From humble yet ambitious beginnings, Abdoulaye Diallo, GM of SFTP Mining, reveals how the Company is now conquering the West African mining industry
For years, the resource rich African continent has been in the spotlight, perhaps more so today than ever before.
It is estimated that the continent accounts for approximately 12 percent of global oil production, has the world’s most extensive precious metal reserves, and is home to roughly 30 percent of the planet’s total mineral resources.
Accommodating some of the most substantial reserves of gold, bauxite, cobalt and diamond, mineral exploration is a significant economic contributor for a vast number of African countries. And whilst international players are increasingly looking to access this illustrious market, a number of local firms have already established themselves as key players in the region.
In steps Societe de Forage et des travaux Publics (SFTP).
Part of the Diallo and Sons Group (DSG), SFTP has been fundamental to the development of major mining and civil construction operations throughout West Africa, accounting for 80 percent of the total mining output in both Mali and Burkina Faso alone.
“We began from modest beginnings during the gold exploration boom in Mali as a small Malian-based earthmoving and equipment company in 1990,” reveals Abdoulaye Diallo, the Company’s General Manager.
“But, I am proud to say that through a focus on fostering strong client relationships and delivering quality projects, the business has grown into one of West Africa’s premier mining and civil contractors and is a leading player in the provision of these services across the resources, government infrastructure, building and manufacturing industry sectors.”
An esteemed ethos
In the years since its inception, SFTP Mining has consistently maintained a positive growth trajectory, working to develop some of the continent’s largest mining and civil construction projects.
However, despite the evident progress that SFTP Mining has made, Diallo believes that there is more to come, owed to the Company’s successful ethos and ambitious mindset.
“Having developed our portfolio, we now have extensive operational experience in major projects in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), made up of 15 member countries that are located in the West African region,” Diallo states.
“As a local contractor, it quickly became clear that we needed a reputation that was on par with multinational companies, and from here on out we will continue to retain this approach in achieving our long-term goals.”
“Simply, our vision is to be a leading African mining and civil construction company.”
This local-centric philosophy is reflected throughout the SFTP’s operations, evident in the firm’s employment strategy.
“As part of our flexible and innovative approach to contracting we look to employ local people from villages close to the mines where we operate, providing them with the necessary skills and expertise through stringent training methods,” says Diallo.
“Our project teams are backed by an experienced local corporate management team, an integrated and innovative contract management system, and a strong commitment to safety and the environment.
“In my eyes, our diversified people are our key asset and will enable us to be the leading mining contractor in Africa, improving the lives of all of our stakeholders.”
By the operating on the ground in local communities, SFTP Mining is not only able to help develop local economies, but it is also better positioned to help identify what its client’s needs are, based on low overheads and the implementation of simple but effective systems.
“I believe that this focus is key to our success,” Diallo continues. “Our trademark is an ease of doing business with zero arbitration and provides a great deal of flexibility to the owners.”
This approach has been particularly successful in the Company’s work with junior miners, such as Perseus Mining, providing a full range of services, from construction to planning to rehabilitation.
Using SFTP’s expertise to minimise capital exposure, client mine owners are able to focus their own core capabilities on other areas such as exploration, sales and marketing practices.
Offering such an expansive range of solutions, SFTP has worked with some of the world’s leading engineering and resource firms including Randgold Resources, Endeavour Mining, Newcrest Mining, IAMGOLD, Anglo Gold, SENET and Lycopodium.
“Contract mining is fundamentally about managing risk and we manage risks around workforce availability, OHS and environmental incidents,” Diallo adds.
To the future
SFTP Mining has equally established a successful supply chain through these methods, collaborating with local partners in landlocked countries to quickly deploy the necessary expertise that its clients require.
Most recently, the firm successfully secured two five-year contracts from the Endeavour Mining Group at its location in Hounde, Burkina Faso and its new CIL project in the Ivory Coast.
Through benchmarks operations such as these, SFTP Mining expects that it will be able to further strengthen its regional position and spread its marketability – a prospect that should allow the firm to secure a range of new major projects.
Diallo concludes: “The last couple of months have been very exciting as we have begun implementing our strategic goals in the aim of becoming the leading mining contractor in Africa.
“In the next five years, we expect to roll these strategies out across all 15 countries in the ECOWAS region. It’s certainly going to be exciting times ahead.”