The Argentinian mining industry may still be small compared with Australia, Canada and Chile, but SRK Consulting believes it has huge potential. VS Consultores (VSC), a Buenos Aires-based consultancy that has been working with SRK’s Chile office for seven years, is an ideal entry point into the country for SRK.

While the idea of creating SRK Argentina had been raised in the past between the two companies, it was not until formal conversations began in August 2008 that a merger started to become a reality. An MOU agreement was signed in December last year.

General manager of SRK Argentina Alejo Sfriso said the new company expected to grow on the back of the mining sector expansion in Argentina.

“The Argentinian mining industry is steadily growing,” he said. “While still in its infancy, the industry can already provide enough business opportunities for a local SRK practice. VSC has been running consultancy services for the construction industry for several years and its staff acquired experience in the mining industry working for SRK Chile.

“In short, VSC is making money in the construction business and, therefore, is a low-risk starting platform for SRK Argentina.”

Mr Sfriso said construction industry projects would continue to be an important source of revenue for the group, but most business was expected to come from the Argentinian major mines and joint venture work with EPCM companies.

“We don’t expect many hurdles in the first year because VSC is already established and working,” he said. “After our past experience in the Argentinian economy, we shall act prudently, tuning our growth objectives to that of the Argentinian mining industry itself.”

Regarding key goals for the year ahead, Mr Sfriso said: “We will promote our services to all exploration and mining companies while developing a geology capability with a strong focus on resource estimation and exploration assistance. These are the fields where demand seems to be more active.”