Earlier this month, IMM Events held its 3rd annual Africa Iron Ore conference. The high-level industry event brought together executives from around the world to discuss the biggest opportunities and challenges in the current market, with a particular focus on the iron ore developments in the African continent. Our media partner Mining Weekly reported extensively from the event. We have summed-up the most interesting observations that came out of the gathering in Cape Town.
The challenging market conditions – as Andrew Hodge asked in the opening presentation: Is the golden age over? – have led to a different tone by many industry representatives when it comes to the delivery of huge projects and overcoming logistical challenges. As Mining Weekly’s publishing editor Martin Creamer noted, “the words ‘clustering’, ‘collaboration’ and even a ‘commune approach’ in order to avoid balance sheets being overburdened” where repeatedly heard in the conference room.
“There’s little we can do about markets, there’s little we can do about pricing. However, for the markets that are available, costs will be the major contributing factor in survival, “ Brian van Rooyen, General Manager Ferrous at Exxaro Resources said. “ Clustering is an important phenomenon, especially because of the cost involved in infrastructure.”
Collaboration was also a major focus of Tata Steel Minerals’ Managing Director, Somdeb Banerjee who delivered a presentation on emerging miners of iron ore in Northern Cape. “If we all work together, we can probably make a lot of things change and that’s the aspiration of the emerging miners,”’ Mr Banerjee said.
Industry Champion Dave Cousins from the Industrial Development Corporation of South Africa (IDC) brought some exciting news about the progress of the commercialisation of the Finesmelt technology that the IDC take to commission this month. “It’s an efficient process and we have got high hopes and great expectations for the project,“ Mr Cousins said.
More detailed reports about the presentations held at Africa Iron Ore 2013 can be viewed on the Mining Weekly website. Articles include: