Mincon West Africa has built a reputation upon years of first-hand industry knowledge, creating an excellent opportunity to expand its operations in the future
Writer: Phoebe Calver
Project Manager: Donovan Smith
Mincon West Africa was incorporated in August 2010 in Senegal, forming one of the branches of the Mincon Group PLC family tree.
With the combination of the parent company’s four decades of engineering expertise and that of Managing Director, Martin van Gemert, with his hands-on experience of the mining industry, has ensured the success of Mincon West Africa.
“We opened the West African office with the aim of using our first-hand knowledge as an excellent sales tool for the Mincon Group’s world-class down-the-hole (DTH) hammers and bits,” explains the Managing Director. “What started out as a small home-office quickly blossomed and we achieved an increase in turnover of 523 percent in just two years; by our third year, our dedication to customer service and high-quality products ensured we became a well-known name in the region’s drilling and mining supply industry.
“Our staff complement grew and with that our sales and profits, with an increased turnover of 18 percent by the end of the third financial year. This was all achieved despite the difficult trading conditions at the time, calling for us to branch into a dedicated office space in Dakar.”
Since fruition, Mincon West Africa’s key value proposition and success driver is customer service focused, with both the Managing Director and his team making themselves available to customers on a 24/seven basis.
Fast-forward three years to 2016 and Mincon West Africa had made a strategic move to the Canary Islands, which kept it close to its customers’ West African operations.
“This move ensured we wouldn’t negatively affect our customer-centric approach or delivery times,” continues van Gemert. “The move to the European port has created an ease with which we are able to receive shipments from Mincon factories across the world, while also stocking the products in a customs-bonded warehouse to ship them to West African customers as required.”
In its present-day form, Mincon West Africa has a well-established multi-lingual team of experts and engineers that are ready to meet the needs of the growing customer base in the region.
van Gemert adds: “Alongside our focus on customer satisfaction, Mincon West Africa’s reputation has grown dramatically with thanks to the established reputation of our parent company. Both the quality and reliability of these Irish-engineered products has significantly improved the productivity at customers’ operations.”
As well as its customer-centric approach to the market, the Company invests significantly in both personnel and machinery for its research & development (R&D) department, ensuring that it has the resources for constant innovation and evolution in its product lines.
“These changes are informed by the feedback we receive from customers, demonstrating a testament to the facilitation of excellent relationships,” van Gemert affirms. “Of course, our ability to interpret the feedback and define what is and isn’t possible is incredibly important and this comes back to the technical competence of our engineering team, made up of a good mixture of both practical and theoretical disciplines.”
With thanks to the integration of Mincon Group PLC’s recent acquisitions, it is merging both systems and processes in all factories to ensure that we have one standard for the successful manufacture of its technologically advanced products.
“One iconic example of our strengths in the market has to be our involvement in the rescue of the 33 Chilean miners in 2010,” explains van Gemert. “Following the cave-in, engineers at our headquarters in Ireland worked closely with the mine and rescue team to develop a solution that used our reverse circulation technology, which was used to drill the holes that led to the rescue of the trapped miners.
“We have also developed horizontal directional drilling solutions for successful hard-rock trenchless installations and enjoy a strong presence in the Swedish geothermal market; more recently we have helped develop cutting-edge drilling solutions for magnetite iron ore drilling at the Citic Pacific mine in Cape Preston, Western Australia.”
In the current climate, many global markets are on the up, occurring off the back of a variety of macroeconomic factors. As a result of this, the appetite for exploration, mining and construction on the continent are on the rise.
The Managing Director continues: “With our current expansion plans we will be prepared to meet a significant share of this demand, especially in West and sub-Saharan markets.
“Rock drilling has many complex challenges within it and is an energy-intensive process to undertake; at Mincon we are working on technologies to make the process far more efficient moving forward. We continuously work with our customers to overcome their challenges, as well as lowering the operating costs and improving efficiency.”
In order to achieve and overcome challenges for its customers, Mincon greatly values all of its team members and places emphasis on the importance of professional and personal development in all areas relevant to its business.
“Since we started this branch of the organisation, we have recruited some of the industry’s best supply chain and logistic specialists, as well as technical support and sales engineers to provide us with expert consulting and advice to customers both remotely and on-site,” van Gemert describes. “Where it is necessary, our new members are introduced to the global team and production facilities, ensuring a close familiarity with products from design to manufacturing.
“As we are a global organisation at Mincon, we have internal training programmes that enable us to both develop and nurture talent. We pride ourselves on having some of the most qualified and knowledgeable staff in their respective industries, serving our clients in English, French, Spanish, German and Portuguese.”
The widely experienced team includes the Operations Manager, Angel Bouzas who brings many years of experience in logistics and customer support in the West African region. Technical Sales Manager, Pedro Cavadas, a qualified mining engineer with in-depth knowledge of the industry and Support Engineer Victor Gomez, a qualified mechanical engineer, have all proved to be invaluable assets to the Company.
Backing up this already excellent technical team are the dedicated administrative staff comprising Leticia Diaz, Imane Drissi, Nestor Santana and Mary Castillo, all of which are experts in finance, sales and logistics.
Over the years Mincon has specialised in providing products within the drill-segment, rather than the capital equipment such as drill rigs.
The Managing Director continues: “Our focus on drilling technologies is backed up by our on-site customer support and sound technical advice. At Mincon our engineers are dedicated to developing the best rock-drilling solutions in the world, ensuring we remain the leading choice in the market.”
The Company is proudly known for its exceptional approachability and innovative solution-based skill, outrivalling its competitors by offering them round-the-clock support in the pursuit of developing tailored solutions.
“Moving forward we hope to be the region’s preferred supplier for down-the-hole drilling solutions, with more than 50 percent of the market share,” concludes van Gemert. “We know that this will be made possible with support and product development from Mincon Group PLC, as well as our own team’s customer-centric attitude.”