Time Mining Group
The Time Mining Group of companies has the resources to project manage, design, develop, and operate medium-sized mines and metallurgical operations. With its directors among its shareholders, the Group focuses on the client’s needs and timely decision-making.
It has been building its reputation in the industry for the nearly 25 years. CEO Peet Visagie says: “The company was founded in 1987 by a bunch of engineers involved in the mining industry. It grew from there. We acquired a laboratory contract for an outsource laboratory in South Africa and started doing that work as well, then two years later we added a building company called Dump & Dune.”
Dump & Dune
Dump & Dune is among the Group’s core business units, which also consists of Time Mining & Processing, Performance Laboratories, Time Mining Laboratories, Time Mining Malaysia, and Time Mining Operations. After Dump & Dune was added to the Group its projects division grew by leaps and bounds, as it started to tackle projects in the gold market ranging from material handling to the workings of Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) plants.
The firm also got involved in designing, constructing and commissioning mining, with Time Mining completing more than 100 assignments and projects; managing mining operations, with 100,000 tonnes per month open gold mine and CIL plants currently under management in Tanzania; due diligence investigations and feasibility studies, with assignments completed for Harmony Gold Mining Company, Highland Gold, Menora Resources (for the Wadi Medden gold mining project in the Republic of Yemen), President Steyn Gold Mining Company (currently owned by Thistle), Banff Resources (a dump re-treatment project at the Kilembe Mine in Uganda), EGMF (a ferro manganese plant at Kisenge in the Democratic Republic of Congo), and Champion Resources (a phosphate mine in Guinea Bissau).
Clients comprise most of the major South African mining firms, including several Johannesburg Stock Exchange listed companies, and mining companies from the UK, Canada and Australia. Besides significant experience in South Africa, projects and operations are ongoing, or have been completed, in Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Congo (Congo Brazzaville), Malawi, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea Bissau, Uganda and Senegal. Projects and assignments have also been completed outside of Africa, in Madagascar, South America (Paraguay and Peru), the Republic of Yemen, the Russian Federation, Kazakhstan.
But Time Mining Group has not always been so geographically expansive. Around 1998 the company expanded with clients into Africa, ranging from Zambia, Mozambique and Ethiopia. In Ethiopia it built its first 125,000-tonnes-a-month plant for the only gold mine in Ethiopia. “It was quite a milestone,” says Visagie.
“From there on, we started to become more visible in Africa specifically and we won a contract to build a processing plant for a client in Tanzania.
“From the South African base, we were able to grow the laboratories into Tanzania, then we set up in Malaysia and we have just finished setting up in Zimbabwe a huge laboratory with a capacity of at least 50,000 samples a month. It is very modern, with the latest technology in terms of sample preparation and splitting, single pot moulds and so on.”
Watching for opportunities
The company has seen the market in Zimbabwe changing slowly but the mining sector has gradually grown. “We have identified the opportunity and we have calculated the risk, and we have good confidence that the mining industry in Zimbabwe will continue to grow,” says Visagiee. “We realize that there is not enough space for two big laboratories like ours, so we hope to have the lion’s share of the total assay market in Zimbabwe. The laboratory was commissioned in April and it is now in its second month in operation.”
The downturn in the economy, even in the commodities market, has not had much of an impact on Time Mining Group. “We saw a slowdown but really did not get to a point where we were concerned,” says Visagie. “There has been a big impact in that we have had to add new staff, get new premises, get the right chemical and electrical engineers on board, and to increase our growing office significantly to cope for the design phase of our projects because we do both engineering procurement, construction management and turnkey projects.”
Time Mining Group has at least 230 projects under its belt, covering 50 African countries, and successful developments in Malaysia, Russia and Kazakhstan.
“We have really got quite a wide footprint for a company based in South Africa. In the last six or seven years, 30% of our revenue has been from sources aboard, rather than in South Africa,” says Visagie.
“We have been all over, in different countries, giving our design work, getting it signed off in countries that are a bit more bureaucratic, and we pride ourselves on adapting very easily outside of South Africa.”
The next frontier for the company is to focus on West Africa where a number of new gold mines have started to crop up over the past five years. The company’s first Ghanaian division, Time Mining Ghana, has just started up, allowing the Group to be closer to the market in that region. “We have a laboratory coming up, and we have been in talks with bigger companies like AngloGold Ashanti in terms of setting projects and doing projects for them in Ghana,” says Visagie. “Key for us strategically is setting up Time Mining Ghana and developing the company to become a springboard for us in West Africa. We want to be known in West Africa as a quality company that delivers on time and is competitively priced.”
The company has a bright view of the market’s future. Visagie says: “I am a cautious optimist and we are loving the value that gold has. We think that it will be with us for the foreseeable future, a two- to five-year horizon, because of the world economy and where it is. There is a significant drive to open gold projects. People can raise funds in the UK, North America and Australia for exploration projects which is a real sign that there is a drive behind gold. Our pricing is competitive and we are still in the small-to-medium sector so we have the ability as a board to make decisions fast, to invest fast, and most of the revenue goes back into the company in order to set ourselves up to have a bigger base.”