SUPPLY AND DEMAND

Zambia 2015 | MINING & ENERGY | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Frank Masaka, Director of Triblems Enterprises Ltd, on developments over the past decade, investments in the future, and the quality of human resources in Zambia.

Frank Masaka
BIOGRAPHY
Frank Masaka was born in Lusaka, Zambia. He graduated from Northern Technical College with a diploma in Mechanical Engineering. He was a fitter at AHC-MMS and then site engineer at Meltcast Engineering Limited from 2001 to 2005. He became Director of Triblems Enterprises Ltd in 2010.

How has Triblems evolved since being established in 2001?

Triblems was initially a brainchild of my late relative Bright Lemana who died in a tragic road accident. He operated as a bookmaker servicing the Chamber of Mines and other local companies who needed invoice books or other materials. When I took over after his death we began to offer engineering solutions by engaging the respective users so as to help provide a solution that not only get the plant online in the shortest possible time, but one that would last. Since then we have provided the mining industry with one of the best heavy industrial steam cleaners and pressure washers available which are manufactured in the US by a company called Sioux corporation. We have factory-trained technicians who provide servicing for units at short notice. Battery Electric offered us the opportunity to service all their locomotive controllers, chargers, rectifiers, and LED energy efficient lights in Zambia.

Why should a mining company select Triblems over the competition in Kitwe?

We take time to understand the challenges of our clients before we supply any item. This makes our products most suitable and reliable to our clients.

To what extent do the fluctuations in copper prices impact your operations?

All aspects of life in the Copperbelt depend on the mines. When the mines are down, everyone is. The decline in the international price of copper always has a spillover affect. The Copperbelt as a whole suffers because the mines purchase fewer spares and are not producing at full capacity. In order to cope with those problems we are seeking to diversify. We are evaluating the development of new business not only with private entities but also with the government.

What are your investment plans for the near future?

We are working to build a high-capacity workshop with an investment of ZMK3.7 million. This new development will change the face of the company. Our product portfolio will grow and our services will become more specialized.

What type of partnerships are you considering for your future ventures?

Last February, we partnered with a company specialized in underground drilling. We will be attending training sessions to increase our knowhow in that type of drilling. We have also partnered with John Thompson a member of the Actom group to service the country in the requirement of boilers and associated accessories.

How would you describe the quality of the human resources available to you?

We are planning to rely on our own staff, to train them and make them reliable, as whatever they repair has to be repaired perfectly. We have around 10 technicians working for us.

What are you regional expansion plans?

We are trying to expand to Kasama, Luanshya, as well as the DRC.

How would you describe the business environment in Zambia for establishing a company?

It is a positive environment, but I believe that the government has to look at ways to make it cheaper to operate, especially for the locals. The emphasis should also be placed on supporting locals in partnering with international companies. Besides that, the government should introduce laws to actually protect local companies.

What role can Triblems play in the social and economic development of Kitwe?

We believe that we could expand and further support the industry if we received government support. That will help us employ more people and, therefore, contribute more to employment and wealth creation. We want to employ many more people, particularly new graduates. We are looking at tripling the number of employees once our new workshop is complete and operational.

What are your expectations for the year ahead?

Our expectations are on the light side, we want to wait and see that our building materializes.