The view from the top at Bechtel, Wood and Fluor on mining EPC/EPCM

The forthcoming December 2017 issue of International Mining features comment and high level interviews from the top executives responsible for the mining and metals sector at Bechtel, Wood and Fluor, three of the top global players in the Engineering, Procurement, Construction Management (EPCM) and EPC market – the companies that design, develop and build most of the world’s major mining operations. Below are just a few of their comments, with the full detail available in the next print and online edition of IM.

Paige Wilson, Bechtel President, Mining & Metals said of the providers: “While some EPCM companies are specialists the larger EPCM providers have broader capability where they can design a variety of facilities. In the case of Bechtel, we can design and construct the concentrator facilities in a copper project, as well as all the relating infrastructure including pipelines, roads, power transmission lines, ports and desalination plants required for the overall project. In addition to broad capabilities across many facilities, another thing that separates EPCM companies is their ability to manage scale and complexity. When you have large projects in remote locations, the number of EPCM providers that can successfully deliver capital projects are greatly reduced.”

Dave Lawson, President, Mining & Minerals at Wood commented on market trends: “Following the downturn, significant overruns and increased focus on costs, large mining companies often are requesting flexible contracting models where there is a more balanced allocation of risk with EPC/EPCM providers. As project complexity increases with more consortium/JV/alliances and projects in remote locations, there are also immense resource demands as large miners have downsized their technical and execution resources. In some regions globally, there is a trend for fixed price EPC with pain share/performance measured against KPIs including budget, schedule, HSSE, etc.”

Tony Morgan, President, Mining & Metals at Fluor, adds on innovation in offering: “We help shape and develop a design and execution approach that considers the overall cost of the project by bringing innovative ideas and new approaches. Zero Base Execution™ which focuses a project’s design and execution on meeting the project’s business drivers is one such approach. Rather than just repeating designs from the past, we develop projects in a measured way that ensures you only add in items that improve the project’s value. You first consider the minimum technical requirements, then regulatory minimum requirements and then the minimum operating requirements, before settling on the client’s actual requirements for a particular project. This approach delivers the most capital-efficient solution possible, with safety and operability as the foundation.”