The Silicon Review
Gold mining companies are one of the major sources of income and economic growth. Their contribution helps in creating sustainable socio-economic development. When gold mining is done responsibly, it can positively impact the lives of the citizens of those countries. Gold mining companies can create a workforce that will help them in the long-run by providing the local community with the necessary training. The companies are responsible for employing a large number of people, often from remote areas that suffer from high levels of unemployment. Here, mined products are the building blocks of society, and urbanization develops and grows wherever mining activities are situated.
Modern industrial gold mining is known for destroying landscapes, but Phoenix Precious Metals (PPM) uses innovative techniques in mining to reduce the impact of mining significantly. The company was established in 2015 to focus on trading precious metals and precious stones. In early 2016, the company initiated its own gold exploration, and from 2018 it started the extraction and production process. PPM invested their funds and time in mining because they saw a bigger vision and a grand opportunity to integrate the supply chain, streamline operational costs, and make processes more efficient for the end-user and investor. PPM has developed into a major stakeholder in the West African gold market as it continues to acquire mining permits. Growth has been rapid and it now operates from 8 separate offices across the African continent and UAE.
In conversation with Yacoub Sidya, Founder of Phoenix Precious Metals
Q. What motivated you to venture into a high-profit and equally complicated industry?
By nature, I like challenges, and believe it or not, mining is not complicated. One of my first endeavors as an entrepreneur was leading MSS, a security company across West Africa that offered Security Guards and Armored Vehicle Transport, amongst other services. We had clients in the gold mining industry, as partners in their secure logistics operations. So, I’d been around mining for 15+ years, as an ancillary partner. During those years, I had the opportunity to watch operations firsthand and absorb as much information as possible. More importantly, I learned from mistakes I observed by seeing up close the inefficiencies of the supply chain. I knew it needed to be better. We began investing our time and funds, and because of our local knowledge, we were able to streamline operational costs and make processes more efficient. And so, PPM was born. Hence the inspiration for our namesake, “Phoenix” -- my mission was to transform the gold mining industry in West Africa; our employee mantra is “Rise like a Phoenix.” Everyone tends to have a wrong first impression of the gold mining industry: it is questionable and ripe for criticism. We were on a mission to do things right, to change, make the industry ‘reborn,’ as the Phoenix symbol from Greek Mythology indicates.
Q. The gold mining industry generates an enormous amount of waste compared to its product. How is this issue taken care of by Phoenix Precious Metals?
Our operations are set up to make as little impact as possible on the environment with innovative techniques. We consult with first world miners and invest in the best tech that is far superior to the old school processes. Currently, our mining operations only use Gravity Recovery Flotation Circuits to recover gold, and we recycle 80% of our water.
Q. What is your stand against climate change and negative effects of mining on the environment?
It is a complicated answer for sure, simply because of the lack of infrastructure across the entire West African region. Whole nations can run on generators, so Africa needs holistic governmental infrastructure help, that’s the root of the problem. Yet for PPM, we stand for ways to combat emissions in our day-to-day activities, like sectioning times of the day that trucks, loaders, and machines are operating, especially on high-heat days. We have initiatives in place to reduce our impact on the environment and incentivize employees to join the mission. It is part of their annual review to make sure that ethos carries through to everyone with a PPM badge. If any of our geology initiatives hinder trees, we replace them by replanting in another area, by balancing the CO2.
Q. Talking about responsible mining, how do you take care of the socio-economic conditions of the country?
This is the real reason I am personally invested in what we do...making societies of Africa better. We have built, and maintained access-roads to remote villages helped fund education, built hospitals, schools, and soccer stadiums. The one I am most proud of is a program to win scholarships to a US University. Education, to me, is the missing piece that will unlock the future for Africa. Plus, it mirrors my personal story, I attended a US University; it set my path, and I want that for more people. More tactically, PPM provides training for local communities and provides employment. We educate small scale miners on how to mine safely and protect the environment. One of my personal missions is to find small scale miners who bring their kids to work and offer them incentives to send their kids to school instead. This seems like a no-brainer to other regions, but in Africa it’s not as commonplace. We’ll give them mining equipment and let them consult with our geologists, as long as, in return, school is prioritized over work.
Q. What are your future plans for the development of your company? What are your trajectories for the next 5 years?
To grow consistently and become one of the major gold producers in the region is our motto. We are planning to bring the seven concessions in Guinea, three in Burkina Faso and two in Mauritania into production with low-cost responsible mining, the same environmentally friendly approach, and a win-win for all stakeholders, local communities, employees, and the government. Especially locals, we’re transforming people’s lives, and that’s everything to me.
PPM and MSS are both part of the Phoenix Group of companies with a service offering that ranges from Gold Mining, Gold Trading, Armored Transit, Security, Aviation, Foreign Exchange, Logistics and Consulting.
Meet the leader behind the success of Phoenix Precious Metals
Yacoub Sidya is the Founder of Phoenix Precious Metals (PPM). He grew up in Mauritania, so he’s in personal pursuit of boosting West African economies and bridging Africa with the rest of the world, by providing jobs and developing local communities. He has had the privilege to lead several businesses over the years, with current dedication to gold mining and gold trading.