ABGM's partnership with Tata Steel to unlock mining opportunities in India, South Africa

10th May 2023 By: Schalk Burger - Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor

ABGM's partnership with Tata Steel to unlock mining opportunities in India, South Africa

ABGM India business head Kamal Chatterjee

Mining engineering services provider and consultancy A&B Global Mining (ABGM) has signed a cooperation agreement with major steelmaker Tata Steel to identify and pursue opportunities in the mining and metals engineering value chains, ABGM India business head Kamal Chatterjee tells Mining Weekly.

The cooperation agreement is expected to improve synergies, with ABGM providing planning and feasibility strategy services, as well as infrastructure and engineering solutions.

Tata Steel provides significant scale and breadth of experience, enabling the partners to broaden their ability to identify projects and serve demand for mining services, especially in India and the Middle East. The agreement will help both companies to diversify their projects pipeline, he says.

“Mining in India is growing rapidly, partly owing to economic prioritisation. This is contributing to a significant requirement in terms of personnel and mining strategy innovations.

“Keeping the sustainability of mining companies in mind, technology and operational excellence will play a significant role in all mining projects within the next three to four years. Hence, ABGM is focused on assisting clients in building capacity and implementing such initiatives through its cooperation agreement with Tata Steel Industrial Consulting.

“The aim is to get to market more rapidly with professional subject matter experts providing support to build up the project pipeline in a cost-effective manner,” Chatterjee notes.

Further, the service requirements of Indian industrial companies typically include the Middle East and parts of Africa, necessitating an international approach to tackling projects, he adds.

The agreement is helping ABGM to diversify its services to more stakeholders in the industry and accelerate growth across commodities and geographies.

“We aim to take learnings from Tata Steel to serve our clients with more rigour and accelerate our growth with competitive offerings to the market, especially for Indian clients.”

ABGM is also expanding its India office. The cooperation agreement supports ABGM’s global expansion plans, and from experience it has found that associating early on with an established firm in-country often leads to accelerated company growth, highlights ABGM operations director Ettienne Oosthuizen.

“We bring a full suite of varied core competencies to our clients with this agreement, which also presents us with an opportunity to expand organically with our current clients,” he adds.

The agreement with Tata Steel is a good first step for ABGM's India office, as Tata Steel is bringing some of its projects to ABGM to make use of its services, such as for mine planning, mining engineering and exploration, Oosthuizen points out.

“Similarly, we are also able to offer extended services to our clients in India owing to the partnership with Tata Steel,” he adds.

The agreement broadens the footprint of ABGM in terms of area and clients it can serve. ABGM is very strong in mining engineering, design and geotechnical work, among others, while Tata Steel's industrial consultants are strong in other fields, says ABGM Africa business head and senior principal geologist André van der Merwe.

“Technology, expertise and innovations will flow between the partners and benefit both companies' clients,” he says.

The agreement, of which the Indian Economic Council, and the South African High Commission in India have been briefed, includes not only mining and exploration, but the minerals value chain, as well as environmental, social and governance aspects in terms of sustainability of projects, highlights Chatterjee.

“It is a big learning opportunity, and an opportunity for the members of our South African team to gain exposure to the Indian market, which is growing at a rapid pace and will provide them with global experience,” he says.

Further, the Tata Steel team is keen to learn more about the South African landscape and to gain additional expertise throughout its broader operations, he adds.

Additionally, ABGM has found that Indian projects are executed much more quickly than South African projects. The company aims to learn how these projects are structured and how progress through the project stages is executed, and then implement these learnings in South Africa and its other territories, says Oosthuizen.

Meanwhile, ABGM is also developing its capabilities in the energy sector, especially in terms of sustainable energy and electricity, Van der Merwe points out.

“Tata Steel again has lots of experience and big partners in this field, which not only helps to open doors for our clients, but will also add more momentum to projects,” he notes.

Additionally, ABGM is involved in mine sustainability planning as part of its service offerings, and it sees the addition of energy sustainability as a major growth area going forward, he says.