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Well Received: Local market welcomes launch of SRK Exploration Services

The local and sub-Saharan African market has responded “very positively” to the establishment of SRK Exploration Services, a discipline-led division of SRK Global, says SRK Exploration Services Southern African exploration manager Oliver Bayley.

He explains that the Cardiff-based division expanded to Southern Africa in response to the steady increase in exploration activities in recent months. The Johannesburg office has since experienced a significant increase in the number of enquiries received from the region.

“Even though SRK Exploration Services (as a whole) celebrated the completion of 300 African projects earlier this year, it is clear that having staff based in South Africa – who are immediately available to talk directly to clients and travel quickly within the region – is seen as a real benefit by our clients,” notes Bayley.

He adds that given the renewed optimism for mining, it is the right time for SRK Exploration Services to be augmenting its services and to locate nearer to clients.

“SRK Exploration Services complements the exploration consultancy offered by SRK South Africa, by extending our range of services to include the provision of exploration geologists, geophysicists and operations management experts – professionals who can manage and implement exploration programmes on behalf of clients,” says Bayley.

These programmes can range from a single geologist in the field to multimillion-dollar campaigns that may include establishing in-country support offices, building exploration camps and managing all logistical and technical aspects of multidisciplinary exploration programmes.

Further SRK Explorations Services’ capabilities extend to the provision of construction management as well as safety and security training courses focused specifically on exploration and mining settings.

According to SRK South Africa (SA) partner and corporate consultant and  economic geologist Hennie Theart, the local presence of SRK Exploration Services  allows closer collaboration with the team of senior SRK SA consultants.

“We have seen that many mining companies do not have the in-house ability to execute exploration programmes that meet international best practice standards,” said Theart.

As such, an integrated consulting and project management exploration function offered from the Johannesburg office  enables clients to conduct quality exploration work, and avoid costly and time-consuming remedial actions that often result from substandard exploration processes, notes Theart. Bayley adds that, as exploration becomes more technically challenging, the growing ranks of midtier and junior mining companies who lack in-house technical ability has created an untapped market for SRK.

Additionally, SRK’s regular client base of junior explorers has been boosted by established mining companies, who are outsourcing specific brownfield exploration projects. Bayley explains that the commodity downturn led to the shedding of many traditionally in-house technical skills, and that this reduction has subsequently led to SRK Exploration Services growing its service provision over the last four years.

“Our presence in South Africa  gives us a larger exposure to this market, as well as to investment groups and government departments – leveraging our growing range of services,” Bayley states.

Theart also emphasised the value of the collaboration between SRK Exploration Services, with its focus on project execution, and SRK SA with its focus traditional consulting services.

He explains that SRK is often asked to conduct independent exploration reviews and valuations on behalf of investors, financial institutions and governments; “we also provide competent persons’ reports on scoping, prefeasibility and feasibility studies. SRK is therefore very familiar with the deficiencies that already arise during the exploration stage, which may be avoided and will result in significant cost and time saving benefits.” Bayley notes that, “carrying out exploration in consultation with SRK gives clients on-demand, integrated access to experts in every mining-related field – drawing from our 1 400 professional consultants across the globe.”

Further, he states that SRK Exploration Services links “seamlessly” with SRK consulting practices worldwide to ensure that relevant, quality exploration data is collected from the outset. “We are working hand-in-hand with SRK SA on several projects, and are engaged across the African continent. Our activities include regional greenfield gold exploration in Cameroon, country-wide prospectivity reviews for several countries in West and Central Africa, and lithium pegmatite drilling support and evaluation in Mozambique,” says Bayley. He adds that they also have active proposals in Zimbabwe, Senegal, Nigeria, Rwanda, Namibia, Lesotho, Angola, Zambia and Mozambique.

SRK Exploration Services is currently growing with the increase in enquiries and projects, and is taking on new staff to further improve its capacity and responsiveness. “In the last year, SRK Exploration Services has established offices in Dubai and in Johannesburg – in addition to our head office in Cardiff and our Moscow office. We also have a project office in Libreville, and can operate out of the established SRK offices in Lubumbashi and Accra,” notes Bayley.


Acknowledged: Mining Weekly_Nadine James


SRK Africa