The year 2016 was a breakout year for mining, as the industry witnessed the advent of the initial signs of its recovery. The industry marches on to 2017 with renewed energy and confidence, all set to ride the coming growth wave. Is the cycle of uncertainty really over for mining? Majid Zahid, Altaaqa Global, in a free-wheeling conversation.
|Majid Zahid, Chief Commercial Officer, Altaaqa Global|
The year 2016 was a pivotal year for the global mining sector.
Last year, the industry saw nascent signs of recovery and growth, spurred by strengthening commodity prices, revitalized exploratory activities, and re-engineered operational and financial strategies.
The industry, therefore, rings in 2017 with heightened optimism and a fervent hope that the much-anticipated next growth wave finally comes.
The wait may be over, as the green shoots are gradually emerging: Commodities has returned to a bull market and many mining companies are seeing a consistent recovery in value. In fact, 2017 is touted to be an encouraging year for mining stocks, buoyed by increased free cash flow, positive earnings momentum and the prospect of distributing excess capital to shareholders.
Indeed, mining’s recovery was never a question of “if”, but rather of “when”. And for many mining industry players, the “when” starts now.
“From the standpoint of a power solutions provider”, says Majid Zahid, Chief Commercial Officer of global multi-megawatt temporary power provider Altaaqa Global Caterpillar Rental Power, “we observe that the industry, together with its allied stakeholders, is actively preparing for the growth cycle at hand.
“For example, an increasing number of mining companies have resumed funding new and expansion projects in the interest of capitalizing on the expected upturn. Investors are once again enticed to finance various segments of the industry, riding high on its impressive showing in 2016.”
Zahid also notes that governments have ramped up their support for mining companies in terms of exploring local and cross-border opportunities by allocating significant funds for mining activities and eliminating obstacles in doing business.
“Looking at the trend,” says Zahid, “the next few years may see the establishment of new mines and the expansion of a number of existing mines. Then, more than ever, electricity will be essential in powering their operations.
“Be they nascent mine sites or established mine operations looking to grow, our multi-megawatt temporary power plants will be able to satisfy their power demands. Our power plants are scalable so they can provide the exact amount of electricity needed by mine sites of any size.”
Zahid says that temporary power plants also represent an excellent choice for mining companies looking to explore new opportunities in remote sites. “Rental power plants can be delivered and installed anywhere in the world, so mining companies can rest assured that wherever they are, we can provide them power.” He says that the latest rental power systems have cutting-edge technologies that allow them to shift operational mode in minutes, and to directly connect to the grid even if sub-stations are absent.
He, however, sounds a caveat. “Though the industry appears to be on its way to recovery, mining companies should still, to a certain extent, practice caution, especially in terms of utilizing their capital.”
Zahid endorses the view that turning to temporary power plants cushions mining companies from making huge investments in permanent infrastructure, like power generation facilities. “For a mining company, it may not make sense to make an outright investment in a permanent power plant, especially during the formative stages of a mine or the initial phases of a mine development or expansion. These are crucial times in a mine operation when its future of is still uncertain.”
Zahid says that by choosing to rent power during these stages presents a win-win situation for mining companies. “When the operations grow, they can choose to add modules to the temporary power plant to increase its capacity. In case the project proves unsuccessful, the rental power plants can be easily demobilized, leaving no permanent system unutilized or that will need constant maintenance or repair.”
Altaaqa Global Caterpillar Rental Power is presenting the latest technologies in rental power generation at the 2017 Mining Indaba – the world’s largest mining investment conference. The company’s executives welcome you to booth 924, from the 6th through the 9th of February.
The Indaba, held at the Cape Town International Convention Center in South Africa, has attracted participation from heads of states, high-ranking government officials, global mining companies, technology and service providers and other significant stakeholders.
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