Cop­per In­dus­try in Cri­sis, New Ar­eas Pur­sued – Beg­bie

Zambian Business Times - - FRONT PAGE -

Dreyer said that, in his ex­pe­ri­ence, at­tend­ing such an event was “vi­tal” to the fu­ture well-be­ing of the in­dus­try and to Thos Beg­bie. “One needs to be seen and net­work with as many peo­ple as pos­si­ble, ev­ery­one there has the same in­ten­tion, and new and re­newed con­tracts are vi­tal tools for deeper pen­e­tra­tion into Cen­tral Africa.”

The com­pany looks for­ward to meet­ing new peo­ple in the in­dus­try and see­ing how the in­dus­try is grow­ing and be­ing sup­ported by more in­vestors. Dreyer notes that, ow­ing to im­prov­ing po­lit­i­cal sta­bil­ity in the re­gion, there is more in­vest­ment and, there­fore, the min­ing and pro­cess­ing of cop­per is grow­ing. He also men­tions that global de­mand is in­creas­ing as re­new­able en­ergy “takes off as a growth in­dus­try”.

Mean­while, Thos Beg­bie is com­plet­ing the pa­per­work to es­tab­lish a branch, called Thos Beg­bie Zam­bia (Lim­ited), in Kitwe; the com­pany ex­pects op­er­a­tions to start at the end of July.

Thos Beg­bie had to travel to ex­ist­ing clients in the area sev­eral times to de­ter­mine whether they would use the com­pany’s ser­vices and, thus, make it vi­able to es­tab­lish a branch.

“The need be­came ob­vi­ous and clients were de­lighted that we in­tended to have a tech­ni­cal pres­ence close by.”

“The rea­son we are es­tab­lish­ing the new branch is that we want to be on hand for our clients and move the op­er­a­tions that we have been do­ing from South Africa there to shorten de­liv­ery time and be more re­ac­tive,” he says.

More­over, he notes that the lo­gis­tics of trav­el­ling be­tween South Africa and Zam­bia has been daunt­ing and of­ten takes too long, which can be par­tic­u­larly prob­lem­atic when a client needs ur­gent at­ten­tion. He adds that it is not sus­tain­able for the com­pany to con­tinue deal­ing with the chal­lenges in­volved in trans­port­ing high-value equip­ment in and out of Zim­babwe and Zam­bia.

“Hav­ing a pres­ence there will pro­vide clients with greater con­fi­dence in our abil­ity to re­act rapidly to their of­ten-ur­gent re­quire­ments. Our main aim is to deal with ur­gent break­downs and re­pairs on site, and have ex­perts on hand to deal with ev­ery even­tu­al­ity on a 24/7 ba­sis,” Dreyer states.

The branch will ini­tially be staffed by two South Africans, with a backup team avail­able to travel there when­ever needed. The man­ager will de­ploy Zam­bia res­i­dents, who may need ad­di­tional train­ing. The cur­rent plan is to start with four ar­ti­sans and ex­pand ac­cord­ing to the growth progress, Dreyer states.

He com­ments that Thos Beg­bie has pre­vi­ously re­sisted in­vest­ing fur­ther into Africa, ow­ing to the high risks in­volved in do­ing busi­ness on the con­ti­nent. He ex­plains that an owner of Thos Beg­bie in the past lost a con­sid­er­able amount of money and as­sets in the DRC when a tribal battle over land and min­eral rights re­sulted in the loss of a fur­nace and as­so­ci­ated pro­cess­ing equip­ment, which were seized by rebels.

“How­ever, we find that Zam­bia has re­ally proved it­self as an in­vest­ment des­ti­na­tion and we are con­fi­dent of be­ing suc­cess­ful and in­tend us­ing this base as a spring­board into other coun­tries in that re­gion,” he con­cludes.

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