Owing to the current high prices of commodities, wholly black-owned, Pretoria-based opencast mining contractor African Sun Mining hopes to liaise with mining companies, which are prepared to start new projects, during this year’s Junior Indaba to be held from June 5 to 6 at the Johannesburg Country Club, in Johannesburg.
Established in 2011, the company offers a full package of opencast mining services, which includes, but is not limited to, mine rehabilitation, drilling and blasting, load and haul, crushing and screening, as well as decline-shaft establishment.
African Sun Mining has been partnering with event organiser Resources for Africa Investment Conferences for the past three years as one of the sponsors for the yearly Junior Indaba.
“This is part of our marketing strategy because we have realised that most of the delegates attending the conference are the captains of industry, and this is an opportunity for us to network and get exposure in the market,” says African Sun Mining executive director Jonathan Leso.
The partnership has resulted in African Sun Mining acquiring a reputation as a contracting company among its peers in the mining industry. The company aims to secure new mining contracts, with Leso adding that its low and competitive rates make it one of the best opencast mining contractors in South Africa.
“Most of the companies coming to the event are new entrants to the industry, and are coming with open minds and, hopefully, without working relationships with big monopoly companies. This will be an opportunity to work together and grow together,” he says.
African Sun Mining has been contracted since 2011 by chrome producer Afarak’s subsidiary, Ilitha Mining, in Boshoek (Rustenburg), in the North West, to mine 35 000 t/m. The miner has also mined for another Afarak subsidary, Chromex Mining, at the Mecklenburg mine, in Limpopo, from 2012 to 2014.
“Afarak is one of the companies that believed in us and provided us with an opportunity since we started the business. We are currently running two of its projects.”
Leso states that the mining contracting industry is growing, with many companies emerging and “the pie . . . getting smaller”. He further highlights that most of the mining projects are underground, while opencast projects are becoming fewer.
“We have been marketing our mining services to different companies without success and I think it is because we are a black-owned, small company. Mining companies appoint well-known, large mining contractors and this leaves us out in the cold. Every startup company is seen as a risk to big businesses.”
Meanwhile, African Sun Mining is also looking for possible joint venture (JV) opportunities with mining companies that have viable projects, with the ultimate goal to acquire a full mining licence within a period of four years.
“We have extensive mining experience and capacity, as well as reserve funds; we can also help to raise additional capital for the mining operations . . . One of the advantages of a JV is that we will run the projects with our resources.”
Leso says, owing to the company’s experience in mining chrome, African Sun Mining will consider chrome as the first commodity when going into a JV project.
“We have been in the chrome industry since we started contract mining, so we know chrome and the market, and how to mine it. We understand the whole value chain. However, we don’t rule out the possibility of mining other commodities if an opportunity arises,” he concludes.