MINING EPC / EPCM
build a project reflective of the owner ’ s strategic framework and asset portfolio ,” Leonardo Kaid , Vice President , Head of Global Business Development & Strategy , told IM .
This even goes as far as establishing the local content requirements of its clients before any major infrastructure is built on site .
“ Requirements and conditions vary by country , but we always aim to maximise local content for workers and suppliers , viewing each project as
Fluor kicks off ‘ operational ’ activities long before work at site starts , according to Leonardo Kaid , working with the owner ’ s team to leverage opportunities in logistics , design engineering , modularisation and prefabrication and other areas
Bridging the gap
Fuse Advisors says it takes a client-first approach to delivering high quality services , priding itself on remaining fully aligned with stakeholder interests through a set of deep-rooted values .
“ These values allow Fuse to offer a unique , integrated approach to providing support to the owner ’ s team without bias or competing interests ,” it says .
Fuse works for various companies in the resource sector , including junior mining exploration and development companies , mine operators , EPCM consultancies and private equity firms .
“ Our company model is such that we typically act as extensions of mining company teams to help them manage their consultants ,” Ryan Weymark , President of Fuse Advisors , told IM . “ As such , we typically work in an integrated manner that is more of a partnership with mining companies .”
Weymark said the divide between mining companies and EPCM consultancies in project engagements has only widened in recent years , with companies needing to internalise more roles and engage groups like Fuse to help “ bridge the gap ”.
“ Over the past 12 months , we have seen companies leverage our company to help them grow their teams and have seen owners ’ teams growing in size to manage consultants ,” he said .
This has only been exacerbated by the retirement of experienced project leaders recently , with personnel exits in key strategic leadership areas having the biggest impact on projects in the pre-construction phase .
Weymark says the industry continues to struggle to reconcile the risk allocation between mine owners and consultants under the standard EPC / EPCM models , with his company offering another interface to align all interests and successfully steer projects through to completion .
“ Owners are continuously frustrated with a lack of ‘ skin in the game ’ from consultants under the EPCM model , but don ’ t want to pay for the risk allocation under an EPC model ,” he explained .
This can see Fuse ’ s remit grow from initial project engagement , to overseeing consultants with tailored tools and systems within a project integration remit .
“ NexGen Energy is an example of a company where I came in to help manage the conclusion of their feasibility study for the Rook I uranium project in 2020 / 2021 and have continued to support their project development team through front-end engineering and design stage of development ( 2022-plus ),” Weymark said .
Another example is Benchmark Metals Lawyer ’ s gold-silver project , in
British Columbia , Canada , where Fuse supported with the completion of a preliminary economic assessment and is now supporting with the next stage of development .
Fuse also has operational experience to call on – Weymark previously worked for Teck in a variety of Mine Engineering roles in its Coal Business Unit for several years , for instance – allowing the company to engage with companies of all different sizes and stages .
This is reflected in Fuse offering a variety of commercial agreements involving shares , options and more standard payment terms to clients .
For Weymark , there is a contrast between the size and experience of companies and how they effectively integrate such operations experience into typical project-focused EPCM contracts .
“ I think a lot of junior non-producing companies still struggle to understand when to bring in commissioning and operational experience , and often bring it on far too late ,” he said .
“ A lot of multi-asset producers have well-established processes where they utilise operational subject matter experts from existing operations to support with projects ( or have dedicated resources within their project groups ) – the challenge with some majors is that the operational teams get embedded too early and can cause project scope to grow significantly .”
The ideal scenario , Weymark says , is a balance of the two , with projects led by “ generalists ” that have backgrounds in both projects and operations and know when to bring on the appropriate expertise .
He concluded : “ Mining companies can ’ t rely on consultants to define their projects and need to ultimately own the project scope , and that requires deep operational experience . Independent consultants can help bridge the gap for early-stage companies that simply can ’ t justify full-time resources .”
“ Owners are continuously frustrated with a lack of ‘ skin in the game ’ from consultants under the EPCM model , but don ’ t want to pay for the risk allocation under an EPC model ,” Fuse ’ s Ryan Weymark says
48 International Mining | NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2022