Denver Dreyer, CEO, Worleyparsons RSA
|Interview conducted by:|
Can you provide a brief company overview and describe the importance of the mining sector to the business?
WorleyParsons helps customers meet the world’s changing resources and energy needs. The company operates across four business lines: Advisian, which provides strategic advice, integrated with deep technical expertise to clients in the energy, resources and infrastructure sectors. This entails taking a concept through to the pre-feasibility stage. We essentially prove a concept, taking the project through its first phase. The second division, Services, involves converging the concept into an option and identifying the best way to execute this option. We take into consideration a project’s cost, sustainability and ethical value. As an organization, our role is that of a professional services provider focused on engineering, project management services and being a professional technical partner to the client. Major Projects entails full project delivery of large, complex, strategically important projects across the world. Finally, Integrated Solutions delivers maintenance, modification, operations, engineering, fabrication, construction, hook-up and commissioning in support of greenfield and brownfield assets globally.
WorleyParsons works in five sectors: hydrocarbons, minerals and metals, chemicals, power and infrastructure. The mining sector comprises between 10% and 15% of the business. As a group, our work in hydrocarbons is predominant, although there is also a strong drive to grow our power and new energy portfolios.
WorleyParsons puts significant emphasis on the advantages of digital. Can you elaborate on how you integrate this approach into your model?
WorleyParsons works at the cutting edge of current technology by utilizing data-centric integrated design principles. In 2014, WorleyParsons launched ‘Digital Enterprise,’ a business venture underpinned by the move towards digitization across our customer base and the common challenge of the need to improve capital effectiveness and getting more from existing assets. Digital Enterprise combines our extensive data-centric skills and engineering know-how, with the best software options from our partners, and leverages that to service the needs of customers who are looking to transform their business through the application of data and digital technology.
WorleyParsons draws on this data centric design technology that utilizes rapid prototyping and other innovative processes such as Building Information Modeling (BIM) to create a sophisticated digital project design platform and prepare for project execution as efficiently and cost effectively as possible.
By using this cutting-edge technology, WorleyParsons is able to achieve integrated project delivery from basic engineering to project close-out, covering the entire virtual project cycle for both greenfield and brownfield projects.
Although it will take time for the local mining sector to fully realize the benefits of digital transformation, the company intends to mainstream digitization across its larger projects. WorleyParsons RSA is currently collaborating with one of its international counterparts to develop a ground-breaking ‘intelligent’ mine for a major mining client, which is set to be one of the world’s most technologically advanced mines.
Where do you see the most opportunity in Africa right now in terms of mining and what are some of the challenges you have encountered?
As the world moves towards electric vehicles, all the associated materials are trending, these being lithium, graphite, nickel, PGMs and copper. 80% of the world’s lithium is solution-based and comes from Bolivia, but more and more discoveries are being made in Africa of hard-rock type lithium. Thermal coal is still interesting for South Africa, because of our ongoing reliance on coal for energy and the need to replace the depleting coalfields with higher quality coal. Additionally, 80% of Africa’s manganese is found in South Africa and it is of good quality. We also have a focus on phosphates, which are found chiefly in North Africa.
The biggest challenges we face in countries are to do with the social-license to operate, logistical access to that site and sovereign risk. This is often the case in landlocked countries, and, unfortunately, these factors limit where we can work. However, we have on-site presence in many locations on the African continent, and being close to our customers enables WorleyParsons to understand their challenges at a local level, and respond to their needs using our global expertise.
distinguishes WorleyParsons from companies working in the same field?
We as a company understand the complexities of doing business on this continent and also have the technical solutions. Moreover, we offer the solutions cost effectively. Johannesburg is a center of excellence for mining and minerals processing globally in the WorleyParsons world. What sets us apart is our reputation in the mining industry, which is one that investors can trust.
We also have many cutting-edge technical innovations, such as StepWise, a low-cost financial and technical process model that enables clients to evaluate a resource and identify risks upfront, and our digital tools that help minimize the risks associated with safety, cost and schedule constructability. These processes provide solid data to enable prospective funders to make strategic investment decisions, with a focus on maximizing returns, while minimizing and managing exposure to risk.
What is your final message from WorleyParsons to our readers?
At WorleyParsons, we believe it is important to choose a partner that starts with the end in mind and is willing to factor in digital constraints as well as opportunities to remain relevant, and is a partner that will remain ethical and understands how to operate efficiently in the specific country.