Rapidly growing urbanisation and rising domestic demand in Africa has ushered an unprecedented wave of foreign direct investment into the continent, spurring intensive construction activity across all sectors. Investment into African mega projects rose by 46% to $326 billion in 2014. This infrastructure drive happening throughout sub-Saharan Africa is driven by increased output in the natural resources sector and underpinned by rising fiscal expenditure on infrastructure projects to facilitate international trade with the continent.
Africa’s natural resource industry, mining, as well as its upstream and downstream operations, continue to be massive drivers of its nations’ economies. The mining sector currently accounts for 9% of all construction mega-projects undertaken in Africa.
Construction becomes ever more essential to the mining industry when one considers that mining in Africa is taking place in increasingly remote and challenging areas. Infrastructure build becomes necessary to ensure getting people and equipment to site and products out to market. The reality of Africa’s urbanisation, population growth and increased access to technology is affecting the mining industry, boosting demand for minerals and need for improved engineering, technical application of concrete and specialised underground construction expertise to reduce operational downtime in deep mine shafts.
For the first time this year the African Construction and Totally Concrete Expo will cater specifically to the mining industry with a dedicated Concrete in Mining seminar looking at effective underground construction for deep mining. South Africa is home to some of the deepest mines in the world and the local industry is perfectly poised to share lessons learned from deep mine construction for application in Africa and overseas.
Totally Concrete’s Concrete in Mining seminar will aid mining houses in reducing operational downtime by maximising concrete technology and underground design. A significant portion of cement produced in Africa is used by the mining industry for mine construction and maintenance, with both cement consumption and mineral consumption being key indicators of economic growth and development across the region.
South Africa in particular is committed to global partnerships in development, even recently signing a Memorandum of Understanding with Canada for cooperation in mining development to encourage increased reciprocal investment in exploration and prospecting activities. Namibia recently topped the ranks as the most attractive jurisdiction in Africa for mining investment, followed closely by Botswana. “As the Southern African region becomes a more attractive destination for both mining and construction projects, the African Construction and Totally Concrete Expo host a timely platform to unpack the innovation and technology matrix that is transforming the mining sector in Africa and in the world,” says Jacques Smith, Owner of Go-Consult in South Africa and speaker at the Concrete in Mining seminar.
Bheki Sibiya, CEO of the South African Chamber of Mines, will also be in attendance to open the event and highlight new opportunities for the growth and expansion of the industry as required by shifting demographics and global demand. Gerbrandt Bezuidenhout, Civil Engineer from Anglo Gold Ashanti will also be at the event to speak about challenges facing mining operations such as concrete corrosion underground and structural integrity and testing for underground shafts.
The Concrete in Mining forum is co-located with African Construction and Totally Concrete Expos, which is expected to see over 6000 attendees from approximately 1000 companies cross its threshold and will be hosted at the Sandton Convention Centre from 12-14 May. www.totallyconcrete.co.za