Could you provide an introduction to TAKRAF, what do you do?
TAKRAF is a leading provider of mining industry equipment and solutions, with a history dating back to 1725. We operate under two primary brands: TAKRAF and DELKOR. TAKRAF focuses on mining, bulk material handling and comminution solutions, while DELKOR focuses on minerals processing equipment. We have a global team of just under 1000 employees and operate from 13 countries across 22 locations worldwide.
Do you believe the mining industry is at an inflection point, particularly regarding its role in the green transition?
The mining industry is increasingly recognized as indispensable to the supply chain for critical metals that are essential to various industries. Its evolution is being driven by the demands of the technology and EV sectors, heightened geopolitical efforts to achieve resource independence, and the anticipated supply-demand gap.
Countries are striving to minimize dependence on nations with unfavorable mining conditions or which are subject to political unrest. This trend, along with the challenge of depleting resources, shapes the multifaceted dynamics steering the mining industry's trajectory.
What are the potential consequences if the West does not accelerate its efforts in mining?
An immediate repercussion would be a surge in commodity prices. Copper, pivotal for electrification and the green transition, would be especially impacted. Delays in new investments or dependence on politically unstable nations could compromise the supply chain, instigating a shift in alliances and dependencies. For instance, China might reorient its supply chains, affecting the global equilibrium of resource distribution.
Additionally, supply constraints could precipitate pronounced knock-on effects, particularly in the EV industry. If nations like China secure their supply chains while Western counterparts lag, the imbalance could result in substantial impacts on employment and on secondary suppliers in Europe and the US. These developments underscore the mining industry's intricate link with global economic and industrial ecosystems, highlighting the urgent need for strategic investments and policies to navigate impending challenges.
How is TAKRAF enhancing the sustainability of its operations?
TAKRAF's sustainability journey is two-pronged, focusing on optimizing our own operational efficiency and enhancing the eco-friendliness of our solutions. Internally, we are vigilant about our energy and water consumption, deploying meticulous monitoring and management practices.
On the product side, our influence stems from empowering clients to mitigate their environmental footprint. We are intricately involved in initiatives such as the UN's global industry standard for tailings management, aiding mining firms in transitioning from wet waste disposal to more eco-friendly dry stack tailings.
Dry stack tailings align with our strengths, given our expertise in aiding mining operations in waste (mining material) management. Water is a focal point in sustainability conversations, especially in regions where it's a scarce resource and we are helping mining companies to cut down on water usage via our range of dewatering equipment and tailings management solutions. Furthermore, our In Pit Crushing & Conveying (IPCC) systems together with innovative solutions such as enhancing the recovery rate in the flotation process and implementing smart mine planning to reduce truck traffic and the associated need for energy, haul road maintenance and dust suppression, help towards alignment with global sustainability aspirations.
How is the adoption of new technologies influencing TAKRAF and the mining industry?
The mining industry is witnessing a generational and technological shift. A younger workforce equipped with digital tools is transforming traditional practices. Remote monitoring and operations, enabled by advances in digitalization, have become the norm, underscoring the need for our equipment to be not just functional but also connected. However, there's acknowledgment that the mining sector still has ground to cover in fully embracing the digital age.
A new generation of miners using digital tools is ushering in an era where equipment is viewed akin to mobile devices – connected, accessible, and integral to a networked ecosystem. Mining has become more precise and manageable, thanks to real-time data and analytics. Despite making strides, the industry is in the nascent stages of this transition, with immense potential for further integration of technology to optimize operations and enhance efficiency.
What are the main challenges and objectives for TAKRAF in the upcoming years?
The most pronounced challenge we anticipate is not technical advances or legislative hurdles, but human resources. The mining sector, encompassing OEMs, EPCMs, EPCs and mining companies, is confronted with the task of attracting and retaining talent. Making mining an appealing career choice, fostering academic interest in relevant fields, and improving on new norms like remote working are all central to navigating this challenge. Access to qualified personnel will be pivotal in sustaining the industry's momentum.
TAKRAF is not just navigating these waters but is also seizing the opportunities presented by a changing landscape. With fewer competitors offering a comprehensive portfolio like ours, and with record order intake, our focus is on staffing projects adequately and ensuring that we have the right people in the right places. It's a testament to the evolving nature of challenges – and more about the human element, underscoring the need for a skilled, engaged workforce.
Read the full Newsweek feature report “The New Era of Mining” for which TAKRAF Group CEO Thomas Jabs was interviewed here.
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