6 May 2010 – Consulting engineers and scientists, SRK Consulting, will plant another base firmly in African soil when it formally opens its office in Lubumbashi in the Democratic Republic of Congo on 6 May.
SRK chairman Roger Dixon says it’s an exciting step for the group, which has long been involved in serving clients in the DRC and neighbouring countries. “It is great for us to be developing roots in this important mining country,” said Dixon. “Apart from the well-known operations in the southern areas, there are substantial prospects being explored in the east.”
Heading up the Lubumbashi office will be Congolese mining engineer Susa Maleba; originally a graduate of the University of Lubumbashi, Maleba worked for Gecamines in the DRC and for consulting firms in South Africa. An expert in production scheduling and modelling using Mine2-4D, he is already running with client contracts.
“With Susa’s knowledge of local conditions and languages, we are sure that he will position the new office well to make the best possible contribution,” said Dixon. Hydrogeologist, Ivann Milenkovic – also a French speaker, familiar with the DRC, will assist Susa Maleba.
“One of the important aspects of the new office will be the transfer of skills from SRK staff in other offices to the DRC citizens employed by the DRC office,” said Maleba. “The other advantage will be the reduced timeframes to complete local projects, as part of the work will be done by DRC staff.”
He said the office would also benefit from the credibility of SRK among financial institutions in South Africa and elsewhere, helping to attract local clients.
The development of local skills was part of SRK’s commitment to the principles of sustainability, said Dixon. “We plan to grow the office using local people,” he said. “While there will be support provided by expatriates where necessary, the intention is to employ and develop Congolese citizens for the benefit of the DRC mining industry.”
The focus of the office’s work will be in two fields: in environmental and social sustainability, and in hydrogeology and hydrology. The environmental processes required of exploration and mining operations are increasingly vital to the long-term relationship between mines, communities and governments, said Dixon.
“We have plenty of experience in this field, and are already assisting clients with this work in the DRC. We hope to extend our impact in improving these relationships, by helping stakeholders implement world-class standards in sustainability practices,” he said.
De-watering of DRC mining operations is a mission critical responsibility, especially in the countries copper mines, to which SRK will continue to apply its technical expertise and innovation. The group will also offer its services in exploration, in resource estimation, and in reserve and resource audits.