Mining

MIKE DA COSTA

MIKE DA COSTA Platform CEO

WHILE THE NEAR TERM REMAINS

SOMEWHAT UNCERTAIN, THE FORECAST

INCREASE IN CAPITAL INVESTMENT OVER

THE MEDIUM TERM BODES WELL FOR THE

PLATFORM, OFFERING A GOOD

OPPORTUNITY TO ACCELERATE OUR

GROWTH, BOTH ORGANICALLY AND BY

MEANS OF ACQUISITION.

Established in all major mining jurisdictions, the platform’s service offering spans the project life cycle, including feasibility studies, specialist engineering, vertical and decline shaft construction, mine development, specialist mining services such as raise boring and grouting, underground construction, contract mining and material handling solutions.

PERFORMANCE OVERVIEW

The platform is currently engaged on projects in Australia, Indonesia, Mongolia, Kazakhstan, South Africa, elsewhere in sub-Saharan Africa, Canada, USA and Mexico. These include 17 shaft sinking, equipping and shaft rehabilitation projects, 19 decline shaft and mine development projects, six production mining projects, 30 support and construction projects, and six major ore handling infrastructure construction projects. In addition, we also have 28 raise drilling machines currently deployed on projects around the world.

It was a challenging year as COVID-19 affected all our businesses to varying degrees, largely due to the containment measures imposed by clients and countries, and the impact of uncertainty on capital investment decisions.

Some regions were more severely impacted than others. The disruptions and their effect on the world economy resulted in an uncertain investment environment, which moved most mining companies to protect their balance sheets. Typically, the first response to such an environment is to limit capital expenditure, translating into project suspensions and deferrals.


Against this background, the earnings performance of Cementation Americas deteriorated significantly compared to last year. RUC Cementation Mining and Murray & Roberts Cementation were less impacted and both businesses achieved a much-improved performance.

Revenue decreased to R9,5 billion (FY2020: R12,0 billion) and operating profit decreased to R473 million (FY2020: R630 million). However, the order book increased to R23,2 billion (FY2020: R19,4 billion), and is supported by a strong project pipeline that we believe will deliver further growth during the year ahead.

In terms of our safety performance for the year, the LTIFR showed little change over the past two years and was 1.26 (FY2020: 1.37). The TRCR deteriorated slightly over the same period, and was 6.63 (FY2020: 6.60). The platform has achieved more than three and a half years without a fatal incident and won the award for the most improved safety performance in the annual Group CE Safety Recognition Awards.

All our businesses experienced the consequences of this to some extent, with several near-term pipeline opportunities stalling during the year. Together with the suspension of a major project in the USA, this resulted in a temporary deterioration of the order book, particularly in the Cementation Americas business.

Work on projects was interrupted as mine operators shut down sites in response to COVID-19 infections, particularly in Canada. Shift rotations were reduced to limit the number and frequency of people moving into and out of mine sites. Mine owners, to protect their balance sheets against the economic uncertainty, postponed capital investment decisions, resulting in project awards being delayed. Rio Tinto’s decision to suspend the Resolution project in the USA, which was a significant contributor to this business, exacerbated the situation.

In Australia, RUC Cementation Mining delivered a far stronger performance compared to last year. COVID-19 impacted this business to a lesser extent, except for projects in Mongolia and Indonesia. Very little work took place on the shaft sinking project in Mongolia, due to the national lockdown and travel restrictions imposed at the first sign of community transmission. This project is emerging from “caretaker” mode. Indonesia also implemented periodic restrictions on travel during the year, which made it difficult to manage the rotation of expatriate workers at times. Several vertical hoisting shaft projects came to market, a sector in which RUC Cementation Mining outperforms its competitors. The award of one of these opportunities in the second half of the year increased the order book compared to last year. There are at least three further opportunities in the pipeline, for which the business is well positioned, which should further grow its order book during the new financial year.

In South Africa, Murray & Roberts Cementation delivered an exceptional financial performance. It experienced some COVID-19 disruption which impacted on productivity, particularly during the second and third wave of infections in South Africa during January 2021 and June 2021, respectively. The order book remained stable and a significant increase in tendering activity during the second half of the year resulted in a very strong Category 1 (near-term) pipeline, that should result in order book growth in the new financial year.

MARKET OPPORTUNITY

The recovery of the world economy, fuelled by the stimulus programmes of major governments has resulted in a significant increase in demand for commodities. As a result, commodity prices have risen steeply over the past year and are forecast to continue their upward trend over the medium term. It is unclear whether this is the start of another super-cycle, although a ‘super-cycle of the few’ seems more likely, with significant demand growth contained to those commodities required to support efforts to decarbonise the world economy.

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the vulnerabilities in global systems. In particular, this has galvanised the attention of governments, businesses, investors and society in addressing climate change. A significant supply of raw materials will be needed to build the new technology and infrastructure required. Demand for these commodities (including copper, nickel, platinum group metals, cobalt, manganese, lithium and rare earth metals) is forecast to rise significantly over the coming decade, driving up prices and investment in mining them.

A large proportion of the platform’s order book is made up of projects in these ‘future-facing’ commodities. Our intention is to grow this proportion significantly in the future as our capabilities are aligned to servicing clients focused on these commodities.

While decarbonisation will boost the demand for some commodities, others will be negatively impacted. An obvious example is thermal coal. We have decided not to work in this industry except in South Africa, given its socioeconomic dependence on coal-fired power. We will therefore continue to mine coal for clients who supply the national power utility, Eskom.

We support our clients in reducing their carbon footprint through digital technology that improves the energy efficiency of our fixed and mobile plant in underground use. We also offer the use of battery powered equipment. We actively engage our suppliers to identify collaborative opportunities to reduce the carbon footprint of our supply chain.

STRATEGY

The platform’s operating model empowers our management teams to execute their mandates, based on a deep understanding of their regional markets, mining cultures and local networks. This is balanced with appropriate executive oversight, according to our governance framework. We also provide central support to our businesses, which includes global procurement initiatives and financing, where appropriate.

To build on the success the platform has already achieved, we continue to focus on two primary objectives: driving growth and deepening Engineered Excellence.

We will apply organic and acquisitive means to sustainably grow platform earnings.

We continue to assess opportunities for acquisitive growth. However, we are resolute that only valueaccretive opportunities that enable us to further diversify our revenue profile will be pursued.

Engineered Excellence defines our management approach at every level of the organisation. This operating philosophy means that we thoroughly plan everything we do to achieve excellent outcomes, with nothing left to chance. It challenges us to drive continuous improvement in project risk management and delivery, and in achieving industry-leading HSE performance – which is as important to our clients as it is to our employees.

Our digital strategy, which is well underway, will provide a step-change in consistently delivering Engineered Excellence in all our businesses. This will lend new support to our ability to provide specialist services that are clearly differentiated, both in the design and delivery of projects, consolidating our status as a contractor of choice.

CONTRACTOR OF CHOICE

Murray & Roberts Cementation has a formal Project Management Assurance Framework that ensures management and control of each project phase. It formalises a gated process that does not allow project progression unless all requirements of the preceding phase are met, and permission has been obtained to proceed to the next phase. The framework specifies five phases: tendering; start-up; planning; execution; and close-out of projects. A similar framework exists in Cementation Americas and the introduction of the framework to RUC Cementation Mining will be explored during FY2022, as it seeks to become a Tier-1 mining contractor in Australia.

Engineered Excellence

Over the next year, we will seek to deepen Engineered Excellence in the following areas:

Safety and risk management
  • Improving risk assessment processes and higher-level controls;
  • Strengthening the CRM programme to improve the management and reporting of critical risks, and more proactive responses to safety challenges; and
  • Reducing the interaction of people with process through mechanisation, remote control and automation.
Strategic procurement
  • Establishing formal collaboration agreements with equipment OEMs and large suppliers;
  • Identifying opportunities for global supply contracts with better terms than those secured on a regional basis; and
  • Exploring alternative asset ownership models that allow better leverage of global spending power and reduce the drag on working capital and idle equipment depreciation.
Productivity levels
  • Sharpening accuracy of execution;
  • Improving daily, short-term and medium-term planning;
  • Applying short interval control systems for more effective and timely responses to process interruptions;
  • Maximising the 24-hour day through remote control and automation; and
  • Improving equipment availability and utilisation.
Asset performance
  • Tracking equipment movements underground in real time;
  • Monitoring fixed and mobile equipment operating data to improve performance and eliminate waste;
  • Condition monitoring of major components on mobile and fixed equipment to support a predictive maintenance philosophy; and
  • Improving maintenance practices.
Management information
  • Consolidating a database of management information for the platform;
  • Benchmarking performance internally and externally; and
  • KPI reporting on all major projects, to provide more granular and accurate visibility of project performance at platform level.
Zero Harm

Our approach to health and safety management centres on continual improvement, founded on effective leadership, accountability and our extensive operational experience. Clear policies, standards and procedures and the competence and motivation of our employees, support our aspiration of Zero Harm.

Fatality prevention

Our fatality prevention efforts are largely focused on safety in design, thorough planning for safe execution and the management of critical risks.

The platform employs two systems to manage critical risk. Cementation Americas and RUC Cementation Mining have implemented the CRM programme, and Murray & Roberts Cementation the MAP programme. Every project team maintains a critical risk register along with a set of controls that must be implemented to mitigate the critical risks. To ensure the controls are effective, a control verification process is incorporated. This requires line personnel at various levels of seniority to conduct periodic checks on the status of critical controls. Independent system effectiveness audits are also conducted on a regular basis.

In addition, all our businesses have implemented HPH and HPI reporting. All HPHs and HPIs are thoroughly investigated, implementation and effectiveness of controls are interrogated, and measures are developed to prevent reoccurrences.

Injury prevention

Our efforts to prevent general injuries are supported by:

  • Training – all employees undergo appropriate training for their roles in one of our world-class training centres, as well as on-the-job training.
  • Standards and safe work procedures – we have developed comprehensive standards and procedures that are implemented at all our sites.
  • Pre-work planning – before any work commences, our teams are required to plan the work and ensure they understand what has to be done, why it has to be done, how they are going to do it and that they have the resources to do the work safely and efficiently.
  • Leadership and supervision – leaders and supervisors are held accountable for delivering safe, quality outcomes, which requires that they spend sufficient time observing, engaging and coaching work teams. It is their responsibility to ensure that all employees have the means and ability to do the work required of them.
  • High potential hazard and high potential incident reporting – we run onsite reporting programmes that encourage all employees to report potential hazards and incidents. These reports are analysed to proactively address safety risks and ensure that remedial action is implemented where required.
  • Learning and sharing – we take advantage of the experience of our diverse operations, clients and partners and share lessons learnt to improve safety across our operations.
  • PPE – all employees are issued with the best quality personal protective equipment, appropriate for the work they are doing.
Digitalisation

Our current digitalisation efforts are focused on three main areas of our business:

Asset maintenance

This includes managing the life cycle of assets to minimise the total cost of ownership by maximising availability, while balancing maintenance costs and operational risk. The following applications are in various stages of development and implementation:

  • Condition monitoring system – mobile equipment;
  • Condition monitoring system – fixed equipment;
  • Digital maintenance management system; and
  • Predictive maintenance capability.
Operational effectiveness

This includes initiatives that increase productivity and reduce variation in our operations through continuous improvement of processes, feedback and reporting, decision-making, quality control, deployment of resources and waste removal. The following applications are in various stages of development and implementation:

  • Electronic communications;
  • Automated data capture;
  • Al-assisted daily task planning;
  • Real-time tracking of mobile equipment;
  • Real-time tracking of tasks completed;
  • Automated plan versus actual analysis;
  • Automated reporting; and
  • Training interventions based on accurate data-driven operator assessments.
Autonomous and remote operations

This includes initiatives that use automation and remote operation of both fixed and mobile equipment to achieve improved safety, overall equipment effectiveness and/or labour efficiencies by using multi-machine functionality. The following applications are in various stages of development and implementation:

  • Remote, semi-autonomous operation of load haul dumpers;
  • Remote operation of development drill rigs;
  • Remote operation of production drill rigs;
  • Remote environmental monitoring;
  • Ventilation on demand; and
  • Remote pump monitoring and control.

Murray & Roberts owns a controlling share in InSig, a small but dynamic technology company based in Perth, Australia. InSig assists its clients to produce customised, fit-for-purpose mining solutions, and provides specialised electrical and control systems expertise. They manage the technology that is changing the face of mining, including underground communications, remote monitoring of equipment, digitisation and the interpretation of real-time data to drive operational efficiencies.

InSig offers services such as data analytics and machine learning capabilities to support deep, real-time insights, predictions and recommendations. Their team of specialists provide digital services comprising life-of-mine (including design), systems and processes to support operations and services.

EMPLOYER OF CHOICE

Best people practices

Ensuring leadership continuity is critical to achieving Engineered Excellence in all that we do. To this end, each of our businesses have leadership development programmes that provide training and coaching. High-performing individuals are identified through a structured performance management process and those earmarked for succession are included in the Talent Management Programme, which incorporates a personal development plan and mentoring relationship with a senior colleague. Their progress is reviewed periodically by a panel of senior executives.

We have a performance management system in place where employees and their managers agree on performance contracts and development plans at the start of each year. These are evaluated twice per year and linked to performance-based rewards.

The robust cycle of investment into mining in Australia is translating into an acute skills shortage. The recovery in mining activity in North America is also starting to accelerate and will lead to increased competition for skills in this region. In sub-Saharan Africa, shaft sinking and mechanised mining skills are scarce, which will be required to service the growth in investment expected in the region.

These factors, together with the requirement for mine owners and contractors to recruit and employ from communities near mines, make effective training and development essential. The platform has a strong training and development ethos and its two world-class training facilities, one in South Africa and one in Mongolia, have been recognised for their significant contribution to skills development in their respective regions. These training centres not only cater for the platform’s training needs, but also provide a training service to many of our clients.

In South Africa, the training centre offers training for learnerships sponsored by the Mining Qualifications Authority

RUC Cementation Mining has started a cadet programme, with the aim of recruiting novices to the industry and offering them the opportunity to become competent as equipment operators and tradesmen.

Employee relations are sound across all our businesses. In South Africa, where the workforce is unionised, management have professional and constructive relationships with union representatives and officials. No significant strikes or work stoppages occurred at any of our projects during the year.

Diversity and inclusion

All our businesses employ diversity policies appropriate to their regions of operation.

In South Africa, Murray & Roberts Cementation met its transformation targets for FY2021, achieving a Level 1 BBBEE score. This was achieved by ensuring that all major projects:

  • Recruit and train people from local communities to be employed on the project; and
  • Ensure local suppliers are selected to participate in supplier development programmes and procurement contracts.

Cementation Canada has an established diversity policy. Its diversity task group identifies actions to promote inclusivity and rolled out a diversity training programme during the year.

RUC Cementation Mining’s international workforce is comprised of employees recruited from local host communities.

CORPORATE REPUTATION

Localisation

We have a good record of recruiting and training people from local communities and providing opportunities for lasting employment on the mines that we build. We look for every opportunity to localise our supply chains and identify local businesses able to supply goods and services to our projects. We also build the capacity of local suppliers where required, so they are better equipped to supply the services required by ourselves or the mine owner.

Murray & Roberts Cementation established the Boipelo joint venture with Amandla TM, a black-owned mining contracting company, in FY2019. Boipelo is 51% owned by Amandla TM and provides contract mining services to the coal mining industry in South Africa. The joint venture performed well during the year and has recently been awarded a five-year underground mining services contract by Arnot Opco Coal Mine in Mpumalanga.

Murray & Roberts Cementation has local partners in other countries in Africa and local opportunities are pursued in joint venture with them. A recent example is the contract awarded in Namibia by B2Gold to Murray & Roberts Cementation, in joint venture with Lewcor, a local Namibian company.

Cementation Canada has joint ventures with First Nations groupings, which tender for work in the territories where they are resident. The company also works with local partners in Peru and Chile.

RUC Cementation Mining hires a large percentage of local people to resource its international projects, currently in Indonesia and Mongolia.

Ethical business practices

Senior management and key employees receive regular training on ethical business practices. Twice a year, senior management are required to complete a declaration to confirm that they are aware of the Group’s anti-corruption and bribery policies and are not aware of any instances where these policies have been breached. For every tender that is submitted, those involved in compiling the tender, together with the managing director of the company, formally declare that there was no unethical behaviour involved in the compilation of the tender.

All our businesses have an anonymous whistle-blower phone line that can be used to report incidents of fraud, corruption, or other unethical behaviour. The administrators of the call line refer complaints received to management, which are thoroughly investigated and appropriate action is taken when required.

Stakeholder engagement

Values-led and ethical conduct is the foundation of our intention to be recognised as a trusted partner to our stakeholders wherever we work in the world.

PROSPECTS

The world economy continues its robust recovery following the initial devastating impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many of our projects are still impacted from time-to-time as local outbreaks occur, but the effect of these disruptions on our financial performance is becoming less severe.

The strong rally in commodity prices, especially for future-facing commodities, has resulted in large cash surpluses for most mining companies. This is leading to forecasts of increased capital investment over the medium term. Some uncertainty regarding the timing and quantum of the investment remains, as mining operators are being conservative and waiting for the commodity upturn to firmly establish itself before committing to large investments.

FY2022 will be a year of rebuilding of order books after the COVID-19 induced erosion of the past two years. Strong growth is forecast for the period thereafter.

Project delivery

CEMENTATION AMERICAS

GLENCORE: ONAPING DEPTH SHAFT

The project scope involves the detailed design and construction of headworks, sinking plant, permanent hoisting plant, shaft furnishings and conveyances. A sub-vertical shaft, with collar elevation at 1 150m below surface, is currently being sunk to a depth of 1 480m below collar. The hoisting plant has been commissioned and construction of the head frame has been completed. The shaft is being equipped concurrently, and work progressed to around the half-way mark during the year. Difficult ground conditions and occasional seismicity has resulted in schedule slippage.

PALABORA MINING COMPANY: PALABORA MINE

The project scope is to sink a 1 000m ventilation shaft. The shaft has advanced approximately 250m from the collar on the surface. COVID-19 related interruptions and poor ground conditions resulted in numerous delays during the year.

LUNDIN: EAGLE MINE

The project scope involves a full-service contract for the life of the mine. The development of a decline ramp to reach a satellite orebody to extend life-of-mine has been completed and mining of the new orebody has commenced. This project has been free of lost-time injuries from inception and consistently delivers around 60 000 tonnes of ore per month, regularly meeting and exceeding the client’s expectations.

RUC CEMENTATION MINING

NEWMONT: TANAMI EXPANSION PROJECT

This project is a cost-reimbursable contract to construct permanent surface facilities (winders, conveyors, headframe) and equip and line a shaft that is 5.5m in diameter and 1 400m deep. Engineering and procurement work is at an advanced stage and the project team has recently begun preparations to start the work onsite.

MURRAY & ROBERTS CEMENTATION

DE BEERS: VENETIA MINE

The project scope is to construct the required infrastructure to transition the mine from an open pit to an underground mine. The sinking of two 1 080m shafts has been completed. The equipping of the production shaft is almost completed and shaft infrastructure development is underway. The decline ramp access system development continues and has progressed to a point approximately 570m below the surface.

KALAGADI: MANGANESE MINE

The project scope is to complete ore development, production ramp-up and contract mining for the first five years of operation. Challenges are still being experienced with the completion and de-bottlenecking of the existing underground and surface ore handling infrastructure, delaying the ramp-up of production. Despite these challenges, production rates have continued to ramp-up during the year, albeit at a lower rate than planned.

FREEPORT: OPERATIONS

The project scope entails shaft construction, installation, operation, maintenance and support of rail chutes at the Grasberg Block Cave mine, as well as shaft operation, maintenance and production mining at the Big Gossan mine. Performance continues to be outstanding with the team consistently exceeding monthly targets.

RIO TINTO: OYU TOLGOI MINE

The scope of work to be undertaken by the GCR joint venture, is to construct the surface infrastructure, sinking and associated infrastructure for two large-diameter shafts, and an underground crusher and ore flow infrastructure. This project has been severely impacted by the COVID-19 related shutdown, resulting in the client placing the shaft sinking projects on care and maintenance for the entire duration of the previous financial year. Shaft 4 sinking infrastructure is complete and commissioned, and sinking can begin as soon as work is allowed to resume. Shaft 3 sinking infrastructure construction will resume when the project restarts.