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Ndjamila Chilunda Managing Director, Geoangol

ANGOLA - Energy & Mining

Ndjamila Chilunda

Managing Director, Geoangol S.A.

Bio

N’djamila Chilunda has been Managing Director at Geoangol since October 2014. She graduated in 2005 with an BSc in mining engineering from the University of the Witwatersrand and holds the Mine Managers Certificate of Competency for South African mines. She started her professional career at DeBeers in 2004. In 2012, she was appointed planning and execution coordinator of the strategic plan for closure and rehabilitation of the Venetia Mine, working with the multidisciplinary team that saw Venetia Mine become a reference within the De Beers group

"Geoangol provides mineral and geological services to the mining industry and is broken down into three basic pillars of services: exploration drilling services, laboratory services, and professional training."
Geoangol was created to provide mineral and geological services in response to the needs of the mining sector in Angola.
What services does Geoangol provide, and how has the company evolved since its establishment?

Geoangol provides mineral and geological services to the mining industry and is broken down into three basic pillars of services: exploration drilling services, laboratory services, professional training. Finally, as an aggregate of drilling services, we also provide geoscience services. We started our first activities in 2015 by first focusing on implementing and establishing the laboratory services, namely the beneficiation and analytical service for the mining industry which attend to all minerals except diamonds, and at the moment we work on precious and non-precious metals like gold, copper, and iron. For our drilling and laboratory services, our key people are expats, due to a lack of local expertise, although they come with a mandate: they have to train locals (skills transfer).

What are the long-term expectations for your gold refinery in the industrial complex of Viana?

Gold is a strategic commodity for any country, and the establishment of this refinery is a first step which demonstrates how the mining industry in Angola is developing and that strategic projects in gold currently in production and under development are the reasons behind the construction of the refinery. The refinery is the first one to be built in Angola, which serves as testament of what is to yet to come. The new policies and regulations are based on international industry best practice, giving way to a formal regulated gold industry for companies as well as for artisanal mining. This refinery will work according to international standards, which are quite high. We place an emphasis on professionalism, efficiency, and excellent customer services to ensure the refinery truly benefits the country and gold mining companies. The value chain from having this refinery here is huge, and creating many permanent employment opportunities for Angolans. The lab is a medium-scale, yet it meets the current production requirements. As the volume of gold production increases in the following years as projected, this refinery will expand accordingly, as will everything linked to the refinery along the value chain.

How is Geoangol making foreign investment in the mining sector attractive?

At the top of concerns for any mine developer are the exploration services which are value determinants of any mining investor. Geoangol sets out to provide exploration services and solutions to mining investors, backed by our established professional track record of service. Ours is a business that only survives on providing transparent services while striving to maintain its service merit, and the government is working hard to manage this carefully. For example, our contract with Rio Tinto is based on trust, and our policies and procedures are also aligned with international standards; for example, in procurement, we follow specific processes when we are invited to bid. It is all about showing what you can do, and once the opportunity comes, we work hard to deliver. The most important thing is communication, because it is all about the relationships, which we’ve built in the past which position Geoangol as the preferred service provider and supplier for the mining industry.

How can the mining sector in Angola become more competitive?

The mining sector in Angola is full of infrastructure deficiencies, making it a great market for aggressive and adventurous investors. The government has overhauled the Mining Law, making it more investor friendly, providing a greater growth horizon and diversity for services companies such as Geoangol; however, there are two to three distinct areas of concern; Number one is the technology to be implemented, because many of these international companies, like Australian companies, have a fully developed exploration sector in their country. All the resources and technology are readily available there, which is not the case here. We have to import everything, including the people and equipment, and that automatically adds to the cost of the service. This is our Achilles heel, because we do not produce anything in Angola.

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