In its first gathering of global practices since the start of COVID-19 lockdowns, over 200 of SRK Consulting’s decision-makers and experts met in South Africa for a week in September for an intensive programme of workshops and strategic meetings.

Held in conjunction with the Global Practice Leaders Group meeting, a series of workshops tackled pressing mining industry issues. Topics ranged from climate action and tailings dams to innovation and decarbonisation. According to Tim McGurk, group CEO of SRK Global, the event connected the company’s teams across the world to foster networking, innovation, and collaboration.

“Such connections broaden our capability to provide expert, independent advice to our clients, which stems from our extensive and cross-disciplinary knowledge and experience,” said McGurk. “This is the foundation from which we add value to our clients’ projects.”

Practices across SRK (including SRK Exploration Services) were represented with staff from Brazil, Chile, China, Ghana, Peru, Russia, Turkey, Australia, Canada, India, Kazakhstan, Argentina, Columbia, South Africa, United States, United Kingdom, and Democratic Republic of Congo.

“While online meetings are a valuable tool for enhancing staff interaction in hybrid work environments, the significance of in-person interaction and human connection can’t be overstated,” McGurk said. “They provide an extra depth of understanding and the ability to find something valuable in the side discussions that invariably happen when in the same room.”

Vis Reddy, managing director of the host practice in South Africa, noted the various events of the week help to chart SRK’s direction in the coming years. “We are bringing new service offerings into a changing market,” said Reddy. “This includes integrating environment, social and governance (ESG) considerations into all aspects of our business and looking at new opportunities such as decarbonisation in mining and climate action.”

He also highlighted those opportunities created by the digital revolution – such as big data processing – are being embraced by SRK’s consultants to enhance service offerings and techniques. People development and health-and-safety continue to be areas of focus.

McGurk emphasised that, as engineers and scientists, SRK professionals always strive to do things in better and more efficient ways. “Innovation is in our culture, and the opportunities arising from combining subject matter expertise and new technologies are enormous,” he said. “It’s a key motivating factor in our business and essential to our growth, so we support innovation with time and resources. Continuous innovation is also vital to understanding and addressing the increasingly complex challenges our clients face.”

He noted that while there is an understandable level of economic uncertainty in the industry right now, there remain significant drivers of demand within the mining sector. “SRK is focused on supporting, developing and recruiting skilled staff who will continue to deliver high-quality technical work that supports our clients’ needs,” said McGurk.

Reddy said the events of the week were a resounding success. “Attendees returned home better prepared to meet the challenges ahead,” he said. “They know they have the collective strength of the SRK group with them, as well as renewed connection across our global teams.”

As part of its internal ESG approach, SRK plans to offset the event’s carbon footprint within South Africa.

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