SELEBI-PHIKWE: Discovery Drilling Africa continues to grow in leaps and bounds despite the economic downturn.
The company's director, Hendrick Herbst, says the Selebi-Phikwe-based Discovery Drilling started its operations last year in July. He explained that he decided to be based here because he wanted to support the economy of this town because he grew up in Mmadinare and it is his way of giving back to the community.
"We started off with only three drilling machines and we were only doing jobs for BCL Mine," Herbst says. "Today we have nine machines and 45 Batswana employees. We do jobs for five different mining companies, and we do not owe any financial institution."
Discovery Drilling has grown into an efficient and effective business since it began, "maintaining the highest standards with regard to personnel, equipment, health and safety and delivery of quality service to its clients".
Herbst says after the economy recovers, their intention is to increase the number of machines to 20. They have purchased two machines for drilling water for farmers around the country and for the Department of Water Affairs.
Herbst also intends to open a game park in Selebi-Phikwe as another way of diversifying the economy of the mining town. Although his company is a sizeable drilling venture, "it will not be allowed to slide into an oversized,
They also intend expanding their drilling operations to other sub-Saharan countries.
While he acknowledges "tough competition from bigger and more established companies," Herbst says they "aim to be the best, not the biggest". "We are very much concerned about the environment and safety because we believe that we cannot do a good job if we fail to protect the environment.
"We are able to get jobs because of the quality that we produce. We are not only after money but to give the best service." Discovery Drilling did not lay off workers when economic recession started to bite, he says; only a few were laid off due to various reasons.
Herbst says that manageability and mobility are two principles very highly regarded by the management of Discovery Drilling in order to ensure service excellence.
Years of experience in the exploration drilling environment has taught Herbst valuable lessons about the need for an excellent drilling machine, hence Discovery Drilling Africa has decided to manufacture its own drilling machines to specifications.
"We take pride in our safety record because we have drilled thousands of metres in conditions varying from good to extremely bad with regards to terrain, weather and rock formations," Herbst says.