Some of the most exciting innovations are on the geo-environmental side. SRK is currently working on a project where waste rock backfill is being used within an open pit and manipulated to enhance natural processes to remove selenium and nitrate from mine waters.”

Wayne Barnett

PRINCIPAL CONSULTANT (STRUCTURAL GEOLOGY), SRK CONSULTING

August 29, 2019

Can you provide an overview of the footprint SRK has in British Columbia and Canada, and elaborate on the areas of expertise at the Vancouver office?

SRK’s focus is on the full mining pipeline, from exploration to reclamation. We provide support across the province of British Columbia and the broader region of Canada. Within SRK Vancouver alone, we can cover all aspects of the pipeline, but we work closely with other offices across North America and globally from where we can call upon high-value individuals and teams with specific expertise and experience. SRK Vancouver’s footprint over western Canada and Alaska is particularly strong, with significant cold climate practical and technical experience. We have strong expertise in geo-environmental studies, tailings, waste and groundwater management, mining design and geotechnical and geological studies, including structural geology and resource geology.

How extensive is SRK’s global reach when it comes to serving the mining industry?

Many of our employees work regularly around the world, providing support in exploration and mining operations to every mining-active continent. This is a benefit of employing people with varied previous international expertise and background. SRK’s consulting clients are looking for specific skills, and there is acceptance that SRK specialists from other countries may undertake work respectfully within the region of practice of another office, but whenever possible we involve the local office.

Have any services in particular been driving growth for SRK in recent years?

More recently, the strongest growth in our Vancouver office has been in the water management and mining engineering teams, and we have also rebuilt resource estimation specialization. Another highlight has been the growth of our diamond specialist group, which is probably now the strongest diamond focused consulting group in the industry.

Have you noticed an uptick in the adoption of innovative technologies in the mining sector?

SRK is known for its innovative solutions and use of new technologies, and we are seeing a broad spectrum of clients showing an increasing interest in the implementation of new technologies – as long as they add value. I think the downturn sparked the drive for more innovation, and because the new upcycle has been slow and incremental, we have had the opportunity to develop innovative solutions and allow them to mature organically.

Can you give some examples of the innovative solutions that SRK uses?

Some of the most exciting innovations are on the geo-environmental side. SRK is currently working on a project where waste rock backfill is being used within an open pit and manipulated to enhance natural processes to remove selenium and nitrate from mine waters. We are also working with a client on technology to preserve permafrost in foundations of infrastructure. I am also excited about our development of augmented reality tools to enhance geological data collection significantly, rather than simply visualizing it.

How does SRK deal with the challenge of attracting and retaining talent?

SRK recognizes employees who strive for excellence by challenging the normal through independent thinking. We look for individuals who seek to build their own consultancy within SRK. I believe that creating an environment of like-minded people with independent thinking attracts other valuable human resources. SRK is also owned by its employees, and this means that there is self-investment within the company, so the motivation comes more naturally.

Where would you like to see SRK, particularly the Vancouver office, in the next 12 months?

We will continue the rewarding process of finding the most effective practical solutions for our clients. We are getting involved in British Columbia’s Government Professional Reliance Review. Although SRK has always had a flat, empowering reporting structure, there has been a strong recent drive to better empower our younger staff throughout SRK North America to contribute to the organizational structure and strategic management. This process will continue, so that SRK’s future will grow from the current younger engineers and scientists.

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