Our operational focus is to continuously improve our cost and technical performance as well as maintain excellent social and environmental practices. We also seek to continually enhance customer experience through regular customer feedback and engagement.
In addition to owning bauxite concessions and trading coal, we aim to expand our depth and breadth by diversifying to other commodities to be a key player in the industry.
Sustainability is embedded as a core component of our corporate strategy.
2024 marks our 10th anniversary. A fitting moment to reflect on our journey as a company.
In this milestone year, what resonates most strongly is the idea of how each action, big or small, loud or silent, has contributed to our growth and resilience. We have come a long way since our early days, and I am immensely grateful. The unconditional support and wisdom received from the first generation every step of the way has allowed us to be where we are today. In this journey that is a sum of even the smallest parts, every piece matters. The role played by every member of our team, partner, and customer who has placed their trust in us, every action taken as a business; every idea and initiative to create a more sustainable footprint – all instrumental to our story as a company.
We have a lot to be proud of as we begin 2024. In spite of the macroeconomic headwinds of 2023, we made great strides forward and achieved significant milestones throughout the year. They were certainly not easy, but achieved thanks to the tenacity, adaptability, and strong sense of ownership of our team. For how much we have accomplished in the past year, I am immensely proud of our commitment to always extracting the best from all we do, laying the foundations for a very exciting year of the Dragon.
Navigating the turbulence of 2023 to emerge stronger
The past year was marked by a confluence of global challenges that shaped market outlook, industry stability, and business operations. Amidst this harsh reality and a fractured world, we stood resilient. This underscores the importance of building resilience and adaptability, while understanding and managing geopolitical risks in a rapidly changing world.
Despite this challenging environment, we stayed on track throughout the year. In fact, we have emerged stronger from 2023. We surpassed expectations in a few key aspects, such as in our yield from hauling operations in Guinea, as well as the expansion of our trading activities to include Gold and FFA trading. This outcome not only highlights the tremendous work of our team, but also the strength and value of our local and international partnerships with private and public sector organisations.
As a testament to our success as a company, we were honoured with our second consecutive nod at Deloitte’s SEA Best Managed Companies award. Being recognized with this accolade for the second consecutive year is a testament to the team’s hard work, our strategic direction, overall business performance, and sustained success and growth in a competitive business environment.
For our efforts in integrating sustainable practices across our work, we also received the inaugural Next ICON Award in April 2023. Organised by media publication ICON Singapore in partnership with SMU’s Business Families Institute, the award recognises the sustainability contributions of the next generation of entrepreneurs and family businesses in the region.
Establishing new foundations, unlocking future growth
We planted the foundations for many new opportunities last year. The AGB2A-GIC partnership, inked in May 2023, marked a significant milestone for us as we deepen our operations and relationships in Guinea. We commenced hauling operations at the Axis Binton site in end-August 2023, and within four months had extracted over 1 million MT of bauxite from the site. A record for us as a company, and one we should all be very proud of.
We also made further inroads with the completion of road infrastructure from the Kimbo West mine site to Kimbo & Co. Port. This milestone further strengthens our integrated operational efficiencies and is a testament to the collective efforts of the consortium partners and the local authorities. This important phase of our operations opens the door to the next step of our operations, connecting the fully operational Kimbo Port with our mine site some 100km away to better serve our customers and partners.
Similarly, our commodities trading segment made significant progress, deepening and diversifying our business through the acquisition of new mine sources and buyers. Simultaneously, we laid the groundwork for two new revenue streams—FFA and Gold trading—the former having already commenced trading in 2024.
Investing in our people and planet
A flurry of company activities took place throughout the year, from the continuation of our flagship Kindness Warrior campaign to community skills training, and internal team-building activities that centered on ecological awareness and community consciousness. This ethos of social responsibility and sense of community is a badge that we should all wear proudly.
For our operations in Guinea, 2023 was a year of deepening our community development activities through active and meaningful discourse and action. We have always recognised the importance of working alongside local communities at our various mine sites, and thus, stepped up our engagement with the local communities to better understand their concerns and requests across the year. We committed to hiring and training more locals to fill positions across our operations in the country, with a special focus on youth employment and skills training. We also commenced the construction of community roads to provide better access to water points and travel between villages in October – a long-standing infrastructural need that can greatly improve the lives of the community.
In Singapore, 2023’s edition of Kindness Warrior built upon our past efforts. Continuing our partnership with North East CDC, we took to the waterways with the Paddle for School Transport event. The hugely successful event was also made possible by our corporate sponsors Castlery Private Limited, Kinderworld International Group, Mooreast Asia Pte Ltd, Mlion Corporation Pte Ltd and EtonHouse International Holdings Pte Ltd. It was a roaring success with S$65,440 raised, which went directly to providing school transport subsidies for underprivileged students in Singapore’s Northeast district. Through the annual Kindness Warrior initiative, I am glad that we can make even a small positive impact on the academic journeys of underprivileged children each year.
In the spirit of nurturing our commitment to sustainability and environmental awareness as a team, we also took a trip to Coney Island, as a part of the lesser-known World Migratory Bird Day. Aside from the valuable time spent together bonding, we also took away many useful pieces of information about biodiversity and the importance of safeguarding natural habitats. It was a profoundly memorable team experience, immersing ourselves in an eco-friendly environment and witnessing the impactful steps we can take to lessen our footprint on the planet.
We also reaffirmed our commitment to the continued investment in our people at the individual level. We introduced a S$300 per person care initiative for employees to utilise for health and well-being products and services, as well as scheduled medical examinations for our employees across our markets of operations. These initiatives underscore the importance of the holistic development and well-being of our people, the cornerstone of our ongoing success as a company.
Marching ahead with vigour and strength
We have entered the year of the Dragon, the Wood Dragon to be exact. The Dragon: characterized by prosperity, loyalty, strength, progress, and growth, together with the element of Wood: characterized by energy and dreams of changing the world – it seems highly fitting that this should be how we kick off the next decade as a company.
This year, we have our eyes set on exploring new opportunities and deepening existing ones. Assessments outside our current geographical markets, implementing new methods and technologies to develop greener and more sustainable operations, and maturing our current portfolio of projects in Guinea and Indonesia together with our valued partners. We will continue investing in our people, prioritising the availability of upskilling and training opportunities, well-being practices and open feedback systems.
I believe it is on the cards that 2024 will truly be a pivotal year for our next chapter as a company.
On behalf of the management team, I would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to all of you for your commitment and dedication. Our efforts as a team and our strengthening relationship with our partners make every step forward possible. I am immensely grateful to each and every one of you for the part played in our journey thus far, and moving forward.
Together, I am looking forward to a 2024 full of fresh challenges, abundant opportunities, exciting milestones, and the creation of many new memories for the 龙-term.
Dato’ Victor Tan