The local mining consulting industry is healthy and growing stronger with mining companies’ increasing reliance on consulting companies, compared with reliance on in-house skills, says specialist mine refrigeration and ventilation consultancy group Bluhm Burton Engineering (BBE) director Richard Gundersen.
“Consulting companies have gradually taken over what the mining companies used to do themselves. They had powerful engineering teams in their companies, but these skills are now concentrated in various consulting companies that acquired the skills over time to respond to the need,” he tells Mining Weekly.
He comments that this is especially true in specialist areas, such as BBE’s specialised knowledge of mine ventilation, cooling and refrigeration, as there is not enough work for individual mining companies to warrant having a team of professionals in a specialist discipline.
Moreover, consulting companies are expected to keep up to date with developments in the mining industry, as well as developments in their respective disciplines to effectively deliver their services to the mining industry. BBE keeps abreast of developments by attending conferences and trade fairs and continuously considering ways of improving its service offering.
Meanwhile, power consumption and energy efficiency are key concerns in mine ventilation and cooling system designs – an aspect that BBE is driving. Gundersen points out that many variables can affect the efficiency of these systems. Consequently, it is crucial for the consulting engineer to select the appropriate hardware and have the appropriate knowledge and awareness of variants, such as climate, mine type and mining method, he highlights.
Keeping up to date with modern technologies is imperative, Gundersen stresses.
Practical Efficient Solutions
The company is dedicated to finding and implementing practical, efficient and economic solutions, and identifying optimum systems for specific circumstances, as solutions for mines of different depths and mines in different geographical regions will vary.
Further, as a consultancy and project house, BBE’s role is to design mine ventilation and cooling systems, produce all the required drawings across all disciplines, source all components and find suitable contractors to do all the civil construction and mechanical, electrical and control installation work.
Being totally independent consulting engineers, BBE is able to provide well-considered bespoke solutions, tailor-made for each client.