SRK opens new office in Zacatecas, Mexico

A strong resurgence in investment activity in Mexico's minerals industry in the wake of the GFC as well as solid relationships with a number of key clients have prompted SRK Consulting to open its fourth office in Latin America.

The leading international mining consultancy inaugurated the office in Zacatecas, Mexico, in November 2010. Mexico's improved mining regulatory framework and attractive investment rules have underpinned stronger foreign and domestic minerals sector investment while reducing uncertainty around greenfield development and expansion projects. A recent forecast of the Mexican mining chamber put potential investment by mining companies in Mexico between 2010 and 2012 at more than $13bn.

"As a strong trading partner of the US and Canada, Mexico offers an attractive business environment for our services," said Terry Braun, SRK consulting principal, who is leading the new office team. "We also see Mexico as strategic in terms of building the global SRK consulting practice as we will enhance opportunities to collaborate between our established offices in North and South America."

SRK first flagged the opening of a Mexico office two years ago after its work with Fresnillo, the country's largest primary silver producer and second largest gold producer, to list on the London stock exchange. This experience in gaining access to international investment capital helped pave the way to a more open-door policy for foreign-based consultants working in Mexico, according to Mr Braun.

"The success of the Fresnillo raised awareness of domestic and other foreign-based mining companies and the potential for raising capital outside of Mexico," he said.

Zacatecas is strategically located near a number of existing and planned long-term precious and base metal mining operations. SRK will offer strategic consulting services to mining companies, including technical and economic assessments of projects based on international standards.

Prior to establishing SRK Mexico, SRK maintained an active project backlog in Mexico and Latin America. This included a wide-range of technical and economic assessment type studies. For example, a large base metal mining company retained SRK to perform a resource audit of its in-country portfolio, a major steel producer recently engaged SRK to assist in development plans for a mine expansion plan, and SRK conducted a detailed geotechnical assessment of a proposed open-pit expansion for a large copper producer.

Luis Arroyo, a mining engineer with more than 30 years of experience in Mexico's mining industry, is the director for SRK Mexico. The management team will be assisted by various technical professionals already working in Mexico.

"A key goal is to enhance the SRK brand by increasing our roster of bilingual technical specialists who are familiar with our consulting culture, methodology and Mexican mining industry," Mr Braun said. "We also see a broader opportunity to share our technical staff between SRK offices in North and South America. This will continue to enhance our goal to be the employer of choice in our market."

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