May 12th • 3 min read
#Mining #Career #Change #Leadership #Afrique

Gabon: A Promising Mining Economy

As a continent full of natural resources, Africa is filled with promise. Being embedded with a wide variety of natural resources creates a strong tie between the mining industry and economic development (as seen below). Developing mineral resources requires a combination of foreign investment, ethical leadership, and a strong labour force. 
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A growing workforce. 

It’s clear that mineral wealth is the key to tackling Africa’s pervasive poverty. But of course, that means ensuring mining is executed with better integration into development programs at the local, national, and regional levels. Ensuring communities and workers reap real tangible benefits from industrial mining sites while also protecting the environment is the key to an ethical mining future. And for a continent forecasted to exceed 1.1 billion by 2040, creating employment opportunities is essential to survival.


Mining projects are colossal and complex.

With each development comes spill-over investments in local infrastructure projects like roads, medical centers, schools, and retail outlets. As global demand for raw minerals continues to increase, mining operations are a compelling pathway to upskill local workforces and provide advanced income potential. Relying on educational institutions alone to infuse the right knowledge and skills is a slow and limited process. A better solution is knowledge transfer via hands-on learning to accelerate upskilling and reach proficiency faster.


When your career is about to take off.

Many technical already understand the mirage of benefits of taking their career to the skies. Having a career abroad is an exceptional way to gain coveted international experience, embrace cultural diversity, and share knowledge. However, attracting the right experts to Africa requires a special type of person. And we happen to know a few. Meet our consultant Youcef Kibou. Youcef is currently on an assignment as a maintenance supervisor in the petrochemical industry in Port Gentil, Gabon. Over the years, he’s gained an impressive collection of worldly experiences and he’s taken some time to share them with us.


The way the winds blow.

When Youcef first arrived in Gabon, he was a maintenance supervisor on the COMILOG industrial site. Working for the 3rd largest producer of manganese ore in the world was a big challenge. COMILOG extracts 90% of the manganese from the Gabonese subsoil in a remote area. And this is exactly what attracted him to this assignment - the adventure of the unknown. With manganese exports surging, he knew this was a smart place to start gaining experience in Africa.


Hard work pays off.

The next phase of Youcef’s role landed him managing a manufacturing workshop as a Business Manager in Moanda.  His role included overseeing the construction of the workshop to modernize the equipment and ensure the plant would be operational on time. Youcef discovered he had a knack for managing many moving parts simultaneously and others noticed too. His assignment was repeatedly renewed because his contributions were critical for success. “Recognition is really important to me in terms of motivation. Knowing that I’m doing a great job and others appreciate it gives me the drive to show up every day and do my absolute best,” shares Youcef.


Empowering local staff.

Delivering projects on time also means finding the right people for collaboration. Building a winning local team is an important part of his role and he thoroughly enjoys recruiting and training. He enjoys the structured approach of sharing knowledge and watching others grow. After all, knowing how to use, maintain, and update equipment is essential for continuous operations. As an added bonus, he is proud to be able to give employment opportunities to local people and see the broader impacts on the community. “Tapping into the local workforce is a win-win. And it’s essential for us to commit to project delivery timeframes, especially in a remote area,” explains Youcef.


Safety is priceless.

Originally a trained expert in boiler making, Youcef is deeply familiar with reliable processes. Bringing a passion for quality outcomes, he’s also personally committed to workplace safety. Youcef is leading the quality, health, and safety programs on-site including signage and the procurement of safety equipment. Under Youcef’s direction, he’s setting a rigorous standard of safety and his hard work is unanimously appreciated by his team. He’s excited to be able to change the safety culture in a positive direction.


Upgrading standards for consultants on international assignments.

The commitment to creating unparalleled safety in Gabon is perfectly aligned with the safety standards experienced with the Easy Skill community.  "My business manager in France is always responsive and listens to me when I have any issues. We even discuss safety matters. Even during these intense restrictions, logistics have always been well managed!” claims Youcef. His passion for safety is so strong that he would not accept a long assignment abroad during the pandemic or a fly-in/fly-out position if it didn’t meet the new standards. A safe relocation is the first step to having any success at work.  

A support network keeps you safe.

One thing we have learned from the pandemic is the power of a support network. Youcef has built a strong personal support with Easy Skill that has served him well. “I enjoy feeling heard and connected to someone who I know has my best interests at heart. My business manager is always checking in with me to ensure I’m successful and is always proactively tackling any difficulties, such as the conditions of isolation,” he confides. Success is never achieved alone and building your success circle is essential.


Make your own luck. 

Career satisfaction contributes to life satisfaction possibly more than we realise. After 20 years of working across industrial sites in France, Luxembourg, New Caledonia, and Gabon, Youcef has definitely reached expert-level status. The mining industry is always full of adventure and supports an ambitious spirit. The road to building a rewarding career is never a straight line, but each opportunity brings new lessons, teaches new skills, and builds friendships that can last a lifetime.

Zoé Braun

Content marketing specialist

Brand storyteller in more than just one language. She writes moving human stories and translates technical topics so they're easy to understand. Pretty nifty. She considers business is about building trust and long-lasting relationships. She gets jumpy if she doesn't get at least 3 weekly hours of sport, running, yoga, kitesurfing, - you name it!

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