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There are more supervision and safety measures in mining than before – Paul List

Mr Paul List, Chief Executive Officer of BCM mining company has stated that there are much better supervision and safety measures than in the past.

‘There are much better supervision by the authorities, of what we do and how we work in terms of safety and respect for the environment’.

He said there were also better, safer and efficient equipment than before.

Speaking in an interview with the media, Mr List said there was also more competition in the market, and other international companies had come to Ghana, although BCM was still well respected.

‘One of the main things that has also changed is the emphasis on the environment, and the way the sector works. As CEO, finding new ways to tackle these issues, and improve the way we operate is my main task, and also ensuring we maintain our high-performance standards, and continually deliver client expectations’.

He said in the early years they visited workers at various mine sites fairly regularly, but things had now changed as he had been kept busy in the b
oardroom and on the road, visiting clients, and attending meetings.

In terms of safety, he said that involved large amounts of money, carried with it the natural human element of danger.

‘Some of the places that a contract miner like ourselves has to work, can be quite dangerous simply because of the terrain, the tools we use, like explosives for blasting, and the giant vehicles and other equipment for haulage, as well as the kinds of environments we work in.

‘BCM has the best safety record of any mining contractor on West Africa, and we believe, in the whole of Africa.

‘Normally we work in places far away from normal human habitation and literally have to turn them into places where workers can stay, and where they can work in safety.

As you know some of these places can also sometimes be quite lawless, especially in countries where civilian police authority isn’t found everywhere.

It isn’t unusual for us to be attacked in some of the more remote locations, and if that doesn’t happen, then the day-to-d
ay work of keeping safe on a mine site is quite a big challenge anyway. I have personally had to deal with mishaps on sites; landslides and even pit wall failures caused by adverse geotechnical environments. Its’ never easy’.

He said, although not everywhere was as peaceful as Ghana, he could guarantee most mining sector workers had had at least one life threatening experience in the field, that they would not like to repeat.

He said the cost of exploration was still expensive and did not always come with reward.

‘ The cost of running a mine site can be quite expensive and if you miscalculate you can make large investments that can’t be supported by the eventual outputs from the mine.

For civil earthworks and contract miners like ourselves, I think the main challenge is that of ensuring we are always treated fairly when bidding for work, managing our workforce and retaining them, managing our fleet of equipment and keeping everyone safe where we work; of course there is a lot more, but in a nutshell that’
s it’.

On accounting for success he said one of the key factors had been experienced technical expertise, professionalism, and excellent safety record.

‘ Most industry watchers know that BCM has the best safety record of any in the sector.

‘I also think that the company has a great reputation which we have built over a number of years, and we also have the trust of the industry for delivering to schedule’.

He said BCM was one of the few companies that provided a full range of diversified services, a one-stop-shop for civil earthworks and contract mining.

‘Its’ that kind of expertise that made us the only Western open pit mining contractors in the Central Asia; Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan.

There are a lot of other things but one of the main ones, that gives us an edge, is that most of the workforce, you see employed by our competitors, were originally trained by BCM, something we are extremely proud of, and something that says that the BCM standard, is actually the industry standard’.

On whether BCM was o
nly engaged in business contract mining, he said they also ventured into the mine operator business using the investment arm of the company.

‘As BCM Investments we purchased Adamus Resources in 2016, as part of a plan to strategically acquire and develop high-quality mines in Africa.

‘In 2018 we bought Segala Mining Corporation, a gold mine in Mali, and then in 2019, we bought an 80% share of Samira Hill SA, a gold mine in Niger.

The last investment we made was in 2020 with Northern Ashanti Mines Co. Ltd.

‘The plan is to make them both profitable for us, and the communities and countries where we operate’.

He said they had also ventured in to Burkina Faso, Sierra Leone and Liberia.

On the environment, he said ‘The industry is responsible for a lot of land degradation, and for creating areas that will take years to regain any sense of being natural again.

‘That said, in a lot of cases, degradation, environmental destruction were always going to be almost impossible to avoid, because of the continuing de
mand for the ore, metals or minerals that are held there, and the fact that there aren’t any real substitutes, to the methods being used.

‘What I think is more important now though, is the fact that action is being taken to deal with the problem; extractive industry is being held to account, and all the industry players are paying more attention to the effects of our operations, and taking steps to mitigate, re-afforest and re-vegetate where we work.

The BCM limited works in contract mining and all types of work associated with it.

The company started 97 years ago when it was called F. List and Sons Bayswater contracting and at that time they did civil earthworks and mining and civils.

This was in Australia and before moving permanently to Ghana, and became BCM, about 35 years ago.

‘I took over as chief executive from my parents, at around the same time in 1981, and we diversified into the mining sector, which is where we still are today.

He said the opportunities were there, and theyhad the expertise,
and it was a decision they never regretted.

‘I myself naturalized as a Ghanaian in 2014, so the company is a wholly Ghanaian owned enterprise, and I am happy say, we are probably the most experienced mining contractors in the West African mining industry.’

Source: Ghana News Agency