SACEEC INTERVIEW: “Our members view Africa Mining Forum as an extremely important platform”

SACEEC INTERVIEW: “Our members view Africa Mining Forum as an extremely important platform”

Exclusive interview with Eric Bruggeman, Director and CEO of The South African Capital Equipment Council (SACEEC). He is also an official event ambassador for the upcoming Africa Mining Forum in Kigali.

Let’s start with some background on SACEEC, its members and its goals.
The South African Capital Equipment Council (SACEEC) currently has a membership base of around 165 members.

SACEEC started in 2000 as a public private sector partnership with the Department of Trade and Industry.

Its goals are:

  1. to introduce local manufacturers to the international market.
  2. to find projects for our members to supply
  3. and thirdly and most probably the most important is the networking which we arrange around the world for our members to meet potential buyers.

*See below for more detailed background on SACEEC.

What impact has the COVID-19 pandemic had on your members’ activities on the continent?
Covid-19 has had a huge effect on our members especially pertaining to activities on the continent.

Three main factors have restricted members a great deal. One, they are unable to travel so our members cannot sit in front of their customers. Secondly is the market growth that has come to a halt, especially for the members that are not registered as approved suppliers to the mines. Lastly, the fact that all exhibitions around the world have been cancelled, limits any activities around the continent.

How has SACEEC tried to mitigate the challenges that the pandemic has created?
SACEEC is currently busy updating and establishing a virtual business directory which will be sent to all mines, industry etc. and to their buyers. Hopefully this will be able to put our members and their products in front of their customers. We need to also take into account that the products which our members sell, are mostly specified products and specifically designed and manufactured for the end client. Hence, catalogue sales on platforms such as Takealot or Alibaba are not possible.

Tell us more about SACEEC members' interests in the East & Central African regions. Is this an important market already?
Africa, whether North, South, East or West is an extremely important market for the SACEEC members.

Opportunities lie in every country but there has always been an important market in these regions and will remain as such.

How excited are you about the mining opportunities in Rwanda and the region?
Extremely excited. Rwanda and that region has huge possibilities and the countries’ growth rate shows great potential. 

As event ambassador, why is Africa Mining Forum an important gathering for the industry?
Africa Mining Forum is vitally important for our industry and any platform where our members can meet and showcase their product is huge for our members.

Our members view Africa Mining Forum as an extremely important platform.

What surprises you about this industry?
The industry does not surprise me as much as the government does. 

It will take years for our industry to recover to the point of before Covid-19. However, we have a resilient industry and for those industries that will survive the Covid-19 and the down turn economy will certainly bounce back and become stronger in the future.  

More about the South African Capital Equipment Council (SACEEC)
The SACEEC represents the capital equipment and project sector for new projects and the aftermarket. It is also the endorsed representative body for the consulting engineers and their associated bodies, merchant bankers – with reference to their involvement in financing capital projects, capital equipment suppliers and suppliers of services to the capital project sector.

The SACEEC is an indispensable part of the globalisation of the Southern African industry and provides a facilitating role in assisting capital equipment sector companies to grow their business through exporting.

To that end, it takes a proactive role in, amongst others:

  • Assisting its members to maximise markets through providing early leads on opportunities
  • Organises outward selling and inward buying missions
  • Organises pavilions at international exhibitions and assists individual companies to attend specific exhibitions or engage in primary market research
  • Provides one-stop access to suppliers of the sector and simplifies the identification of suppliers for international sourcing
  • Provides the vehicle for encouraging the sharing of export related facilities and manpower and quarterly SACEEC meetings provide the opportunity for networking
  • Encourages the development of consortiums and the packaging of international projects
  • Facilitates liaison with all departments of government
  • Provides access to the combined voice of the sector on issues relating to finance
  • Industrial Policy – both development and application
  • Industry promotion.

The South African Capital Equipment manufacturing, and allied services sector has had a long history. It took off modestly during the last part of the 19th century with the discovery of gold and diamonds. The sector can be divided into five segments:  1) Agriculture, 2) Mining, 3) Building and Construction, 4) Utilities and 5) Other Processing Industries such as chemical processing, automobile, and electronic manufacturing. However, by far the biggest part of South African capital equipment manufacturing goes to the mining and mining processing industries. Because of the uniqueness of the geological formations in the SA mining environment such as hard rock, deep deposits, steep dip of ore bodies, very narrow veins and some low grades, equipment manufacturers both on the mining and minerals processing sides, had to be innovative and bold in order to deliver appropriate solutions in terms of equipment and related services.  These range from highly innovative designs and the associated R&D, increased mine efficiency and the development of an appropriate safety environment for the challenging conditions found in some of the deepest mines in the world. Tailor made financial services also had to follow suit.

This demanding home market has created the perfect environment for South African manufacturers and service suppliers to be highly competitive exporters to the mining industry world-wide, even during the present adverse conditions. Several clusters exist to support this continuous competitiveness and innovation drive such as the Valve and Actuators Manufacturers Cluster of South Africa (VAMCOSA), Hydraulic and Pneumatic Export Cluster (HAPEC) and the South African Minerals Processing Equipment Cluster (SAMPEC) all operating within the ambit of the South African Capital Equipment Export Council (SACEEC).

South African capital equipment exporters are highly qualified to provide simple, as well as comprehensive solutions to your mining and minerals processing needs in terms of equipment and services, for green- and brown- field capital projects, for aftermarket supplies, for de-bottlenecking, for revamping and for optimisation.

The SACEEC (www.saceec.com) together with other engineering oriented export councils such as the South African Electrotechnical Export Council (SAEEC), (www.saeec.org.za) the International Steel Fabricators (ISF) (www.isf.co.za) and the Built Environment Export Council (BEPEC) (www.bepec.co.za) are Public Private Partnerships working with the South African Department of Trade and Industry (www.thedti.gov.za) to promote exports and the globalisation of South African companies to render the most competitive solutions for South Africa’s international clients.