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We understand how best to define a resource, design the most cost and process efficient plant and operate it as well. By quantifying potential risks in all these areas, we are able to minimise them” Johann de Bruin

Commodity prices are at all-time lows which have driven the mining sector into a greater state of repression. In spite of this, African engineering firm DRA is excelling – largely thanks to its reputation for successfully managing and reducing project risk.

It has also implemented a business strategy aimed at further enhancing its skills sets for industry areas which hold the greatest investment attraction moving forward, director Johann De Bruin tells Laura Cornish.

DRA’s name has become synonymous with risk management, which has become critical for new mining projects in Africa and abroad. “We understand how best to define a resource, design the most cost and process efficient plant and operate it as well. By quantifying potential risks in all these areas, we are able to minimise them,” De Bruin states.

The majority of new projects are also being developed in geographically remote areas, which are often politically challenging. “Our project track record reveals that these challenges do not detract us from developing new mining operations that work, on time.” The recent completion of Aureus Mining’s New Liberty gold process plant in Liberia is proof of this – “the country’s Ebola epidemic was rife during a significant portion of our construction time, yet this project was still delivered to expectation.”

DRA’s credibility in the mining sector continues to grow on the back of these projects, De Bruin continues. The company has in fact been awarded more than 50% (or about R1.2 billion in revenue) of the work it has tendered for in Africa in 2015 – an indication that it is rapidly growing its market share. “Importantly, the remaining 50% of work that we have not secured – worth about R4.4 billion – has not been secured by any company.” These projects have been delayed, suspended or are still trying to secure funding.

Should some of these projects proceed in the short-or-mid-term future, DRA is ready, thanks to the widespread global capacity it has built up recently in Pittsburgh (United States), India, Canada and Australia.

Looking forward, the African engineering expert has outlined a multi-tiered strategy which will ensure growth momentum, despite the repressed mining economy.

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