Apr. 21, 2015


Danie Murray

Mozambique

Danie Murray

Asset President, Mozal

"There has been a spiking development in Mozambique’s downstream industry."

BIO

Danie Murray has been Asset President at Mozal Aluminium since 2012. Prior to this, he was the General Manager at the Bayside smelter. He joined BHP Billiton in 1994 and was involved in the commissioning of the Hillside smelter in Richards Bay. He was a member of the inaugural Mozal management team from 1998 to 2004 during the start-up phase of the business where he held numerous positions in production, logistics, supply and external affairs. Prior to joining BHP Billiton, he worked in the process engineering of crude oil refining at the NATREF refinery, partly owned by SASOL. He holds an MBA from Edinburgh Business School and a degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Stellenbosch.

BHP Billiton has decided to focus on five business lines, and is withdrawing from aluminum. How will this impact the company?

In August 2014 BHP Billiton announced its plans to demerge its aluminum, manganese, and nickel and silver businesses along with some of its coal assets. Subject to Board and shareholder approval, there would be a new company operating these assets under the name of South32, and Mozal will become quite a significant part of it. South32 will operate in five countries and be staffed by approximately 24,000 people. The business will then transition from a commodity-based structure into a regional-based entity, and Mozal will report to the African regional office located in Johannesburg. The new company will have a dedicated board and management team with a significant representation at the Johannesburg office, which will be greatly beneficial for Mozal.

According to a recently published KPMG study, Mozal is still the largest company in Mozambique. How would you describe the evolution of Mozal's contribution to GDP?

Since the company was established in 2001, Mozal has continued to play a prominent role, contributing around 7% to GDP. We recently won an award from President Guebuza in recognition of this contribution. Currently, Mozal produces just below 570,000 tons per annum of primary aluminum ingot, with production entirely destined for export, mainly to Europe, the primary market for Mozal's metal output.

What are your plans to support the domestic use of aluminum?

There has been a spiking development in Mozambique's downstream industry. There was no other local market established until the development of Midal. We began delivering to Midal in October 2014 and once they ramp up their operations, we will be delivering 50,000 tons of metal per annum. Businesses can now be established downstream of Midal, creating an increased diversity of products in the downstream industry, while a unique service industry will also develop around Midal. I expect our relationship with Midal to be long term and sustainable for many years to come. The sizeable tonnage of aluminum that company will be receiving from us will be a major catalyst for the downstream industry.

How would you categorize the significance of Mozal in other sectors, be it transport, construction, or education?

Mozal has played a significant role in infrastructure development, with road-access projects and a new port facility. For example, Mozal imports more than one million tons of alumina per annum through the port, which is then brought to the site by trucks. We also transport the entirety of our final product through the port, which is a considerable contribution to the transport industry. In addition to that, we continue to perform road maintenance even though it was not a part of our initial undertaking. We also direct around $2 million per annum toward our community work, some of which has gone into the construction of schools. To date we have built 9 primary schools, a secondary school, a technical school and a maintainer-training center.

What challenges do you foresee over the next ten years for Mozal?

One major challenge will be electricity supply. We have managed to cope with this so far by working closely with ESKOM and focusing on our productivity and operational efficiency to get more out of the available infrastructure. We have made good progress and have implemented a system we call Maximum Technical Capability. The other challenge is with commodity prices. This has been a challenge over the recent period, although Mozal has been effective with regards to cost cutting, as we have been able to focus extensively on efficiency. We also pay considerable attention to skills. All of the potential development in the country and the exploitation of its resources will result in a great need for a skilled workforce, which will present a challenge for the entire industry.

ADVERTISEMENT