With the re-organisation of its mining division and the recent acquisition of consultants, Lower Quartile Solutions (LQS), South African-based global minerals processing group, DRA, is ready to tackle hardcore mining projects. The new division, now known as DRA Mining, will offer complete mine development and construction solutions.

Chiel van Niekerk, the division’s managing director, says, “Our industry has changed considerably over the last two to three years, affected by a number of factors both internal and external. We came to the conclusion early in 2009 that DRA Mineral Projects needed to re-focus its efforts away from just process plants to the entire mining value chain.”

DRA Mining will concentrate on all aspects of hardcore mining activity from exploration, competent persons’ reports, resource estimation, mine consulting and design through to scheduling, geological modelling, engineering, infrastructure, construction management and mine closure.

van Niekerk continues, “The division has offered these services in the past through associated consultants. However, we realised that many customers still lacked confidence in our abilities in these largely untapped areas of project work. Our solution was to bring full-time expertise on board.”

One of the first tasks for the company was to find a team of engineers with the necessary skills and a fresh outlook combined with a culture similar to that found in DRA. They found it in LQS.

It is van Niekerk’s goal to make DRA Mining a stand-alone mining project house within the next four years. However, for the time being, LQS will retain its brand identity in order to fully exploit its proven track-record built up in the mining sector since its establishment in 2000.

“LQS brought with it a number of prestigious clients and projects such as the bankable feasibility study for Platinum Australia’s Kalahari Platinum (Kalplats) platinum project in the north-west province, as well as mine design and scheduling for Gold Fields’ South Deeps expansion project.”

DRA Mining presently hasmore than 75 staff, including the LQS personnel. The company will concentrate on projects within the southern and African region while maintaining two employees based in London and Canada to secure deals with international miners with an African project focus.

Recent mining projects which form part of DRA Mining’s project portfolio include Anglo Platinum’s Unki project in Zimbabwe and Impala Platinum’s Marula project.

Its two most recent projects, started prior to the re-organisation, include Northam Platinum’s Booysendal platinum project, as well as the finalisation and study review for the Konkola North copper project in Zambia.

With the creation and establishment of DRA Mining fully in place, the DRA Group is set to become a greater contender across all mining sectors.