Modular accommodation solutions provider Kwikspace will use the 2016 Investing in African Mining Indaba to network with clients and discuss new product ranges that the company will launch this year.
These products are suitable for more permanent housing, but can still be erected quickly in a modular format. Kwikspace is also at an advanced stage of developing some alternative building technologies, and rapid assembly building in remote locations, Kwikspace director of business development for modular buildings in Africa Nick Alexander tells Mining Weekly.
He explains that the company has previously exhibited at the Indaba, but has found it more beneficial in the past two years to focus on its clients rather than managing an exhibition.
“We learn a lot about the market by speaking with our clients and discussing their plans and strategies . . . the Mining Indaba exhibitions have worked very well for us in the past but, with the industry in very difficult times, we think we can get a lot more done by meeting the right people. The focus needs to be on the client – not just what we offer.”
Alexander points out that the company might return to exhibiting when the market improves, but at this stage, the company can achieve its aims through face-to-face meetings.
In July last year, Kwikspace was appointed to manufacture and construct a modular accommodation camp for a mining company in Zimbabwe.
The camp includes accommodation facilities, kitchens and diners, a laundry, recreation facilities, a gymnasium and offices. The project will house 500 people.
In addition, Kwikspace is executing some smaller jobs in Sierra Leone but most of its current activity on the continent is not mining-related. The company is, however, seeing some activity with regard to smaller exploration and early-works projects in West and Central Africa.
“It looks as though very few large jobs will go ahead until commodity prices improve,” Alexander comments.
He states that the number of new mining projects going to field has decreased in the past 18 months, adding that this has affected the business which Kwikspace does in the mining sector. However, Kwikspace has been able to maintain a steady rate of work with smaller projects and will continue to service these while it looks for signs of improvement in the sector.
Kwikspace’s main areas of supply in mining are new mine development and existing mine expansion. In terms of mining, the company normally supplies either directly to the mine, through an engineering procurement and construction company contracted by the mine, or subcontractors working on a project.
The company supplies different solutions depending on the type of project or mine expansion. These include turnkey accommodation, which is workforce housing for new and remote projects; short-term project rental buildings for offices, ablutions and temporary accommodation; mobile offices for remote parts of expansion; and classrooms and training centers that are usually part of a project's corporate social investment programme or are used for the training and induction of mine employees.
“The Mining Indaba is an important event on our agenda – besides enabling the company to meet with its local and international clients, it ensures that we stay informed of broader developments in mining,” Alexander states.