Russia to help Sierra Leone and other African countries digitize their mining industry

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 26 October 2019:

Russian companies are offering robots, unmanned trucks and solutions based on the Industrial Internet of Things and Artificial Intelligence to African countries, to help improve productivity and boost export revenue.

The offer was made by the Russians on Thursday at the Russia-Africa summit and economic forum in Sochi during a panel discussion entitled: ‘The mining industry in Africa: new Russian technologies and high efficiency’.

Foday Rado Yokie – Sierra Leone’s minister of mines (Photo), took part in the discussions.

Also present were the representatives of ZYFRA (Finnish/Russian company), Alrosa (Russia), Chetra (Russia), Maximus Mining and General Maniema Mining Company from the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

“We are offering the African continent an automated mining and transport management system and robotic technologies,” said the CEO of ZYFRA, Igor Bogachev.

“The system of production control allows us to improve the efficiency of the mine fleet and optimize ore production and transportation, increasing mining volume by 15%. The robotic trucks performance is 20% higher than that of the usual technology.

“The dump truck driver is turned into the control centre operator. He can handle seven trucks simultaneously. Our autonomous dump trucks are already operational in Russia and Morocco,” Igor Bogachev said.

Dr. David Francis – Chief Minister of Sierra Leone, said that a country-wide aerial survey of geological resources has recently been conducted.

“We now know the approximate volume and quantities of mineral resources that our country possesses. We know that Russia has accumulated the knowledge and experience to help Sierra Leone evaluate all the information, enabling us to verify and confirm the amount, type and estimated value of the natural resources,” Said Francis (Photo).

The participants agreed that traditional means of mining mineral deposits are becoming increasingly expensive, with productivity falling due to technical maintenance costs, unreliable equipment, reactive troubleshooting, a lower equipment utilization coefficient and accidents connected to the transgression of safety regulations.

“The remote controlled mining technologies are effective in raising the safety level of works. They allow us to increase the company’s productivity,” added Mr Bogachev.

According to the Head of General Maniema Mining Company, George Oyema, an improvement to safety and productivity “satisfies the interests of the labor unions, the employers, the owners and, ultimately, the state. It also increases the productivity of the industry in a safe way.”

The Russia-Africa summit and economic forum took place this week in Sochi, Russia on 23–24 October 2019, where Heads of African states, representatives of Russian, African and international business, state structures and representatives of integration unions of the African continent, took part in wide ranging discussions about how best to improve economic relations between Russia and African countries.

Africa is one of the global leaders in resourcing and producing various raw materials and fuels, over 90% of which are exported.

The mineral industry is key to the industrial potential and export of many African countries. Almost 75% of foreign investment is destined for the mining industry.


ZYFRA develops industrial digitalization technologies, invests in the products and develops the Industrial Internet of Things and the artificial intelligence environment. The company’s main industry sectors are mechanical engineering, metallurgy, mining, the oil and gas industry and the chemical industry.

ZYFRA’s solutions are implemented at 70 quarries, including those belonging to global large-scale companies such as Norilsk Nickel, Severstal, Polyus, Polymetal and ArcelorMittal.

The company operates in over 10 countries, including India, Russia, China, Turkey, Chile, Peru, Morocco and Finland.


  1. Just Say NO. This is the 2nd coming of the exploitation of Africa, here Sierra Leone. All I see here is extraction without job creation. AI and robotics do not develop human resources, nor provide a means for people to earn a living. The end result will not benefit the citizens of Sierra Leone, nor Africa at large.

  2. I have said this in the past,but it is worth repeating again that at any one time the world is faced with geo-political power play among the powers that be. It is an exclusive league in which the players always have the developing world as their target – particularly Africa with its enormous resources.

    Upon the end of the second world war the cold war erupted between the capitalist West,led by the United States, and communist East led by Russia.This war lasted until the end of the decade of the 1980s.Nearly all African countries suffered under the cold war because their respective leaders did not understand the game that was on,or understood it but played it only to enrich themselves and to reinforce their grip on power.

    The only leader in the developing world who understood the power play of the cold war and used it to advance his country was the late Lee Kuan Yu of Singapore,so that by the time he retired his country had broken through to become a developed nation – as small as it is,and with no known natural resources.Cleverly he kept huge Communist China at bay without being offensive while cuddling up to the West without making any noise about it.

    Now there is a new game in town,which some are describing as the latest scramble for Africa.Only the leaders of the continent who understand it and play it well will benefit their nation.For the time being the Americans have pivoted towards the middle and far east,leaving the African Continent to be courted by the rest in the geo-political game.And so we have China, Russia, Japan, India and others stepping in.

    What the Russians are offering the mining sector in Africa should be grabbed with every thing we have; it offers the hope of finally enabling us to know exactly how much is mined and actually loaded on to ships for world markets and be in a position to demand the fullest compensation for it – it is a continuation of the East/West confrontation in a tangential fashion.

    President Bio and his Minister of Mines, Honourable Foday Yokie, should be highly commended for their effort. S.L. Mining have already had a taste of who Honourable Yokie is. Well there is more to come. After he is through with all the miners in the country they would wish that they were still functioning in the kleptomaniac era of Earnest Koroma.

    This piece cannot be ended without a word about how President Bio is conducting the nation’s international affairs. The centre of it all is the conspicuous diversification by which it is borne. In the Earnest Koroma days it was all china – not anymore. Now we have the Japanese and Russians as well. The one thing which President Bio must allow to go in tandem with his effort to entice foreign investment is a merciless crackdown on domestic violence from all quarters.

  3. It appears as if this ‘new direction’ SLPP government has lost its bearing. Automation of private industries is mainly the responsibility of the operators. The government’s priority is to ensure that the mines are opened – so that the residents can earn a dignified and decent living in the first instance. This will also create much needed export revenue, tax and other benefits for the government. Soliciting for digitization and robotic technology for the mining industry by the government is not something to take home and be proud of – especially in an under developed and labour-intensive country like Sierra Leone.

    The country’s local currency is plummeting day by day, and presumably, the Leone (Le) would be on free fall in the very near future. Inflation is skyrocketing, inflicting hardships on the nation. Unemployment hovering at around 70% is astronomically high even for a third world country. Not to mention the ever increasing domestic and foreign debt that is accumulating by the minute. Political and socio-economic tensions are rising. And yet, instead of trying to mitigate the subsequent repercussions of all these negative factors, President Maada Bio is deceitfully telling the whole world that the country is at a position that is conducive to foreign direct investment.

    Without casting any lack of conviction, the government is seemingly taking the people of Sierra Leone FOR A RIDE. And it is ominous to learn that the brunt of this carefree attitude of the government is being absorbed by the people in the opposition APC strongholds in the north – where the Tonkolili and Port Loko district mines are located. The northern region of the country has already been immorally marginalized by this government. Is it a deliberate policy by this gangster-type government to further punish the people in the north for not dancing to their tune?

  4. Sounds fantastic – Robots,unmanned trucks,multi-tasks equipment that increases productivity – Great! But at what cost? I mean seriously,I am not talking about money here; Has any legitimate concerns been raised regarding the safety, dependability,and efficiency of these so called advanced digital Russian equipments? If no,then why not?Again,does anyone,with a good head on their shoulders, know the longterm damaging effects such modernized tools could possibly have on the surrounding environment?

    Are credible reports,and records detailing the previous performances of these equipments in countries where they have already been used carefully looked into,and studied?And who knows for sure if these advanced mining tools have not been tainted,and contaminated in some way,or form by radioactivity? Anything is possible especially when you are an African begging for a handouts.(lol)

    Gentlemen wake the hell up! Sit tight,buckle up,and do the tedious,gruelling research,and stop acting spellbound,and captivated like little children being overwhelmed by the sight of new toys.(lol). Saidu Conteh says,Please remember not to bring anything home that will later degrade,and deteriorate into suffocating toxic waste materials,that will endanger the well being of our little ones. (lmao)

    Surely you guys know very well,that there are no management systems here to keep such things perfectly under control.(lol) And now what kind of money are we talking about for these advanced mining,devices,and gadgets?Are we talking peanuts,duffle bags,or truckloads?Here’s a piece of advice – first get your house in order,with investors like Gerald,and others,and seek their expert advice on these matters,and then proceed boldly from there…..Rising Sun Will Rise Again.

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