The anniversary of Mining and Technical Exhibitions’ (MTE) 30th year in business coincides with its upcoming expo tour in Zambia in the month of September.

Image credit: ©MTE

Image credit: ©MTE

MTE travels to Zambia annually, and its trilogy of expos is one of the highlights of the company’s calendar. The travelling exhibition company will host three consecutive shows within a week, starting with the Kalumbila Expo on 18 September, stopping off at Solwezi on 20 September and ending the tour on 22 September in Kitwe. This year will be a particularly special tour as it coincides with the company’s 30th birthday celebration.

Andrew Macnamara, operations director, has been with the company for over 15 years now. When asked what his most memorable experience has been at an MTE tradeshow, auspiciously top of this list, was an experience in Zambia. He says, “In 2015 the Zambian minister of Mines and Minerals Development, honourable Christopher Bwalya Yaluma, attended and addressed our MTE Kitwe Expo, which of course bears testament to the role MTE plays and the reputation we have built as an industry stakeholder. MTE strives to support a modernised and safe mining and industrial sector through our solutions-driven tradeshows, where – together with our valued suppliers – we showcase new tech and consistently evolving innovation to improve safety and efficiencies in the industry, all year long.”

Over the past 30 years, MTE has most certainly made its mark in the travelling exhibition industry in SADC. The company’s customised high impact exhibitions are well-known across many industries – mining, power, cement, sugar, logistics – port and harbour, and paper and pulp industries – for bringing buyer and supplier together, creating worthwhile networking opportunities and the sharing of challenges, solutions and opportunities for all parties in the value chain.

The evolution of MTE

Macnamara reminisces: the company started from very humble beginnings. The late Tony Wightman founded the company in 1993, starting MTE’s journey in a land cruiser with a trailer – travelling from rec club to rec club in the sector to showcase solutions to the end-user. He would host 10 to 20 suppliers at the local mining rec club, where operations’ management would go for a beer after work. Suppliers would engage with the interested mine bosses eager to improve their operations.

Since those early days and after Interact Media Defined acquired the company in 2004, MTE has become a force to be reckoned with in southern Africa, with its trademark yellow and orange tents and two 24-ton trucks – Timon and Pumbaa.  The company’s lean team of seven committed individuals now hosts between 24 and 30 shows annually, which range from smaller, intimate expos – usually on site at an operation – to large trade expos, visited by multi-disciplinary decision makers, from artisans to top management professionals, across a number of industries. Macnamara notes that the secret to the company’s success lies in its relationships with both the multi-industry operations and the expert suppliers of products and services to the sectors.

The company’s lean team of seven committed individuals now hosts between 24 and 30 shows annually, which range from smaller, intimate expos – usually on site at an operation – to large trade expos, visited by multi-disciplinary decision makers, from artisans to top management professionals across a number of industries. Image credit: ©MTE

The company’s lean team of seven committed individuals now hosts between 24 and 30 shows annually, which range from smaller, intimate expos – usually on site at an operation – to large trade expos, visited by multi-disciplinary decision makers, from artisans to top management professionals across a number of industries. Image credit: ©MTE

The MTE team has grown the business astronomically since 1993, travelling over 300 000km by truck and with more than 1.65 million kilometres travelled for relationship building visits to operations, hosting over 21 600 suppliers and over 180 000 visitors, covering content for a cross-section of commodities – platinum, PGMs, gold, diamonds, copper, iron ore, manganese, coal, energy, paper and pulp, sugar and cement – both locally and cross border, including countries like Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Zambia to date.

The company has smashed some of its own records in its milestone 30th year in business. For instance, this year saw over 135 exhibitors showcasing innovation to over 500 visitors at the 2023 MTE Rustenburg one-day expo, the MTE Kathu trade show saw 115 exhibitors and just under 500 visitors, while the Northern Cape expo-trilogy – with the company’s first-ever back-to-back shows without the customary day in between – saw 300 exhibitors deliver solutions to just under 1000 visitors.

An aerial shot of the MTE 2023 Kathu trade show that hosted 115 exhibitors and just under 500 visitors. Image credit: C-Chip

An aerial shot of the MTE 2023 Kathu trade show that hosted 115 exhibitors and just under 500 visitors. Image credit: C-Chip

Macnamara is hoping to see another one of the team’s records smashed when they travel to Zambia this month. “I visited Zambia in July this year to engage with the operations in the areas we will be visiting. Their priorities are currently focused on plant maintenance and efficiencies. Automation and innovations to promote safety on moving parts within the operations were also a recurring theme in discussions.

He adds, “If you are a supplier of mining and power tech solutions, the draw card for you to join the tour would of course be the fact that only a week and a bit of your schedule would be required to sign up a potential annual contract for solutions you know have been requested upfront. Not to mention the fact that the customer will come to you, as MTE has marketed the event upfront consistently, since the publication of its calendar in August last year.” The visit is also a win-win on the cost side of things as the tour involves one visit to the country to have the opportunity to speak to many decision makers, who are interested and looking forward to seeing what is available.

Zambian business climate

The efforts of the ‘New Dawn’ administration in the country to enhance the investment climate for mining, to seek commitments from the mining sector to contribute to the national economy and to incorporate social responsibility have made an impactful difference in doing business in Zambia.

Project activity bodes well for the tour

The government’s commitment to improve the predictability of the mining fiscal regime has also provided the certainty needed to support large capital investments in Zambia. A case in point are two landmark investments by First Quantum Minerals involving around USD1.25-billion to expand production and extend the life of the Kansanshi Mine, and an additional USD100-million investment to bring online the USD250-million new Enterprise Nickel Mine. The S3 expansion at the Kansanshi mine will expand production and extend the mine life for another two decades, and the low-cost, high-grade Enterprise nickel project is well placed to supply the rapidly growing electric vehicle battery sector.

Barrick – another major player in the country – is also picking up speed in the drive to transform the Lumwana copper mine into a Tier One asset with a life extending beyond 2060, and the operation’s strong performance in the past quarter is adding impetus to its continuing production ramp-up.

Based on the activity in the country and the positivity in the business arena in Zambia experienced in his most recent trip, Macnamara envisages a very successful tour for MTE and its valued exhibitors – in this, its 30th year of business.

For more information about upcoming shows and how to get registered, contact the MTE sales team:
Sheldon Greybe: +27 (0) 84 569 3516 | sheldong@interactmedia.co.za
Cathylene Labuschagne: +27 (0) 11 579 4940 | cathylene@interactmedia.co.za