Orica unveils new African headquarters

5th February 2015 By: Ilan Solomons - Creamer Media Staff Writer

Orica unveils new African headquarters

JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – Australian services provider Orica on Thursday officially opened its new 2 600 m2 double-storey African headquarters in Isando, Gauteng, to support and grow the company’s footprint in Africa.

The building featured several boardrooms, as well as a multipurpose training centre for the company’s staff and clients.

Orica corporate affairs and social responsibility executive global head Gavin Jackman told Mining Weekly Online on the sidelines of the event that the offices would serve as a base for Orica’s 200 South Africa-based staff and for the rest of the company’s 700 Africa-based employees.

He pointed out that Orica already had a presence in seven African countries – South Africa, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Senegal, Tanzania, Zambia and Mozambique – which would be further bolstered by the new offices.

Meanwhile, Orica executive global mining services head Nick Bowen said Africa accounted for only about 5% of the company’s turnover; however, Orica was aiming to increase this to 20% by 2018.

He pointed out that Orica had been involved in establishing two of the largest mines in Africa over the past two years – namely Brazilian mining major Vale’s Moatize coal mine, in Mozambique and base metals miner First Quantum Minerals’ Sentinel copper mine, in Zambia.

He further averred that Orica was a significant global manufacturer and supplier of blasting services.

“We have about a 30% share of the global explosives market, while our next closest competitor only has about a 12% share of the global market,” Bowen enthused.

He pointed out that Orica had operations in 50 countries with a customer base in more than 100 countries.

“We also have 70 manufacturing sites worldwide with a global staff complement of about 13 000 people,” Bowen said.

He added that about 4 000 of Orica’s staff members were located at customers’ mining and quarrying sites to provide quick and direct services.

“We strive to continue to be a technology leader through our research and development team comprising about 400 people worldwide. Our history speaks for itself, as we were one of the first explosives manufacturers to develop electronic blasting systems,” Bowen stated.

He said that Orica was also a major player in the production of high-energy emulsions and that its newest product, which would be released later this year, would be “the world’s first wireless detonator”.

Also in attendance at the event were Australia’s Acting High Commissioner in South Africa Chris Munn and Australia senior trade commissioner John Madew.