Risk Management

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Bush Banking Poseidon Geophysics conducts geophysical surveys for the mining industry across much of southern Africa, so Poseidonís managing director , Bill McLellan, is often working well off the beaten track. In the past this made even routine transactions, such as paying staff salaries, relatively cumbersome. Bill McLellan talks about P oseidonís business and how its use of Standard Charteredís Straight2Bank has streamlined its day to day banking and business activities.

Bush Banking

How long has Poseidon been going?

The company started in Botswana in 1979. At the time, Botswana looked attractive compared to neighbouring South Africa as a domicile because it was not affected by the trade sanctions relating to apartheid. This meant that we were able to obtain the necessary equipment when competitors in South Africa could not - or only with great difficulty. Being able to access the instruments we needed relatively easily, was an important factor in the early days in picking up contracts for geophysical exploration.

What is Poseidon’s core business?

Originally we were in both ground and aerial geophysics. As part of the latter business we combined four magnetometers in a Cessna 404 Titan to create the first commercial gradiometer aircraft in the world. The use of four sensors means that the total magnetic field vector can be determined, thus allowing more accurate determination of the target location. This means that when surveying a given strip of land you don’t have to fly so many passes, potentially reducing the cost of the survey by 10-15%.

We subsequently sold the aerial geophysics business and now just focus on ground geophysics. Poseidon works on a contract consulting basis for a variety of mining companies across southern Africa in countries such as Botswana, Mali, Sudan and Tanzania. The equipment we typically use involves injecting current into the ground using a series of electrodes. The electromagnetic signals generated by this process can then be used to determine whether a particular mineral is present or not and, if so, in what quantities.

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