As a leading reagent technology management expert, Axis House offers cutting-edge mineral processing solutions with almost 20 years of experience within the market. They have become a major supplier and distributor of chemicals to the mining industry, proudly offering its services to more than 80 clients across the globe.
The core business of Axis House is understanding the needs of its mineral processing clients and addressing those needs with quality products, people and service. Axis House has evolved from being a logistics company to a solutions-focused service provider with specialised expertise and facilities. The company has a diversely skilled team including experienced chemists, geologists, metallurgists and process engineers.
Research and development (R&D) is an ongoing process that is taken extremely seriously, which is why Axis House has state-of-the-art laboratories, including a flotation laboratory in Cape Town; a metallurgical laboratory in Sydney and an R&D lab in Melbourne. These fully equipped facilities, which include milling, flotation, sedimentation, leaching and analytical equipment, enable the accurate benchmarking of alternate reagent suites against each other, to find the optimal solution for the client’s specific metallurgical conditions.
The R&D carried out in the Cape Town and Melbourne laboratories offers a fully complimentary service to existing and prospective clients, to ensure that the most proficient product is specifically formulated for every customer’s specific ore. Constant monitoring of the world chemical market means that they bring reagents to clients as soon as they become economically viable. With a product offering including both mining chemicals and mining consumables centred on problem-solving rather than simple chemical supply, the group’s expert team constantly pushes the boundaries of innovation for its diverse clients and their specific requirements.
Consistent communication and collaboration with clients are the hallmark of Axis House, and they always strive for mutually sustainable solutions based on rigorous trials and data collection. Through their commitment to R&D, Axis House has found that the development of mining reagents often requires a broad-based approach to innovation that mirrors the complexities of the ore bodies themselves. In this regard, Axis House follows a practical application technology strategy, providing a complimentary suite selection and optimisation service to clients, who are mainly interested in the Axis House-developed technology of combining fatty acids, hydroxamates and sulphidisation suites to effectively and economically float oxide minerals.
Its solution is to develop suites of reagents that will function synergistically and optimise both the use of the client’s processing equipment and the selective collecting power of the reagent. This client-focused approach enables the Axis House experts to fully understand specific needs and develop a detailed comprehension of their clients’ processes and challenges. The desired end result is not to simply offer them an affordable price per ton of chemicals, but to supply those reagents that will make a tangible difference to their bottom line, and provide effective and consistent solutions. Axis House’s mandate is to supply reagents that float its clients’ minerals at the best possible return.
Thanks to their years of extensive experience in the DRC and Zambia, Axis House specialises in the flotation of copper and cobalt; but other minerals have not been ignored. Leveraging a secure African footprint, gold and platinum are part of the next natural progression for Axis House, which is also considering markets beyond Africa, where there is scope for expansion in the main copper-producing regions. The company has started expansion in South America, with an office in Peru and plans to open an office in Chile.
With stock strategically placed, it is able to offer continuity of supply, enabling clients to hold smaller volumes on-site, thereby minimising their stockholding on their balance sheet and reducing the risk of over-stock positions on-site. Axis House performs monthly stock takes, checks daily consumptions and keeps a close eye on any fluctuations in consumption to maintain a healthy stock level on-site. The Axis House range includes mining chemicals for flotation (including proprietary flotation technology), primary and secondary collectors, the HydroFroth™ range of frothers, and sulphidising agents – as well their Revadep range of depressants, Brontë range of flocculants, thickeners, hydrometallurgical reagents and laboratory chemicals.
At the helm… Axis House MD Justine Stubbs discusses the group’s journey and what lies ahead.
Q: What is your background?
A: I was educated in Sweden and arrived in South Africa in 1993. My background is in supply chain management. My first job here was for a trading company dealing in bulk commodities into Africa. It was a good learning ground. I had a few more jobs like that before Axis House was started in 2001.
Q: What does your role as MD entail?
A: My role is very strategic and managerial. With a number of companies in the group, it is important we all swim in the same direction. As a growing company, this makes my role very exciting and challenging.
Q: Do you have a mentor?
A: Many people have influenced and inspired me. Most recently, my friend and mentor Johan Kuhn has inspired me to seek a new growth vision for the company, which involves more focus on training our team and converting difficulties into opportunities.
Q: With an international footprint, what are the biggest challenges with clients abroad?
A: The biggest challenge is finding local people who understand the philosophy of Axis House. South African companies have a special go-getter work ethic that is sometimes hard to translate into other cultures and languages.
Q: What services does Axis House offer?
A: Axis House offers a complete service to all our partners and clients. From reagent scoping, optimisation and on-site technical problem-solving, support and training, to stockholdings transport and supply solutions. We take full responsibility for our products – not only delivering them in a safe and excellent condition but also ensuring that they perform once in the plant. Our regional technical teams spend their time on-site ensuring performance is kept at optimum levels.
Q: Besides copper and cobalt, what minerals does Axis House deal with?
A: Axis House’s current growth areas are platinum and gold, which are a natural progression for the company.
Q: What are the biggest growth markets?
A: Africa still has great growth potential and we are investing a lot of time and effort into growing in our current markets. South America is also a great growth opportunity.
Q: In light of Industry 4.0, how is Axis House evolving?
A: This is a very exciting time. Many of the plants we work with have implemented new monitoring systems that make understanding chemical performance faster and easier. This has eliminated some of the guesswork and delays in analysing results. It makes us more efficient and allows more time for on-site problem-solving. I believe in using technology to our advantage, which means spending more time with our clients.
Q: In your opinion, what does good leadership entail?
A: Setting realistic goals and supporting our staff with coaching along the way to achieve those goals – most people work really well when given a fair chance and clear direction.
Q: You describe Axis House as a problem-solving company, rather than simply a chemical supplier…
A: Yes. If our clients have a drop in recovery, grade or other problem we immediately go on-site to investigate. We find the root of the problem and a solution that works for the client. This could entail running test programmes with newly developed chemicals, reagent optimisation or operator training.
Q: What gives Axis House a leading edge?
A: Our problem-solving focus; our willingness to work with clients to improve their process; and our many years of experience working with and delivering reagents to places that are not always easily accessible has given us an edge on our competitors.