International consulting engineering and scientists consultancy SRK Consulting’s local non-mining contracts have become its main revenue contributor, contributing to about 40% to 50% of the firm’s overall workload over the past three years.
The company’s growth in non-mining work is not just in percentage terms; it has steadily grown in its revenue contribution to the business over the last ten years.
“While the firm is best known in South Africa for its geotechnical specialities in the mining sector, the recent slump in the sector has resulted in the firm focusing its attention on strengthening its non-mining consultancy offerings. Today SRK provides services to local governments, parastatals, petrochemicals and industrial sectors,” says SRK Consulting MD Vis Reddy.
The company has adopted a “responsive and entrepreneurial” approach to its service diversification, proactively responding to client needs, while actively pursuing opportunities where its expertise could be expanded to serve new industries.
Consequently, SRK Consulting has become well-known for its expertise in non-mining aspects, which include environmental and social-impact assessments, as well as water and waste management and civil engineering, he adds.
The company’s South African office currently employs 42 engineers and 119 scientists who focus on projects outside the mining industry, Reddy enthuses.
Reddy states that SRK Consulting’s Cape Town, Durban, East London, Pietermaritzburg, Port Elizabeth and Pretoria offices provide extensive service offerings for non-mining sectors.
He confirms that the company has numerous environmental, water, energy and infrastructure projects under way. It currently offers municipal engineering services such as stormwater management, civil infrastructure, wastewater treatment and disaster management projects.
However, he adds that, while SRK Consulting has been active in most industries in South Africa, the best example of how the firm’s extended expertise has been taken up by industry is in the energy sector, providing services for wind farms and solar power clients. These services vary from environmental and social-impact studies to geotechnical input.
“SRK Consulting’s Cape Town office provides geotechnical assessments for various solar and wind energy projects in the Western Cape, Northern Cape and Eastern Cape.”
The office in Port Elizabeth has completed a number of environmental-impact assessments (EIAs) in the renewable-energy sector, such as an EIA for the Roodeplaat Wind Farm, near Port Elizabeth, as part of the environmental authorisation granted by the Eastern Cape Department of Economic Development and the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism.
He emphasises that, since the resurrection of the renewable-energy programme by government, its Port Elizabeth office has engaged in discussions with other developers of new wind farms in the province and looks forward to seeing what the renewable-energy market will have to offer in the coming years.
SRK Consulting has also been involved in the construction of State-owned power utility Eskom’s Medupi power station project since its initial geotechnical studies were undertaken in 2005.
Reddy says the company is involved in the design and construction supervision for the raw water dams, a coal stockyard, roads, stormwater, silt traps, a pollution control dam and an overland coal conveyor terrace, due for completion in December.
SRK Consulting is aiming to develop its footprint further by expanding its infrastructure, and environmental and energy expertise into the non-mining sectors of the East African countries, he concludes.