

and reform whatever they need

requirements are particularly stringent due to nature of the mining

services to ensure that their


industry and associated risks. We also continue to develop personnel

needs are constantly met as their

and skills through both on the job and independent educational

own business develops.”

courses with a view to strengthening our skills base.”

“With current commodity prices, costs and production

He continues, “Being an

challenges being faced by our

Some companies place no emphasis on staff development, let

owner/operator of business we

clients, we are required to

alone individual development however Derek is adamant with his

recognise that the success of

constantly review our work

opinion to how important this particular area is to him:

our business is directly related

methods and the equipment

“Very!” he exclaims, “Zimbabwe and Botswana have a fairly well

to the success of our clients

deployed to ensure that we

educated workforce but skills are still limited and Mozambique has a

and by maintaining a successful

are taking advantage of recent

very limited skill base. The future of our business lies in the abilities



technology developments,” he

of our personnel and we take their development and education very

through proven performance, we

details, “ Capital equipment


are able to secure a competitive

replacement is a major focus in

edge with repeat business.”

order to ensure that our services

Afmine’s Customers Derek immediately strikes as one of those people who has








smooth a


approached business with the intention of making a definite impact on

understanding of how best to

those he works with. Handling both staff and clients with a sincerity

look after staff and customers

that is refreshing and inspiring.

alike, Afmine is further enhanced

“In order to service the client fully, we ensure that we understand

by a willingness to adapt to

their business needs from the outset,” he details, “We all undergo

circumstances and learn, relearn

are always reliable, cost effective and safe.”

What’s In The Future? Leading into 2013 Afmine

are introducing a mining consultancy division which allows them to assist in the development of the mining industry and further develop opportunities for their group.

This consultancy extends to full

management of new projects, with final handover to the client once in productive state. There is also the ongoing expansion of the mining services into blast hole drilling for opencast mining projects which has expected growth within the mining industry within Zimbabwe, Botswana and Mozambique. All countries have massive potential for growth within this sector, being very undeveloped in worldwide standards. “We believe that we will be able to grow the business significantly due to our position in all three countries. We also believe that we shall be able to expand into other territories within the region, becoming a sizeable player within the mining services industry, Our aim is to effectively double the size of the business within the next 3 years, requiring further investment of approximately $20 million. In order to achieve this, we are doing as much as possible to develop internal skills in order to cope with the anticipated growth, thereby ensuring no reduction in our client service principles,� he concludes.


AFMINE: A Business As Strong As Diamonds  

AFMINE Corporate Brochure written by Lance Van Der Westhuizen

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