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SRK Consulting focusing on clients' success, not just own growth

SRK Consulting newly appointed MD Andrew van Zyl talks to Creamer Media about how the company expects the demand for key minerals to continue supporting the ongoing development of both the continent, and the industry. Video & Editing: Creamer Media's Nicholas Boyd.

6th February 2023

By: Simone Liedtke

Creamer Media Social Media Editor & Senior Writer

     

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With several African countries currently the source of key minerals, and potentially hosting other minerals, engineering consultancy SRK Consulting newly appointed MD Andrew van Zyl expects the demand for key minerals to continue supporting the ongoing development of both the continent, and the industry.

As such, the company expects to continue supporting its clients as they continue to operate and expand in these regions, while simultaneously increasing the company’s ability to collaborate across global practices.

“This will be achieved through engaging with centers of excellence throughout the SRK group on difficult technical challenges or making use of colleagues to improve communication,” Van Zyl elaborates, referencing the collaboration between the company’s office in the Democratic Republic of Congo, which is staffed with Congolese professionals, and its Chinese and South Africa practices.

“This allows us to draw on technical experts from other offices and to communicate with a combination of Chinese, French and English speakers. We are also often able to provide local support to operations and technical engagement with head office-based technical teams,” he adds.

The Covid-19 pandemic, he notes, contributed to SRK learning how to do so more effectively.

However, growth is not the company’s primary goal, as it remains focused on delivering for its clients and believes that focusing solely on growth “can hamper this”.

“We hope to grow the business with engineers and scientists who share our values, [and growth] will be a secondary outcome,” Van Zyl states.

It is for this reason that SRK Consulting finds itself attending this year’s Mining Indaba Conference and Exhibition, as the company views it as a “great opportunity to connect with clients and companies”.

This is of critical importance, Van Zyl says, as mining has been impacted by both the mining cycle and global economic conditions.

“We have been impacted by cost inflation and higher interest rates but the general upturn in the mining cycle of the past five years has led to several new projects being initiated, and with our clients, we have generally been able to fund these projects through short-term disruptions in the economy.”

While SRK has had to work through the various challenges in the industry, it has also had to develop an understanding of the drivers of short-term inflation and adapt supply chains and plans to accommodate many of the disruptions.

“Adapting to inflation is arguably easier than dealing with severe supply chain disruptions, and I think that we have been through the worst of these disruptions and energy-driven inflation. I believe we will see a normalization of inflation and interest rates, leading to a somewhat more predictable operating environment,” Van Zyl elaborates.

In this environment, he expects a return to demand trends for commodities required to both diversify energy supply and increasingly to decarbonize energy and transport.

SRK Consulting is a global consulting firm with about 1 700 employees across 44 offices globally. About 300 of these employees are permanent staff based in South Africa and the rest of Africa.

SRK offers services from exploration through to closure and covers all major disciplines.

Edited by David Shepherd
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