Minerals Processing, Project Management and Engineering specialist SENET has earned an outstanding reputation from the industry for its experience in operating throughout Africa and beyond.

For 25 years, it has provided detailed, multidiscipline engineering, procurement, logistics management and construction services to the mining, mineral processing, infrastructure and materials handling industries worldwide.

The latest example sees SENET commencing engineering work on the Yanfolila processing plant and associated infrastructure in southern Mali, after winning a contract with Hummingbird Resources, which acquired Gold Fields’ interests in April this year.

Hummingbird Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Dan Betts pointed to SENET’s “extensive experience in West Africa, as well as over three years’ experience working on the Yanfolila project (under Gold Fields)” as the deciding factors in his company’s choice.

SENET’s success in this region, and indeed the entire continent, can be attributed to its wide-ranging services and the quality, bespoke solutions it delivers to clients.

In an industry still feeling the impact of the global downturn, it is important to excel, and while SENET remains a smaller proposition to the project-industry giants, General Manager of Commercial, Darren Naylor noted that SENET’s customer focused approach certainly differentiates the company and enhances the quality of the services that it provides. The smaller-scale nature of the operation affords the company a greater intimacy with its clients, and Naylor sees this as one of the company’s key advantages over some of its rivals.

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He said: “Larger companies have a tendency to apply a template approach to their clients’ projects, while SENET can offer a unique service covering the entire project lifecycle, with a tailor-made solutions approach, specific to the particular requirements of the customer.”

Expanded services

SENET has had experience in its DNA since its founding in 1989 by a group of engineers and project managers with many years’ practice in Design, Project & Construction Management of Turnkey Materials Handling and Minerals Process Projects.

Having initially focused its offering on materials handling systems and gold processing facilities, SENET has over the years substantially grown its capabilities to include process plant designs including Copper, Cobalt, Uranium, Coal and Iron Ore.

A “saturated” domestic mining market led the Greenstone-based company to spread its wings from South Africa into the rest of the continent, and it now has extensive project and construction experience throughout Africa, including in some of the most remote and infrastructure-light countries.

With the Copper sector performing strongly in the DRC, it is a location that is becoming increasingly important for SENET, which continues to expand these operations into neighbouring Tanzania and Zambia.

Some of SENET’s larger African projects include the Mutanda Copper-Cobalt project in the DRC, from 2009 – 2013, which through 4 phases of development saw the capacity of the plant expand to 200ktpa of LME Grade A Copper cathode; and the Bisha Gold-Copper-Zinc project in Eritrea, from 2010 – 2013, which also developed through multiple phases of 2Mtpa CIL Gold and 2.4Mtpa of Copper concentrate.  

Further afield SENET has successfully delivered projects in North, South and Central America, Asia and the Middle East.

African operations

It is however the African continent that has provided a majority of SENET’s experience, and its ability to successfully execute projects in remote African locations has been possible as a result of the company leveraging its global experience in cross-border logistics, freighting and construction activities.

The company boasts an array of technical specialists and consultants with specialised knowledge in a broad spectrum of process plant designs and materials handling systems design. SENET’s procurement expertise along with its well-developed supplier network allows for local and international sourcing, which when coupled with optimised engineering designs, has enabled SENET to be at the forefront of low Capex projects.

The company also boasts multidisciplinary erection expertise, with numerous project installations having been executed over the years - A function necessitated by the challenges of the African continent.  

SENET is also an innovator and is considered to be a leader in Heap Leach technology as well as in Copper Solvent Extraction and Electrowinning process design and installation (SX EW). The companydeveloped a range of proprietary equipment for Heap Leach Stacking and Agglomeration Equipment in the early 1990s, which has enjoyed global success and continues to retain its leading position, with technically robust and economically attractive options.

SENET’s SX EW experience leverages patented technology to offer the lowest cost design worldwide, with multiple installations and proven capability.   

Long-termism

Despite the financial downturn in 2008, SENET’s workload continued to increase, and has since reflected sustained growth. . Staff numbers are fluid depending on the ongoing operations, but the total complement currently stands at 320, comprising a skilled workforce which the company complements with local contractors to make use of their specific regional knowledge.

Many of the permanent workforce have been with the company since the beginning, and the retention of skilled staff has been fostered by a positive culture and opportunities to progress in the company. “If somebody wishes to progress in the company then the opportunities are certainly there,” said Managing Director, Hugo Swart.

SENET understands that its success is largely attributable to its employees, supplier networks and long-standing clients and will continue its expansion and growth opportunities into new markets by continuing to nurture these relationships.

Sustainable growth

SENET’s management remain focused and are optimistic about the long term sustainability of the company. Now in its 25th year, SENET is well positioned to continue its growth path and plan to do so in a controlled and sustainable manner, retaining the differentiators that have won it such respect to-date.

“I believe that any company needs to grow to stay relevant, because without growth, you will eventually die,” Swart concluded.

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