Interview: Intrachem’s Managing Director – Darryn Brider

Darryn Brider

Who is Darryn Brider and what is your role at Intrachem?

I’m a Zimbabwean born and bred, with my career starting in finance-focused roles and then working my way up, eventually, to Managing Director at Intrachem. First and foremost, my role at Intrachem is being the custodian and promoter of the company’s values, with safety as our first priority. I’m incredibly proud to be a Zimbabwean leading the only major local explosives manufacturing company, particularly with our achievements to date, while up against foreign powerhouses of the industry.

What sets Intrachem apart from other suppliers in terms of product quality and service offerings?

As a Zimbabwean business, Intrachem offers the best of both worlds when you combine our local mining industry
knowledge and understanding with the technology partnerships we have with industry leaders such as Austin Powder, Sasol Dyno Nobel, Enaex and Famesa, just to name a few. Add in our local footprint, skilled resources and capabilities and you end up with an offering of world-class, safe and reliable products and second-to-none services from a highly trained, customer-focused local technical support team around the clock.

How does Intrachem address the affordability of explosives and related products for artisanal and small-scale miners, who may have limited financial resources compared to larger mining companies?

At Intrachem we cater for the entire industry, including small-scale miners, and while fair and affordable pricing is always a key consideration, one we generally achieve, our primary focus is always providing safe and reliable
products to ASMs.Artisanal miners often work under challenging conditions with limited resources.

How does Intrachem support these miners in adopting best practices for explosives handling and blasting techniques?

As mentioned already, safety is our first priority and we try to incorporate this value to all stakeholders we reach within the industry. For the last 18 months, we have implemented outreach programs whereby we host safety awareness open days for ASMs, at which we hold presentations from our trained and qualified professional team on safe storage, transportation and usage of explosives. Soon we shall also be releasing videos with similar content to
social media platforms in the hopes of reaching and educating a wider ASM audience.

Tell us five reasons why Miners/ Mining Companies should consider Intrachem Explosives

Safety, quality, reliability, value and efficiency, although these five attributes alone don’t sum it up, we’re not just
suppliers; we aim to be partners in progress and want to translate these attributes into quantifiable benefits to our customers.

Intrachem prides itself on being the only explosives supplier in Zimbabwe that guarantees the supply of quality capped fuses and igniter cords, among other products. How do you manage to maintain this unique offering in the market?

Again, this comes down to our local mining industry knowledge and understanding and linking up with technology
partnerships with global explosives industry leaders. Through our experience over many years in the market, we’ve
managed to zero in on the best quality products from around the world, including capped fuses and ignitor cords, and add them to the local market offering. Thereafter, our adherence to safe, sustainable and lawful handling of explosives has aided Intrachem in standing the test of time as the local industry leader.

There have been reports of laxity in explosives controls and explosives ending up getting into the wrong hands and some ending up being smuggled to neighbouring countries. What role can explosives suppliers play in curbing this practice and what is Intrachem doing to assist the government efforts?

This is a major concern within the explosives industry worldwide and the solution should always lie, in part, with the explosives manufacturers and suppliers. Intrachem adheres to the laws and regulatory requirements outlined in the Explosives Act and explosives regulations, this includes selling only to permitted and licensed buyers, mitigating the risk of unauthorized access to its explosives, thereby safeguarding both public safety and regulatory compliance. We also maintain regular engagement with the relevant Government Departments in an effort to proffer any assistance we can by way of our expertise and wide-reaching industry footprint.

What are some of the strategies for managing risk and ensuring the safety of your employees and customers?

Holding safety as a first priority in everything we do has developed a culture within the business, which is a huge part of our strategy to “create and maintain a safety culture”. At Intrachem we start every task, meeting or project with safety as the first topic addressed. Regular safety training and reporting form a large part of all job descriptions within the company and we ensure that everyone within the Intrachem family is adequately equipped to tackle required tasks safely and effectively.

Could you elaborate on Intrachem’s commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship in the context of manufacturing and supplying explosives? What initiatives or practices has the company adopted to minimize its environmental footprint?

Our Company Mission is “To improve the world we live in through the safe and responsible use of explosives,” which is exactly what we aim for in the areas of sustainability and environmental stewardship. In conjunction with one of our shareholders and global industry leaders, we have just commenced our journey on an ESG (environmental & Social Governance) plan, which will be sure to see us ever improving in the way we
manufacture and use our products, impact the communities in which we work and hopefully have this rub off on anyone within the industries and sectors we work with.

Please tell us about the relationship with Austin Powder and how it has helped your company and the Zimbabwean Mining Industry.

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With Intrachem’s history of partnership with major industry players like Sasol Dyno Nobel, Enaex, and FAMESA, how does the company leverage these partnerships to drive innovation and product development?

Austin Powder is one of the leading companies globally within the explosives industry and through their shareholding in Intrachem, they’ve provided us with the additional skills, technology and mentorship to reach the next level within the Zimbabwean industry. Partnering with Austin Powder and the other global industry giants you mentioned has helped Intrachem massively in keeping abreast of the newest and best innovations and
technology in explosives and explosives applications, thereby helping us bring more value and efficiencies to the local mining and blasting community.

Looking ahead, what are Intrachem’s strategic priorities and growth plans for the next five years? How does the company plan to capitalize on emerging opportunities in the mining, quarrying, and manufacturing sectors in Zimbabwe and beyond?

In the immediate term, growing our footprint in the Zimbabwean market is our top focus, with our major goal being to penetrate the underground market by way of one of the large PGM mines. We are fully confident we are equipped on all levels to fulfil any of their requirements and are relishing the chance to do so! In the medium term, we are looking to imminently expand our portfolio of locally manufactured products which is incredibly exciting. Then looking further ahead, in conjunction with Austin Powder, we are assessing ways in which we can get
footholds across our borders and into the sub-Saharan regional market.

How is the local community benefiting from your operations?

The major impact we’ve had to date is through the employment of people from local communities in which we operate, most pertinently within our Kwekwe Manufacturing Plant where the entirety of the team complement are born and raised in the surrounding area. Looking ahead though, we’re developing a more comprehensive strategy within the scope of our progressing ESG plan, whereby we aim to assist local communities surrounding our operations more directly.

If you are made Mines and Mining Development Minister today what will you immediately change (add or remove) in the Explosive Act?

Speaking purely from my perspective within the explosives industry, enhancing safety would be key on my agenda for immediate impact, resourcing the authorities to improve enforcing compliance among explosives companies and ensuring the rules and laws of the Explosives Act are upheld for the betterment and safety of the industry as a whole. At the end of the day, safety is our first priority.

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