Quarry Southern Africa May 2017 - Page 35

profile A frimat is an open pit mining company that supplies construction materials and industrial minerals. Since its listing on the JSE in 2006, the company has grown substantially, and is focusing on expanding its portfolio to ensure another continued success in the coming decades. Robyn Grimsley (RG): Give a little information about yourself and your background. Andries van Heerden (AvH): I have a degree in mechanical engineering from Potchefstroom University, and I started my career at ISCOR Mining, in the section that today would probably be called Exxaro. I worked there for seven years and was a mid-level engineering manager when I left to join APL Cartons as operations director. I spent 3.5 years there learning about all the other non-engineering-related aspects of business – financial management, marketing, HR, among others. In 2001 I left APL Cartons to join Prima Klipbrekers in Worcester. This was my first entry into the quarrying industry, and I worked there until April 2005, when I left and put together a consortium, which bought Lancaster. I moved to Vryheid in KZN in September 2005 and in May 2006 we decided to merge Lancaster and Prima, which resulted in a listing in November 2006. Afrimat was formed through the merger of Prima and Lancaster, and I became CEO of Afrimat. RG: Afrimat celebrated its tenth anniversary of listing on the main board of the JSE last year. What are the company’s biggest achievements over the past 10 years? AvH: It’s difficult for me to highlight a single event because it’s a total effort over a long period of time, and over and above the listing, which at the time I thought was quite an achievement – not only to be listed, but to get market acceptance for the listing. I think the two things that I would generally point to are, firstly the growth, the business has grown quite dramatically from relatively small beginnings, and secondly the consistency in delivery of value for our shareholders. I would say these are our two most important achievements. In the same vein, I would also say Afrimat’s ability to adapt in changed strategic environments over the past 10 years is also a significant achievement. We managed to survive the 2008 worldwide crisis with relatively little disruption, and we’ve managed to keep the business on track and grow from there. Our success is definitely a holistic accomplishment, and it’s not easy to point to specific achievements as standing out from the rest. Of course, none of this would have been possible without the quality of people that we have, because in my view the business would never have been where it is if we didn’t have the best people in the country working here. RG: What do you have planned – broadly – for the next 10 years? Where do you foresee Afrimat’s biggest growth areas and are you planning to expand into Africa? AvH: Our plan is to focus on growing our resource base. We will definitely be looking at expanding our commodity portfolio and growing our product offering. As a company, we decided a while ago to focus on expanding our business QUARRY SA | MAY 2017 _ 33