Consultancy faces industry challenges

26th April 2013

By: Gia Costella


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Consulting engineers in mining are facing many challenges in the market, says internationally recognised consultancy firm SMEC Gauteng office head David Gertzen.

“The challenges include a depressed economic climate, labour issues, high labour costs and an uncertain mining environment. Many projects have been put on hold until the market becomes more viable, which could have a profound impact on the consulting industry,” he says.

The company, part of the SMEC Group, is dealing with the challenges by focusing on bringing appropriate teams of people together to cater specifically to client requirements.

“This enables us to increase value for the client while decreasing costs,” says Gertzen, adding that innovative phasing is equally important.

“If you are able to phase the project correctly and assess cash flow considerations in proper detail, then it is possible to assist the client in saving money and dealing with the cash flow restrictions they might have.”
He notes that, although the number of new projects is decreasing, many mining com- panies are focusing on productivity in 2013.

“It can present challenges for the consulting industry when projects are put on hold, especially when the consulting engineers have already deployed resources and specialists to that project.

However, the challenge that mines are trying to deal with successfully this year is to upgrade existing systems to be more efficient and productive. This means that consulting engineers will look for opportunities in this line of work,” he says.

Going forward, Gertzen notes that the com- pany’s main focus will be the roll-out of global mining consultancy GMC Global’s products and services. The company, which primarily aims to improve productivity at mines, joined the SMEC Group in January last year.

He says the company’s history of enterprise planning and development, paired with experienced consultants, will benefit the mining sector.

“The GMC Global consultants have an in-depth understanding of a mine’s operations and have hands-on experience in operational productivity improvement,” he adds.

Gertzen is positive about the future of the group.

“GMC Global joined SMEC, after which the SMEC Mining, Oil and Gas division was launched in February this year at the Investing in African Mining Indaba. It was a successful event for us as it enabled us to bring these developments to the attention of the industry and the public,” he says.

Edited by Megan van Wyngaardt
Creamer Media Contributing Editor Online




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