Consulting company hopes to enter mining sector

Engineering consulting and management practice Zimile Consulting Engineers intends to diversify into the mining sector and believes that it is equipped and skilled to deliver quality service, says Zimile Consulting Engineers COO Fergus Feltman.

“Given the scale and nature of work that the company has done over the years for other sectors, Zimile Consulting Engineers seeks to offer value-adding, innovative engineering solutions to the mining sector.”

The company has the expertise and network that can assist mining companies in obtaining the required environmental permitting and licensing – a necessity in the highly regulated mining sector, he adds.

The company has also been involved in the design, construction and maintenance of national and secondary roads, bulk sewer and water management solutions, and runways and taxiways  at a number of the airports in the country including the O R Tambo International Airport,  among others.

However, Feltman points out that the knowledge gained through assisting municipalities in developing their master plans is what ultimately resulted in the company expanding and deepening its service offering. 

“Working with numerous municipalities across the country. . .  has helped us grow our skills set and progress our thinking to the next engineering level. Such exposure has helped open doors to many clients especially on the public sector and to showcase our capabilities in other sectors in which we intend to grow.” 

The company, which is made up of young professionals, offers independent technology-based professional services in the built environment. “We use technology very efficiently and partner with international companies to ensure that we bring in the latest innovations to assist us with our operations.” 

He adds that the services offered range from concept development to project commissioning and close-out, with the company able to assist at any particular stage of the project life cycle. 

Zimile Consulting Engineers also offers its services in the areas of property development and environmental solutions.

Meanwhile, Feltman notes that the company, which has been researching and assessing the local mining sector, has noted several issues facing the sector. 

“One of the issues at mining operations is labour relations, with about 60% of mining costs dedicated to labour.”

While mechanisation might seem like the solution, mining operations should design and implement automation strategies that are phased in systematically and include skills transfer and reskilling of the workforce, adds Feltman. 

Another issue at mines is policy uncertainty, which affects investor confidence.

Further, water and electricity pricing, as well as security of supply, are other issues affecting mining operations. Feltman believes that mining operations should continue to pursue the integration of renewable energy on site while increasing efforts to manage operations efficiently by reducing energy consumption, and recycling and reusing water.

He notes that the company has the skills and innovation to assist mines in addressing these issues and looks forward to Zimile Consulting Engineers infiltrating that market.

The company’s vision is to challenge the status quo on the perception that small businesses are mediocre on service delivery and professional conduct – Zimile Consulting Engineers offers a different approach based on innovative thinking using sound engineering principles adapted to the ever-changing world,  Feltman concludes.