WorleyParsons‘ acquisition of TWP Holdings marks the beginning of a new engineering era. Together they form one of the African continent’s largest engineering houses writes Laura Cornish.

“Multinationals want to work with single multi-skilled, large-scale engineering entities with worldwide exposure and capabilities,” says Nigel Townsend, former chairman of TWP and new Customer Sector Group executive for the WorleyParsons minerals, metals and chemical customer sector group.

The merger between the global engineering group and the local mining engineering expert is not only delivering to this exact need, but represents the start of a new era as multiple engineering houses are following suit.

Francis McNiff, regional MD for WorleyParsons sub-Saharan Africa, reveals that the company had been looking to expand its minerals, metals and chemicals division outside of Australia for a number of years. It is also no secret that TWP had been pursuing its global growth strategy aggressively, and while it had some success, it required the backing of a major global entity such as WorleyParsons to fulfil its aspirations completely.

“Our mining strengths lie predominantly in bulk commodities such as iron ore and base metals, predominantly in Australia. Our acquisition needed to fulfil two areas: geographical footprint expansion (particularly in Africa and South America) and a more diverse service offering. TWP’s forte lies in underground mining development and precious metals processing. We believe these two areas hold a lot of promise for growth and opportunity for the entire WorleyParsons Group,” McNiff outlines.

And because both companies bring such different strengths to the table, their capabilities complement each other perfectly. “Together we will execute large, complex projects without limitation by leveraging and exploiting our best strengths and skills under one umbrella.”

WorleyParsons TWP

The newly branded WorleyParsons TWP company will represent the WorleyParsons Group’s global mining hub/centre for underground mining and precious metals processing going forward; all new projects will be executed from South Africa.

The former CEO of TWP Holdings, Digby Glover, has been appointed COO of WorleyParsons RSA, which includes WorleyParsons TWP.

As a large-scale global entity with more than 40 000 employees spread across 41 countries, WorleyParsons has first-class, advanced systems and processes that will further enhance its new mining hub’s service suite. And because it is strong in both the infrastructure and environment fields, the addition of a strong mining arm allows it to offer the full pit-to-port service, using South Africa’s competitive cost base. South Africa still remains the business gateway to Africa, especially from a pricing perspective.

Mining currently represents about 10% of WorleyParsons’ business. Its only current major mining project in South Africa is the full EPCM contract for Sasol Mining’s Shondoni brownfields expansion. “We are, however, also involved in number of small projects and studies,” McNiff mentions.

The longer-term future

“The acquisition will ensure our global strategy is on the right path – achieving balance in the minerals, metals and chemical fields. We believe the minerals and metals fields will be a fundamental pillar of our business,” McNiff points out. “We will bring robust systems and tools that can deliver from small to the large. Our ability to move people around the world, bring the necessary proven capability to where it is needed, share skills from multiple locations, manage costs and workload is what gives us our competitive edge.”

WorleyParsons’ acquisition of TWP has delivered it with a healthy mining projects portfolio. The company has numerous shaft sinking projects under way; its most recent EPCM contract is for the underground expansion development of De Beers Consolidated Mining’s Venetia kimberlite.

“We are busy with a variety of feasibility studies and our current project portfolio is solid,” Townsend notes. “Underground mining is growing increasingly attractive around the world, which ensures steady, longer-term access to minerals and is considered more environment-friendly.”

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