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Australian business interest in Africa’s resources sector triples

Austrade media release

8 February 2011

Australia’s commercial interests in the African resources sector are expanding rapidly, almost tripling in number since 2005, according to a new survey by the Australian government.

The Australian High Commissioner to South Africa, Ms Ann Harrap, said there were approximately 220 Australian mining and oil companies with some 595 projects across 42 countries in Africa. 

“The growth in Australia’s commercial presence on the continent in the last few years has been extraordinary, with around 48 companies and 143 new projects added in 2010 alone,” Ms Harrap said.

"Australia’s mineral and resources companies have more projects in Africa than in any other region of the world, covering all types of mining projects from exploration to smelters and service company offices, and all the major minerals,” she said.

Australia’s growing commercial presence in Africa’s resources sector has been revealed in new research from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Austrade’s Senior Trade Commissioner to Sub-Saharan Africa, Greg Hull, said this strong interest was reflected in the solid Australian participation in Mining Indaba, one of the world’s largest mining trade shows that kicks off in Cape Town this week.

“The Australian participation in Indaba echoes this growth in Africa with the number of Australian companies attending doubling over the last five years,” Mr Hull said.

“This year nearly half the companies attending are 'first timers' with the widest spread to date of industries including major, junior and start-up mining companies, engineering, equipment, and services both direct (e.g. mining consultants) and indirect (e.g. legal, accounting and broking/capital firms).

“The Australian mining industry has a great depth of expertise to offer Africa with things such as tailoring technology and service provision and in products and directly-related services that can deliver an efficiency saving.”

Some of the Australian companies which will demonstrate at Indaba the kind of value-add expertise that Australia has to offer include;

  • Queensland company Runge’s online mining course, Smartminer, will be launched at Indaba this week. Smartminer is targeted at professionals, technical staff and graduates entering the mining industry, and will help improve productivity by enhancing the skills of a global workforce, irrespective of their location or time zone.
  • NSW’s aerial survey company, Hyvista Corporation, has just won a major contract to process aerial survey data and produce geological and mineral maps for the Namibian Geological Survey (GSN) using a relatively new and advanced remote sensing instrument developed in Australia. Hyvista has also done aerial surveys in other African countries, in South Africa, Angola, Botswana, Zimbawbe, Tanzania, Nigeria and Madagascar. 
  • Victoria’s Gekko Systems, the mineral processing and gravity solutions company, is celebrating ten years since the opening of its Johannesburg office this year.  Africa is leading the way with installations of Gekko’s latest innovative technology, the “Python” modular gold processing plant.  This radical invention has the potential to impact on a company’s global carbon footprint as well as significantly reduce overall mine operating costs.  The Python is the first modular plant that can be installed in a conventional five metre by five metre drive close to the mine face.

All seven of Australia’s Ambassadors and High Commissioners in sub-Saharan Africa will team up with Austrade and 45 Australian companies representing a strong presence at Indaba. The Australian Government will once again host the Australian Lounge, a joint initiative that has been run for the last five years by Austrade and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto have supported the Australian Lounge with sponsorship funds.

ENDS

Available for interviews:

Austrade’s Senior Trade Commissioner, Africa, Greg Hull, The Australian High Commissioner to South Africa, Ms Ann Harrap and other African-based High Commissioners and Australian companies participating in Mining Indaba.

Media contact

Samantha Mattila
Tel: + 61 (0) 2 9392 2388
Mob: + 61 (0) 434 567 673

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