In the current climate of constrained capital, clients in the mining sector are seeking ways to maximise returns while minimising exposure to risk, particularly those companies which need to make strategic decisions on potential investments, says engineering company WorleyParsons CEO Denver Dreyer.
“Front-end services are critical in a cash-constrained environment. Through our global advisory and technical consulting arm, Advisian, we have introduced innovative optimisation tools to help our clients identify opportunities upfront and create value across every phase of a project so that, when the project is ready to go into execution, it has the highest probability of success,” he says.
Advisian regional executive manager for sub-Saharan Africa Adam Boughton elaborates that Advisian’s optimisation tools help to address the modern-day challenges that mining companies are facing and offer “real solutions to real problems”.
He comments that the unit draws on the company’s “deep domain expertise” and experience in the mining sector to advise clients. It then can partner with them to implement that advice.
Boughton remarks that the solutions and tools are centred on creating assets, improving asset efficiency and sustainability, while also optimising asset portfolios. He says that, when used together, these tools go beyond optimisation. “We can identify risks and mitigate them, while also identifying opportunities across the full business value chain.”
Boughton notes that this combination of multiple techniques has improved WorleyParsons’ capability to help clients to reinvigorate stalled projects and currently unprofitable operations.
He adds that forecasting risks and returns needs to be evaluated in a clear model. “To this end, Advisian uses a unique financial and technical process model called StepWise.”
Boughton highlights that this provides the “best possible technical alternatives” for a project in a quick and cost-effective way, which enables clients to make the right investment decisions. He says that it is a low-cost approach that provides a sales case based on the client’s desired business outcomes (or metrics for success) and identifies risks and opportunities early on in the process.
Further, Advisian operational improvement advisory principal Steve Burks explains that operational improvement increases net cash flow by increasing revenue, while simultaneously reducing costs.
“Our objective is to implement recommendations and embed them into the culture of the operating company to ensure that it steadily improves cash flow during the entire life of the planned operation,” he states.
Burks notes that Advisian recently entered into a regional framework agreement with business optimisation firm Whittle Consulting to enhance and extend its optimisation capability.
He says this focuses on early cash flow to achieve significant improvements in net present value. Advisian links this technique with nine other business improvement mechanisms and identifies the “most beneficial” mix of technical, project delivery and conventional management consulting processes.
Moreover, Burks points out that Advisian has also entered into a regional framework agreement with energy system design firm Ensight Energy Solutions, which will enable its clients to implement energy optimisation initiatives and realise immediate benefits in the short term.
He comments that the initial assessment and energy efficiency initiatives will improve cash flows steadily throughout the entire life of the planned operation.
“Ensight has deep domain experience in solving energy challenges. The combination of Advisian’s heat recovery expertise and global engineering, procurement and construction management (EPCM) capabilities through the WorleyParsons group, together with Ensight’s unique approach to energy optimisation and a track record in energy cost savings, provides our clients with a comprehensive suite of energy optimisation solutions covering every aspect of their operations,” Boughton asserts.
He adds that mining companies and investors need energy surety to ensure new projects are successful. Boughton further states that the Advisian-Ensight joint energy optimisation solutions will provide “unparalleled capabilities” for businesses that have energy challenges.
An additional service offered by Advisian is the provision of comprehensive services to support corporate and project development transactions leveraging the company’s due diligence processes and capability within the structure and requirements of each different transaction type across all sector, including minerals and metals.