Mobility & Cloud – At the Forefront of Mining in Africa
New technologies that simplify and streamline processes of resource extraction have come at an excellent time for the East African mining sector.
East Africa has long been home to abundant natural resources, but recent years have seen a explosion of interest from foreign investors. Thanks to increased stability in the area, once risky greenfield projects have become realistic investment opportunities.
Tanzania holds at least 40 trillion cubic feet of natural gasses, with this number expected to double by 2015. In Rwanda, the mining sector has emerged as a major foreign exchange earner, producing about 8000 to 9000 tonnes of combined mineral compounds every year. While Ethiopia’s minerals sector contributes less than 1% of GDP at present, there has been a strong surge in potash mining from foreign investors, and extracting the country’s natural resources is a key plank of its export-oriented growth strategy.
This could prove a turning point for the growth prospects of mineral-rich East African nations. However, ensuring that this mining boom translates into stable human development is of paramount importance. Some of the challenges facing these nations include transparency, and efficient resource management.
Fortunately, new technologies offer a way forward for these countries, allowing them to enjoy the benefits of a resource-rich economy without the resulting problems that many other developing regions with larges mineral endowments have experienced.
Enter mobility and cloud computing. By enabling for aggregation of the many disparate functions within an organisation, these exciting new technologies allow for greater optimisation of a company’s operations coupled with reduced costs and greater flexibility of management.
Efficiently running an organisation requires a visible supply chain. On-premise infrastructure however does not allow for this because of limited communication options and lack of overall synthesis. This is a particular problem in East Africa, where distance and remoteness necessitate a mobile workforce. The solution is to implement mobility-based network infrastructure powered around a central cloud, which allows for a much more collaborative exchange of information.
Fortunately, such networks are exceedingly straightforward and cost-effective to put in place, thanks to the expertise of leading ICT providers such as SAP. They can be up and running within weeks, and results are easily observable within an equally short period of time.
Investing in a mining-specific set of cloud solutions, enhanced by mobility makes sense. They have an excellent track record of maximising effectiveness, while reducing overheads and improving productivity. Companies who engage with these solutions run more smoothly and find their ability to predict and respond to problematic incidents is greater than before.
As an example one of the greatest blessings of a visible supply chain is its transparency. Thanks to the accessibility offered by mobility, management can have instant access to in-depth knowledge about from inventory to order, warehouse to transportation etc. Not to mention we can apply this across an organisation’s finances, operations, human resources, and assets. Discrepancies and mismanagement can be handled almost as soon as they soon as they are detected thanks to the flexibility of cloud-based infrastructure. This results in massively reduced expenditure and a proportional increase in efficiency.
Cloud augmented by Mobility solutions are the panacea to improved effectiveness, asset maximization and transparency for decision making.
Now it is just up to the region’s mining companies to seize the moment.