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Craig Bradshaw | CEO | Masan High-Tech Materials

MASAN High-tech Materials – Leveraging Modern Technology, Facilitating Key Industry Sectors Globally

One of the imperative questions that crosses the mind of many young entrepreneurs is, “What does it take to succeed in the industry that they are about to venture into?” If one goes to find the answer to that question, they will find tonnes of information out there on the internet or will get all sorts of advice from different people promising a sure-shot solution. The solutions from these different sources can be helpful, especially the technical ones but believe it or not, the one factor that decides your true destiny is your ambition.

This particular quality is what you will find common in most successful people and organizations. An undying passion and strong ambition to reach zeniths. Ambition is the true zeitgeist of success. One of the infamous leaders proving this point on a global platform is a Vietnam-based company, Masan High-Tech Materials. With its consistent and rapid growth, the leading producer of tungsten materials has time and time again redefined the spirit of success throughout its 12 years of operation.

The Making of a Global Leader

Masan High-Tech Materials started out in 2010 as a firm focused on mining and resources extraction activities under the name Masan Resources Corporation (MSR) as a part of the Masan Group. It wasn’t until 2014 that the company started its commercial production of Tungsten concentrate, Copper concentrate, Fluorspar concentrate, and Bismuth concentrate.

To advance its Tungsten chemical factory in Vietnam, the firm established Masan Tungsten Manufacturing LLC (NHTCM) in 2014 – a joint venture with H.C. Starck Tungsten GmbH, holding a 51% stake; then, in 2018, the firm acquired a 49% stake in NHTCM and changed its name to Masan Tungsten Limited Liability Company (MTC).

The company recently acquired H.C. Starck Tungsten GmbH in 2020, which put it on the global mining map as a high-tech materials manufacturing company changing its name from Masan Resources Corporation to Masan HighTech Materials Corporation. This acquisition has enabled vertical integration with Masan High-Tech Materials’ existing assets -’ Nui Phao Mining Company and Masan Tungsten Company products streams.

The expansion of the firm continues in different aspects, be it the technical ability or the geographical reach, as it integrates the businesses. Masan High-Tech Materials’ global ambitions are evident as it makes strategic collaborations with companies such as Mitsubishi Materials Corporation with the objective of developing a leadings high-tech tungsten materials platform.

 Masan High-Tech Materials continues to transform into a leading vertically integrated advanced high-tech materials development platform with a focus on sustainability, innovation, and customized solutions to deliver greater values to its customers and stakeholders.

The Visionary Person-in-focus

Craig Bradshaw, the visionary CEO behind the exemplary success of Masan High-Tech Materials, is a seasoned professional with a demonstrated history working in the mining and metals industry. Craig’s journey commenced in the mining industry when he landed a job at a mining company called Mount Isa Mines; this gave him an amazing opportunity to work and get exposed to all mining operations, everything from copper smelting to the sale of non-core assets. His early exposure to all the operations gave him a head-start in the industry.

From there, Craig went to a bunch of different places to explore more mining and also stepped higher on the corporate ladder as he gained more and more experience in different operations. While working as a General Manager at Alex Mill Operations, Craig got a phone call and a proposal to come work in Vietnam and set up a new company as a greenfield. This was the start of Masan High-Tech Materials.

Starting from scratch, Craig and his partner worked together to build a team of people who would take the idea of Masan High-Tech Materials to its commercial reality. The dedicated team worked together to set a new benchmark and bring the first tungsten mine into development in the western world in 15 years.

Pushing through all the complexities and difficulties, Masan High-Tech Materials today has extensive plans to develop and extend business beyond the tungsten, fluorspar, bismuth, copper, and cobalt that it does into other materials.

Overcoming Adversities

To acquire the legacy of a 100-year-old company is not an easy job when you’re a fairly new candidate in the market yourself, but Masan High-Tech Materials, with its rich culture, was able to do so quite efficiently. When Masan High-Tech Materials took over H.C Starck’s global tungsten powder business, its customer base went from being 30 to having 350 customers worldwide, and that jump came with its own set of challenges.

To top it all off, this massive acquisition took place in during the pandemic, which made it all the way more challenging to interact with a team of people coming from different cultural backgrounds. It’s difficult enough to completely pivot to online platforms to set up meetings with your team when you’re used to having them in person, but it’s a whole new level of challenge when you do that with a new team.

Pushing through all of these adversities, Masan conducted town hall meetings on online platforms with 100 new members hanging off at the end of its screens globally. This method did come with some compromise, but it still kept the operations running. Talking of the same, Craig explains, “The team working around or through overcoming the challenges of COVID-19 and distance. I think that the reason it got done is that we had very good plans. We sat down and explained to people where we’re going, why we’re going there.”

The integration of two large firms means several hundred activities taking place at once. But the executive team at Masan understood that 80% of the value comes from those ten really crucial things. So, this is what the firm did, focused on the ten things that brought in major value that got people inquisitive and onboard.

Craig recognizes the value of letting people get exposed to having discussions on their own about various aspects of their business that will make it more interesting. He expresses, “I want the job to be interesting for those people. I want those people to get up in the morning. They’re excited about getting out of bed and going to work and doing their eight hours or ten hours or 20 hours, depending on the nature of the job they’re in, and go home proud of what they’ve done, proudly to talk to their family and have dinner with their kids. And that’s the top organization we want to be.”

Reducing the Carbon Footprint

Organizations all over the globe are awakening to the fact that our climate emergency is a very real one. It is essential to cut down on your harmful emissions to reduce your carbon footprint. Putting sincere efforts into the exact cause, Masan High-Tech Materials uses renewable energy for their production, which is expensive but also what its customers demand. This is what Masan Group’s Chairman’s views are when it comes to sustainability “If you are not positioning yourself for sustainability and actively participating to ensure that you are sustainable, your organization won’t survive.”

This is the philosophy that they have adopted within the MHT organization. Masan High-Tech Materials recycles almost 70%-74% of water at its Nui Phao operation, significantly lowering its water consumption cost. The organization is relentlessly trying to find new avenues to produce the same using less energy.

Imparting the Keys to Excellence

Being an experienced industry professional, Craig shares a few important pointers to take note of while moving forward in the industry for aspiring enthusiasts and entrepreneurs who wish to make a name for themselves. Craig believes it’s important to build a personal relationship with industry leaders outside of work. He believes such a relationship cannot be manufactured, but you find a connection and then meet people apart from working hours gain important industry insights and build a mentor-mentee relationship.

Craig says that his years of experience have taught him to build relationships with people from all levels of the organization and understand their culture to march in the direction of success. In a podcast interview, Craig said, “The difference between a poor company, a good company, and a great company is going to be the quality of the people that you get and how well you scaffold those people for success.”

Looking into the Future of Masan High-Tech Materials

Investment is a must when it comes to expanding and sustaining a business, and Masan High-Tech Materials believes in the same philosophy. The firm is investing in setting up a platform to overcome the demand-supply challenge and serve its customers better.

Masan High-Tech envisions itself to be a top-notch corporation that not only emphasizes on enhancing recycling capabilities with strategic directions of promoting a circular economy but also looks forward to growing a global consumer goods business with its tungsten-based battery technologies.

Elaborating on this Craig emphasizes, “We want to implement more tungsten recycling facilities in Vietnam. We’re going to bring the technology that we’ve got in Germany to Vietnam. By 2024, we will be doing a lot more recycling in Vietnam by manufacturing wastes into new materials. We want to expand our product line, so we want to expand beyond tungsten, tank loan, niobium, cobalt. We want to expand into other powders, other carbides, and provide more options for customers in terms of value-added products. We will be partnering up with different companies in producing different battery materials.”

“We have new products that we’re bringing to market, especially branded products, starting with the charge for batteries, footprint for 3D printing and additive manufacturing. Specifically, we target advanced materials for unique applications. These are new products that we have developed in our research and development hub in Germany and expected to go to market over the next two years. More and more, we are developing new products tailored to customer needs and we see that as a growing industry.

We’re seeing strong demand in aerospace, we’re seeing strong demand in defence, we’re seeing strong demand in mining construction, we’re seeing strong demand in automotive, strong demand in renewables for our products. Global economies will go up and go down but as long as there’s demand for our products, the future for our company is good.”