WAMPEX highlights West African Mining and Power Opportunities
West Africa is one of the fastest growing mining regions in the world, and also a growing consumer - and generator - of electric power.
Eight new mines have started production in the last three years, with another 13 mine projects planned for the region. Ghana alone has nine major mines and 600 smaller mining operations, all looking for international partners to scale up production.
"Local mining companies lack the capital and expertise for this level of operation, so we welcome companies with expertise in Africa's resources sector to become involved in this development opportunity," says Moses Asaga, Chairman of Ghana's Parliamentary Select Committee of Mines and Energy.
Playing a prominent role in facilitating these kinds of developments for the last 17 years, the biennial West African Mining and Power industry Exhibition (WAMPEX), and its associated conference WAMPOC will attract international exhibitors, visitors and delegates to Accra from 6 to 8 June 2012.
"The combined annual gold output of Ghana, Mali, Guinea, Burkina Faso, Mauritania and Ivory Coast has increased by 65% in five years, to roughly 6.7 million ounces," says John Thomson, Managing Director of Exhibition Management Services, co-organiser of the exhibition. "These countries will produce 8.5 million ounces a year by 2013. But to do this they will need international partners."
The event is endorsed by the Ghanaian Ministries of Energy; Lands and Natural Resources; the Ghana Chamber of Mines; The Minerals Commission of Ghana and the Volta River Authority.
The 2012 Expo and Conference will see regular participants in the form of mining houses Anglogold Ashanti, Newmont, Goldfields and Golden Star Resources taking part. Previous exhibitors West Africa Pumping Services, Golder Associates, Sykes Group and Sakr Power, buoyed by the success of their 2010 involvement, have doubled their exhibition space bookings.
With eight months still to go and 40% of the available space already reserved, the Organisers are looking at putting up the "sold out" signs long before opening day.
Major Investments Fuel Growth
A recent $3 billion loan accord between Ghana and the China Development Bank for the development of Ghana's energy industry was quickly followed by a $10.4 billion concessionary loan agreement with the Export-Import Bank of China for the development of rail, road, and energy infrastructure. "The funding is in place and the business opportunities are now 'real'," continues Thomson.
Why Power and Mining?
"Mining is the largest consumer of power in the West African region, and more power will be needed as mining activity increases," says Thomson. "The inclusion of a power component in the WAMPEX expo is the perfect medium to address this critical sector."
Ghana relies on water in the Volta River to feed the hydroelectric turbines below the Volta Dam, which supplies almost all the country's electricity. Occasionally droughts disrupt water flow causing power cuts, reducing mining output.
In fact, the unpredictability of power supply in many African countries is one of the main hindrances to economic growth and social development. Many countries have unreliable, aging equipment with Nigeria a prime example, operating at one-third of its installed capacity.
"Demand for power in West Africa is growing rapidly, and to meet this, new installations are required on a regular basis," continues Thomson. "Some countries are upgrading hydroelectric facilities and increasing dam capacity to address this. Another viable medium-term strategy is power sharing with neighbouring countries through regional grids. Renewable energy such as solar, wind, and geothermal power are a growing alternative energy source.
"But the ultimate long-term solution remains, however, the installation of new facilities. The WAMPEX exhibition and conference presents stakeholders with a focused products and services showcase, along with a versatile and effective platform for networking and matchmaking. This is a trade event vital to the region and not to be missed."
Regular exhibitors endorse effectiveness
"WAMPEX is an excellent platform for meeting new and existing customers," confirms Rene Rose, GM Communications, at SEW-Eurodrive, a regular exhibitor at WAMPEX. "It is one of the few opportunities in Ghana where you get everyone you want to see at one time in one place. With the costs associated of doing business in Africa, we find that WAMPEX offers very good value for money."
Geotech Airborne Ltd, based in Accra, is another regular exhibitor at WAMPEX. Doug Pitcher, Managing Partner, Director and Vice President of the company, says Geotech has exhibited at WAMPEX every year since its inception. "The event is an excellent forum to display the company's airborne geophysical services to clients from all over West Africa," he adds.
Conference focuses on sustainable resources
The WAMPOC 2012 Conference provides a platform for discussing and debating the state of the mining and power industries in the West Africa sub-region. Industry leaders will present papers on current trends in the industry - from policy matters through to exploration, financing, risk management and integration. The theme for the 2012 WAMPOC Conference is: "Deepening partnerships for the sustainable development of Africa's mineral and energy resources".
This is the 10th International Exhibition for suppliers to West Africa's rapidly growing mining and mineral resources sector.
International suppliers of mining equipment, technology, services and consumables, as well as those companies offering power generating equipment, transmission and distribution equipment and technology, will showcase their products and services.
The event is organised by Exhibition Management Services in association with EPI Events and Projects International Limited.
International suppliers of mining equipment, technology, services and consumables as well as those companies offering power generating equipment, transmission and distribution equipment and technology to suite.