"We have emphasized mechanization, introduced a purpose statement focused on repurposing mine waste, expanded into South America, strengthened our African presence, and sought growth in mineral processing."

Lourens de Koning

COO, FRASER ALEXANDER

January 30, 2024

Can you highlight Fraser Alexander's key achievements in the past year?

Over the past year, Fraser Alexander has embarked on several key initiatives in the mining sector. Following the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, we have focused on refining our strategic direction. A central theme has been the implementation of a five-year plan unveiled in late 2021. This plan has driven various initiatives, including strategic refocusing in African and international markets, business repositioning in South Africa, and a comprehensive digitization journey. We have also emphasized mechanization, introduced a purpose statement focused on repurposing mine waste, expanded globally into South America, strengthened our African presence, and sought growth in mineral processing. 

We have prioritized establishing a solid international presence, moving beyond project-based operations. In the last two years, we have taken steps to create offshore entities and have decentralized and rejuvenated our African operations, emphasizing local management and teams. This strategy has borne fruit, with substantial growth in regions like Latin America, particularly Brazil and Chile, and an expanding project portfolio in Africa.

In South Africa, we have diversified our mineral processing activities beyond coal into commodities like chrome and platinum group metals (PGMs). We have also ventured into tailings reprocessing, including coal and coal discard reprocessing. Recognizing the need for innovation, we have established a dedicated team focused on mechanized dry-stacking filter plants for tailings management.

Our water division, a longstanding part of our business, holds considerable potential in water management. We are technology-agnostic and employ diverse solutions for challenges such as acid mine drainage, industrial water purification, sewage water treatment, and general water purification. 

With the growing emphasis on battery minerals, how is Fraser Alexander positioning itself to contribute to the green transition?

In the domain of tailings management, we continuously explore innovative methods to extract added value from historical tailings. While our mineral processing division has traditionally concentrated on coal beneficiation, we are now expanding our scope to encompass chrome and platinum group metals (PGMs) within tailings. The overarching objective is to unlock the latent potential of these waste streams. Importantly, this strategy has already proven successful in the gold industry and is gaining traction in the platinum sector.

As we delve deeper into tailings management and resource extraction, we have identified the presence of battery minerals and rare earth minerals within these historical waste streams. Our aim is to optimize the extraction of these valuable commodities as we treat and manage the materials. As the green transition continues to reshape the mining industry, we are well-positioned to contribute to sustainable and resource-efficient practices while adding value to our clients' operations.

Could you present your digital tailings risk management system and your digitalization efforts?

Digital transformation at Fraser Alexander is a strategic shift impacting all facets of our operations. We are dedicated to leveraging digital technologies to boost efficiency, transparency, and data-driven decision-making. Our commitment to digitalization spans human resources, finance, safety, and more, making data accessible in real-time for informed decision-making. One key initiative is our Digital Tailings Risk Management System. Historically, our tailings management was manual, but we saw the potential for improvement through digitalization. We streamline operations by integrating IoT devices, transitioning to a digital platform, prioritizing data security, and serving as an operational management tool. It enhances transparency and collaboration among stakeholders and aims to involve external partners in the future.

Looking ahead, what are the main strategic goals and priorities for Fraser Alexander? 

There are several key priorities that Fraser Alexander is focusing on to drive growth and maintain our leadership in the global tailings management industry. Fraser Alexander is actively engaged in a contract to assist with cleanup efforts in the Medina disaster, demonstrating its commitment to making a positive impact in affected areas.

Despite governance and legislative challenges, Fraser Alexander sees promising opportunities in Africa due to strong client relationships. Investment in hydro mining and exploration of natural soil mining further diversify our business. The company's international focus includes regions like Brazil, Chile, and Peru, where projects involve re-mining tailings, converting hazardous facilities into safer ones, and extracting valuable minerals from tailings. Exploration extends to North America, Canada, and Central Asia, including Kazakhstan. Our expansion potential extends both within our current operating jurisdictions and into new regions. As we continue to grow and reach a global audience, our commitment to excellence and innovation remains unwavering.

INTERVIEWS MORE INTERVIEWS

"In terms of commodities, G Mining is seeing the most activity in the gold, copper, and lithium areas. Gold will always do well, especially given the large increases in the money supply over the past two to three years."
"The quickest and most environmentally friendly way governments can fast-track their understanding of their country’s natural capital is by mapping from the air – this has the lowest carbon and community impact while delivering the fastest results."
"The government's initiatives to encourage exploration through airborne geophysics programs and policy reforms reflect a positive shift."
"We are preparing to launch a new resin injection and bolting system globally. This innovation allows us to inject liquid resin instead of other cementitious alternatives, improving both productivity cycles and safety."

RECENT PUBLICATIONS

Chile Mining 2024 Pre-Release

The Chilean mining renaissance has begun. In 2024, the country is set to experience its first increase in copper production since 2018, driven by Codelco’s production surge and Teck Resources’ Quebrada Blanca II coming online. This year also saw the first major regulatory update since 1983 with amendments to Law No. 21,420, which modernized the mining framework. The government has shown strong support for the industry by committing to reduce permit processing times by a third and proposing 20 actionable measures to streamline processes. Additionally, Chile classified its 69 saline environments, leaving 31 open for private development and initiating a request for information process in April to rapidly advance these areas.

MORE PREVIOUSLY PUBLISHED

MACIG

"We plan to double our copper production by the end of the decade. There remains significant upside potential in the gold industry, and the copper operations are strategic and additive to that."

SUBSCRIBE TO OUR NEWSLETTER