"In terms of sustainability, our modular offering is key, because the technology is based on the idea that each mine operates within an external environment, not only geological, but also natural and societal."
Could you remind our audience about Maxam’s main expertise and geographic reach, highlighting how has the business adapted through the pandemic?
Maxam is a global technology firm with over 40 years of experience in Africa and a presence in 12 countries. Mali, Ghana, Mauritania, and Zambia are our principal markets, and we seek to deepen our reach in Ivory Coast and Burkina Faso through new ventures. Our customer base, including 30 main clients, cover both the gold and copper sectors. With the Covid-19 pandemic, 2020 has been a challenging year for Maxam, yet we have managed to use our extensive network and infrastructure in Africa- including production facilities and stores in different countries, as well our expertise of the transport network in Africa- to cope with the pandemic and embrace new perspectives. Despite the challenges the team was confronted with, we managed to ensure continuity for our customers, through which we proved ourselves to be a robust company with internal strength to react, collaborate with clients, and with a reliable supply chain setup.
Could you elaborate on the growth potential you see for Maxam’s expansion in Ivory Coast and Burkina Faso?
The gold price has climbed significantly, suddenly increasing the profits of producers and making the commodity more attractive. In mature markets like Ghana, there are not many greenfield projects in the pipeline, but existing producers are taking more risks to ramp up production. Comparatively, in younger markets like Ivory Coast and Burkina Faso, there is immense organic growth potential through new discoveries; a good indication of growth in these countries is through the number of new projects taking off, while in Ghana, existing projects push ahead to either reach production or boost production. Ghana is our strongest base and the country offers very good infrastructure for suppliers like Maxam.
Could you walk us through Maxam’s most recent technological innovations, including the launch of X-Energy?
X-Energy is a pioneering technology that integrates selective energy applications with rock properties, such as density adjustment, in an automated, customized application, specific to each project. It’s a new concept combining the most advanced explosives technology in the market (Smart Rioflex) that enables the instant application of a wide range of variable energy, and a set of digital tools for optimized blast design and execution, integrated by MAXAM Blast Center. The market has been very receptive to our modular offering. By using automated technologies we reduce costs and also see safety benefits, as we reduce human exposure and take better control of each intervention.
How is Maxam responding to growing concerns around environmental sustainability?
In terms of sustainability, our modular offering is key, because the technology is based on the idea that each mine operates within an external environment, not only geological, but also natural and societal. Modular technologies ensure we are perfectly matching the specifications of each environment. Also, we are developing solutions to prevent the overuse of oil, and we are working on a project to recycle oils. When mining operations are near local communities, we make sure to only use electronic detonators to reduce noise pollution.
Maxam has a long-running partnership with the University of Mines and Technology in Tarkwa. What opportunities for synergies does such a partnership open?
Maxam has always been very committed to social initiatives. Besides Tarkwa, we have partnerships with various institutions, including a hospital in Ghana, an orphanage in Burkina Faso, and a school in Ivory Coast. The university collaboration has allowed Maxam to hire many graduates, creating important knowledge synergies. We developed internal programs to offer young engineers employment opportunities too. Such initiatives are an expression of our commitment to the wellbeing, training and caliber of our people, who are our main asset.