In the run up to the Investing in Africa Mining Indaba in February 2019, African Mining asked a few regular contributors about the outlook and challenges for 2019.
In our first interview, Breton Scott, head of projects and business development at ATI and managing director of Bowline, tells us that Africa is thriving with opportunity. “As long as you are prepared to be open minded, creative and flexible in the way you conduct business,” says Scott.
The mining industry is certainly picking up. Exploration spend is on the rise and projects that were put on hold, have secured funding to take their projects forward.
According to Scott, the real challenge in Africa is the shortage of human resources. He says that Africa has many highly qualified professionals and a large contingent of unskilled labour.
“The shortage lies in-between; that is, skilled engineering labour and lower to mid-management or supervisory skills. I have seen many individuals with certificates showing that they are suitably qualified in these areas, but because of limited employment opportunities, these individuals are no longer ‘job ready’. The youth or school leavers are the ones who are not getting the opportunity to gain skills that can make them marketable and employable,” says Scott.
Scott continues, “It is important to find ways to engage communities, authorities and stakeholders whereby one can start generating a pool of resources during a mining feasibility study, for example. This will provide a pool of resources ready for the project execution and construction phases. One company that is taking the lead in this area is the Artisan Training Institute, which is actively developing their modular training solutions where they are taking training to the learners, rather than taking the learners to the training.”