As mining services provider Fraser Alexander continues to expand its footprint across Africa, the company has adopted a localised approach at the Tailings Storage Facilities (TSF) it manages on the continent.
Not only does this ensure compliance but it also creates local management employment opportunities. Already, this approach is starting to bear fruit in the DRC.
In addition to the DRC, Fraser Alexander currently manages TSFs in several African countries including Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Tanzania, and Ghana.
Craig Walter, General Manager of the Tailings: Africa Division explains that the company is fully compliant in every country in which it operates. “For example, in the DRC we adhere to the sub-contracting law which requires 51% local ownership and that we appoint majority Congolese management,” he adds.
While compliance remains top of mind, Fraser Alexander’s approach has also resulted in the transfer of important skills to local employees. “Historically, a lot of South African companies simply exported skills from South Africa by appointing expat managers as they moved into Africa. However, we have seen the benefit of appointing local managers about the language, the culture and understanding how to conduct business in those mining environments,” Craig Walter states.
Fraser Alexander is expanding its presence on the continent and has recently restructured in the Democratic Republic of Congo, necessitating the establishment of a new legal entity in the country to accommodate the new ownership structure.
This has also created a new role for a Country Operations Manager to lead and grow the Democratic Republic of Congo’s business and ensure clean and ethical governance, statutory compliance, and sound management of partnerships – whilst focusing on Sales Growth, Business Development, and the Technology Challenges of the Mining Industry.
In a local content context, with his large professional network, coupled with his innovative thinking and results orientation, Christian Panga will drive the changes.
“Currently, we have qualified expats on site who work along with local managers to build capacity for future growth requirements in the country through appropriate training programmes aligned with the Global Industry Standards on Tailing Management (GISTM).
A long-term vision
In addition to onsite training, Fraser Alexander also conducts online training for its employees and for its clients’ personnel. Such examples are its MRD 101 and 2021 training courses for internal managers and the MRD 301 training course for external stakeholders.
These courses take place annually and are taught remotely from South Africa. This helps to teach the basic technical skills required to manage its TSF operations. Craig Walter states that the company is also looking at training and developing a broader range of second tier managers that will allow it to expand its local staff contingent.
“At Fraser Alexander our drive has always been focused on education and on people development and we continue to do so within the context of the DRC,” he says.
Christian Panga adds that in addition to the local content approach, the company will also engage in an ESG strategy by engaging with local communities to ensure that there is sustainable development.
“Fraser Alexander has been in existence for more than 100 years and with this approach, we are attracting a young workforce that will carry the company forward for many years to come,” he concludes.