Quarry Southern Africa November 2018 - Page 31

FACE TO FACE to wear a collar-and-tie. Before then, I’d been used to wearing shorts and boots on site. I also learned from them important lessons in meeting etiquette and body language, and how you speak – they sent me to Toastmasters, because they had all done so before me. Nowadays they don’t worry about that much, but grooming, speech and body language were things they took quite seriously [in those days],” says Bhoora. This mentoring in turn led to his own passion for mentoring others. “I love teaching and this translates into hours spent on mentoring, coaching and even performance reviews. None of these are a tick-box exercises for me, and sometimes I recommend people for personal counselling.” He was responsible for mentoring the first two black quarry managers in South Africa: Nomkhosi Mtembu and Mbali Hika. “That and the fact that each one of our quarry managers in KwaZulu-Natal is black, is the legacy of my and my team’s time with AfriSam.” Coaching is what he plans to do in his retirement. It is something he already does in his free time, in his role as founder of Hindivani radio station which has empowered as many as 120 youth, providing careers in entertainment and as professional MCs. The business of quarries “’Construction materials’ is how we generally refer to this industry, which includes quarrying for stone and sand and the production of ready-mixed concrete. Other materials such as dimension stone are called opencast mining. Up until the 1990s, quarries were much less regulated and it was easier to get a mining license. With the consequent increase in the barriers to entry, the prices earned on quarries’ product has been inflated in recent years. In the early 1990s aggregate prices were on average R25 per tonne in Gauteng because there was an abundance of old rock dumps from mining activities; whereas the price in Durban (where there were no such dumps) was between R40 and R50/tonne. Prices were low because it was easily accessible. “Today, the average prices of aggregate are R120/tonne in Gauteng and R140/ tonne in Durban. These prices could be even higher – but at the moment demand has fallen. Expenses have also increased, so the price does not mean quarrying aggregates is a highly lucrative business but it is not a marginal one either. Cement and readymix, in contrast, are more marginal businesses because of excess capacity.” Lessons learned An important trait he learned in his early career was the self-confidence to contribute in meetings. “If I had something to say, I would hope someone else would rather mention it and let me off the hook. I came to realise that people value my opinion and I should therefore make it known. From mentoring I learned the powerful impact that constructive criticism or positive affirmation can make on the course of an individual. When a person gets that feedback, it acts as a validation to take their next step. Without it, they may not know if they’re good enough or not; people can lose 10 years off their career.” Bhoora says he hugely appreciates affirmations he has received throughout his career via various promotions such as being appointed managing director of NPC and an executive of AfriSam, as well as some of the awards he has won. The future In 1995 one of his landmark moves was piloting the first use of electronic detonators on a quarry he was responsible for. “Now, no-one even thinks of anything else, and increased automation has enabled the number of staff on a quarry to go from 120 to about 20, through efficiencies and improvements via technology. “One of the challenges facing the quarrying industry is over-regulation because we are lumped together with the mining industry. This level of regulation is really aimed at bigger-scale mining of higher-valued minerals. There is a massive diversity in mining, yet there is only one Mining Charter that applies to everyone. There should be concessions for smaller operations and lower value commodities, because they carry many costs they can’t really afford.” He believes this has to change because there is a groundswell of high expectation of new infrastructure in South Africa. “This must force change for the better as we are already seeing continuous service delivery protests,” he says.  As founder of radio station Avi Bhoora has helped as many as 120 youth fulfil their aspirations, including careers as DJs, entertainment and professional MCs. www.quarryonline.co.za  QUARRY SA | NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2018_31