In the mining industry, it is often forgotten or overlooked how important power generation and the supply of long term power truly is in determining the success of an operation. Be it at the planning, exploration or even production stage of a project, power generation is crucial.
This is what Aggreko prides itself on. After all, the company’s own motto reads: “We’re with you from start to finish.”
But, as Brano Kollar, Area General Manager for South & East Africa points out, the company promises much more than that.
For Kollar, it starts with a simple belief that the true value of power generation extends well beyond the realms of profitability and efficiency.
“As a company we believe in the positive impact of power and the ability to control temperature,” he added. “We believe it opens up opportunity, and creates potential for individuals, communities, industries and societies all over the world.
“Together and over time, we believe that our services make a massive difference.”
Through his role, Kollar oversees the company’s footprint across 20 countries in South and East Africa.
Currently, Aggreko has active projects in six of those 20 countries but the company has ambitions to expand its project portfolio further.
The African mining industry of 2018 is an industry full of hope. Over the last two years it has witnessed a significant increase in foreign investment into the sector, with commodity prices increasing alongside this investment.
Kollar, having worked with the company since 2007, has seen first-hand this shift and feels that right now is a very exciting time for South and East African mining.
“It is true that we are seeing a positive trend in the sector from commodity prices,” he says. “South and East Africa has a huge potential for mining and we are already working on some very interesting projects in countries such as the DRC, Sudan and Zimbabwe to name a few.”
Aggreko’s portfolio has seen the company deliver an 8MW power plant to Banro Corp in the DRC as well as designing mobilising and commissioning a 28MW power package for Bisha Mining in Eritrea.
In late 2017, Aggreko entered into a partnership with Hummingbird Resources to fully commission a 7.4MW diesel power facility on site in Mali, where Aggreko will complete turnkey solutions as part of a full operations and maintenance team on site. Kollar points to the company’s generators and indeed their flexibility and efficiencies which will provide a “seamless supply of power”.
As the company promises, Aggreko works with the partners until the very end and Kollar believes that to achieve and deliver on this promise is to foster and develop partner relationships with a long-term view in mind.
“Our role is to ensure that customer needs and contractual obligations are met throughout the operational period, of course,” he says. “But beyond that, we are firm believers in building a positive and long-term partnership with our customer and their satisfaction is our upmost priority.”
In the journey of delivering large scale power generation services to an industry that can sometimes be volatile and often unstable, it is not without its challenges.
Kollar concedes as much, alluding to the timeline from the initial feasibility stage to financial close right through to breaking ground providing a great deal of uncertainty.
But where Aggreko stands tall is in that customer and partner relationship.
“We are ready to work along with our customers to support them in these various phases,” Kollar says. “What makes us unique is that we have the expertise when it comes to design and engineering of power solutions specifically for the mines, hence we have unparalleled strength to provide additional value for our customers.
“They can truly rely on Aggreko during any challenge and difficulty that comes as part of a project.”
Aggreko has been the power industry leader for over 50 years, giving the company that reputation for unparalleled strength. This is a reputation that is built upon high reliability and flexibility, being made up of a team of highly skilled and experienced people that Kollar believes really makes a difference in the overall value proposition.
As with any mining operation, a commitment to safety, responsibility and ethical standards are essential, and for as much as Aggreko prides itself on delivering a service to the customer that is unrivalled in the industry, Kollar understands this importance.
“We actively engage in supporting the local communities we work with,” he says. “We recruit, train and develop local people and provide them with the skills to really enrich their lives.”
This extends beyond developing a workforce. Aggreko is an active participant in the local community and ensures that for as long as the company works in a particular geographical location, it does whatever it can to leave a lasting legacy of change.
“Our local workforce helps us build relationships in the local community which are very important to us as a company,” says Kollar. “Our charitable donations are largely focused on the education and wellbeing of children, such as our support of the Book Aid International programme.”
Aggreko has worked closely with and been a strong advocate of the Book Aid International programme for more than 10 years. It has seen Aggreko donate more than 150,000 books to 10 African countries.
The company has also partnered with Ethik Investment to supply solar panels and IT equipment to a local school and neighbouring villages. This, Kollar feels, is further example of how Aggreko not only stays with the customer throughout a project but goes above and beyond in order to add true value to a local community.
As Aggreko continues to deliver market leading services, as it has done for more than 50 years, the company continues to invest in cutting edge technologies. With plans to expand and develop its portfolio with projects in more African countries, Kollar is keen to stress that for Aggreko the focus will always remain on one important thing.
“We remain focused to serve our customers in the best possible way whilst continuously working on our key strategic objectives,” he says. “2018 provides significant opportunities across Africa and we want to further expand our operations and continue to build sustainable and long-term relationships with our customers and our strategic partners alike.”