Current Issue 52
Byrnecut Offshore is leveraging its international recognition in Africa as an underground mining contractor that offers its clients both a unique range of services and a wide range of experience
The Safest Future in International Contract Mining
Project Manager:Arron Rampling
Byrnecut Offshore has built up global recognition for applying its Australian-based expertise on four different continents; unveiling its first-hand knowledge and unrivalled skills to become a contractor, employer and all-round international operator of choice.
With services across mechanised underground mine development, shotcreting, equipment rebuilds, maintenance engineering, mine engineering consultancy services, labour hire, and raise drilling; the business’s diversity and intercontinental portfolio makes it second to none. And with experience in carrying out works in all climates, logistical conditions, language requirements and workforce skill-sets, clients are brought a certain peace of mind when embracing the Byrnecut service.
“Clients receive a safe, efficient and professional contracting service that allows them to optimise their safety, development and production and achieve a better bottom line,” affirms the Company’s Managing Director, Greg Jackson.
In attributing the business’s main differentiator though, he looks more internally, with the Byrnecut workforce the ultimate driver behind all aforementioned competitive advantages.
“People are at the core of Byrnecut’s success providing a professional and technically advanced operation,” he states. “This allows Byrnecut to offer a service that is above and beyond what is offered by our main competitors in terms of client net returns and value for money. This shared understanding of the business goals by all Byrnecut employees has rewarded Byrnecut with the current contracts it has”.
“As a business, the same standards apply to all parts of the Byrnecut Group making skills transfer easily achievable and providing clients with a much greater skill depth in terms of the workforce.”
Opportunities for advancement
Compounding this reliance on a market-leading staff complement is an equally vital local emphasis placed on the aforementioned employee strategy.
Usually instilling a minimum commitment when entering into new communities, Byrnecut then has the resources and experience available in-house to train and upskill individuals to the required level; not only creating a sustainable advantage for the Company itself, but providing a valuable step-up in the industry for workers beyond their time with the business.
“Byrnecut is an Australian Government-recognised training provider with the training and upskilling of a national workforce a key component of the Byrnecut model,” Jackson explains. “Depending upon factors, such as the skill sets present in the local communities and mining experience, Byrnecut typically utilises a less than 20 percent expatriate workforce, with this percentage decreasing over time as a national workforce is trained and upskilled.
“By example, Byrnecut has awarded more than 20,000 Resources and Infrastructure Industry (RII) training competencies to its personnel since 2013.
“The upskilling and opportunities for advancement for national personnel combined with Byrnecut’s core values ensures a high level of personnel and skills retention. Byrnecut has highly enviable levels of retention in its workforce especially when compared to similar contractor mining companies.”
The same focus on localisation is applied to Byrnecut’s supply chain management ethos too, with local procurement adopted extensively throughout the Group’s global remit; working on a local-national-international basis in terms of priority and preference.
This commitment to innovation and improvement once again has mutually beneficial undertones with each supplier’s quality, production processes and stock retentions being enhanced by Byrnecut’s extensive knowledge, and the latter adding a social enrichment string to its comprehensive mining bow.
“As part of being a socially responsible Company Byrnecut has a number of health and wellbeing programmes in place,” Jackson notes in regards to the Company’s wider corporate social responsibility activities. “A company within the Byrnecut Group is Sano Health and Safety, a safety consultancy Company. All Byrnecut sites run Sano programmes from injury prevention to mental health awareness. These programmes are designed to improve employees’ health and wellbeing.
“In general, Byrnecut will consult with a site client so that a joint and collaborative effort is put forward for any charitable or enrichment activities, especially in regards to the local community. Currently and in the past, Byrnecut has contributed to groups such as local schools, sporting teams, clubs and charity drives or events.
“Another company in the Byrnecut Group is Boab, an indigenous training Company. This company was setup with the aim of providing additional training and resources for indigenous Australians to gain employment. This programme is very successful, with graduates from the programme employed across all of the Byrnecut sites as well as at other mines.”
Evidently addressing areas of sustainability and longevity throughout its social, HR and supply chain strands, these present day considerations represent the latest phase in what has been a long journey for Byrnecut Offshore; a Company incepted in 2006 but manifested from Australian activities that go back to the 1980s.
Jackson recalls: “Byrnecut Mining was established in 1987 in Australia as an underground hard rock contract miner, later commencing operations outside of Australia in 1999 at Bulyanhulu in Tanzania. In 2006, Byrnecut Offshore was formed to provide a focus on the overseas operations.
“Since its inception in 2006 Byrnecut Offshore has grown as a business working at sites in Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Europe. Byrnecut Offshore currently has contracts at seven operations; two in the DRC, two in Tanzania, one in Saudi Arabia, one in Mali and one in Burkina Faso.
Now a pivotal arm of the Byrnecut Group, Byrnecut Offshore’s growth has been underpinned by a mission statement which places shared planning and performance measurement to provide value for money for clients at its core. This approach has subsequently facilitated a business model that can continuously improve, can react quickly to market trends, and can operate efficiently in the most challenging of economic climates.
“The Byrnecut Group of Companies offers a wide range of services from consultancy on mining studies through the mining value change of shaft sinking, project development and production operations, raise drilling, maintenance and engineering, electrical power distribution, automation, health, safety and training; which separates us from most other competitors,” Jackson emphasises. “Having access to a large range of mining-related companies within the Group gives us a competitive advantage for clients looking for a ‘one-stop shop’.”
Subsequent, proven experience - and success - across mine development and production techniques, as well as cutting-edge approaches to health & safety, maintenance, management and administration, has all culminated in some of the landmark projects that Byrnecut Offshore has become synonymous with over past decade.
“A major contract of Byrnecut Offshore that is still in operation is Kibali Gold Mine, a Randgold and AngloGold Ashanti joint venture. Byrnecut has been involved in the operation since supporting the boxcut and developing twin declines to access the orebody, and currently does decline and off-shaft development, stoping and all equipment maintenance.
“This is a high-speed mechanised operation that involves employing some of the latest technologies such as Sandvik DD422i drill rigs and teleremote operated LH621 loaders.”
Epitomising the scale of both the projects and the clients, a similar feather in the Byrnecut cap can be seen in Saudi Arabia via its Jabal Sayid Copper Mine, but it is Africa where the majority of the Company’s current works are being completed: other key contracts including the Bulyanhulu Gold Mine and Gokona Gold Mine, both in northwest Tanzania; the Kamoa Copper Mine in the DRC; and the Syama Gold Mine in southern Mali.
A period of exciting growth and expansion
Finished projects on the continent incorporate the Perkoa Zinc Mine in Burkina Faso; the South Deep Gold Mine, No. 20 Shaft, and Palabora Copper Mine in South Africa; the Dikulushi Copper Mine in DRC; the Munali Nickel Mine in Zambia; The Segala Gold Mine in Mali; and Obuasi in Ghana. And across each of these, the trademark Byrnecut Offshore specialities have been evident, across health, safety and quality standards.
“Firstly, this level of commitment to safety is not without its challenges, especially with large differences in languages and culture; but by not compromising values, Byrnecut has the safety record it has with the Byrnecut Group, not just Byrnecut Offshore, currently more than one year LTI (lost time injury) free,” Jackson says. “Right now the Byrnecut Group has done more than 7.5 million hours, LTI free.
“Another key parameter of Byrnecut when interacting with any communities is making sure that the benefits that we can bring to a community are sustainable, and given that the nature of mining is the use of a finite resource, we will continue to benefit the community after mining is finished.”
With the personnel and experience to utilise some of the most advanced mining technologies in the most remote and logistically challenging areas of the globe, ongoing investments are also made to keep ahead of the industry curve; recently comprising an enhanced reliance on automation within its equipment, and a more systematic approach to innovation and improvement when it comes to planning and scheduling.
“There are a number of exciting and potentially hugely beneficial technologies nearing reality now that Byrnecut has invested in and is looking forward to being at the forefront of rolling out,” the MD details. “With Byrnecut’s financially responsible approach, even in tough market times, it continues to invest in innovation and new technologies for rapid mine development and production.”
Byrnecut Offshore’s rise to prominence is therefore no fluke, but is a culmination of considerations and proactive continuous improvement across all facets; from internal technologies, equipment and people, to external commitments to communities, social enrichment and localisation. Ultimately, it is this combination of excellence that stands the business in perfect stead for even more concerted international prosperity in the future.
“In the next three-five years the aim would be to continue to grow in the areas where Byrnecut is known as well as expand further worldwide,” Jackson concludes. “As part of that expansion, Byrnecut would look to double yearly revenue; and as mine owners are now coming to terms with the new reality of commodity prices, we can see a period of exciting of growth and expansion for underground mining, as new projects come on line and existing open pit mines go underground.”