Project profile: A project management framework for Mining Engineering Consulting & Studies



In 2012, Johan Steenkamp was Program Manager of the CSG (Consulting Studies Group) Navigator Project for Tetra Tech WEI, the Canadian Mining Engineering subsidiary of American consulting group Tetra Tech Inc. Tetra Tech supports government and commercial clients by providing innovative solutions focused on water, environment, energy, infrastructure, and resource management. With 14,000 employees worldwide, Tetra Tech’s capabilities span the entire project life cycle. In Canada, the staff base numbers about 3,000 people, with six WEI offices dedicated to Mining and Mineral Resources projects. WEI also had offices in Beijing, Perth, Trivandrum, India, and Swindon, in the UK. The company also formed part of the Global Mining Practice of Tetra Tech, involving offices in Brazil and Chile. Thus, the CSG Navigator Project was truly globally applicable and had to function across time lines and jurisdictions. This project was based in Vancouver.


Prior to being acquired by Tetra Tech in 2010, WEI’s Consulting Studies Group consisted of Project Managers and support staff who managed projects in a variety of ways and standards, most through experience and with templates they created themselves. Policy and standard changes were communicated or applied in an ad-hoc fashion. Metals prices were generated randomly. The length, content and prices of reports varied greatly and sustainable, repeatable project delivery virtually impossible.

The company was at a relatively low level of maturity for project delivery, with basic documented process for project planning & reporting, and with little consolidated program/portfolio reporting available. Management only getting involved on high visibility projects. However, Tetra Tech, being a company listed on NASDAQ, required a significantly greater level of governance and control.

The projects in this instance were the Front-End (study projects) production of reporting standard National Instrument (NI) 43-101-compliant reports.

These included approximately over 300 such reports per year, namely:

  • Single Discipline Studies (Exploration, Metallurgical, Geological, Rock Engineering or Mine Engineering reports)
  • Due Diligence reports (DD)
  • Preliminary Economic Assessments (PEA)
  • Prefeasibility Studies (PFS)
  • Feasibility Studies (FS)

Mine project owners use these reports to obtain financing to allow them to proceed with the construction of their mines. Each report, carrying a financial risk, is carefully audited by the BC Securities Commission and has to conform to highly exact standards for research, production, format, review, authorization, and level of accuracy.

The level of accuracy of the Engineering data in these reports is determined by the particular stage-gate of the mine development, from exploration to operation, which in turn determines the CAPEX for the project.


As is clear, for such high-profile, risk-sensitive outcomes, the project management process had to be stringently controlled. Therefore, Navigator contains real-time examples of all the standards, processes and document templates a Project Manager would need (below):

Navigator, developed on the SharePoint platform, is accessible by all affected employees, and is a graphical depiction of the typical lifecycle of a mine project.

  • It shows Project teams what to do, when to do it, who has to do it, which tools to use, what the outputs should look, etc. Particularly important are the standard costing spreadsheets, in particular costs for services and metals prices.
  • Quality requirements (regarding length and contents of reports, authorization, sign-offs, publication, and legal compliance, were built into the project management process for every type of report.
  • The Work Breakdown Structure for each type of project is included in the documents provided, which means that the company can standardize its service offerings and costs.
  • Report production can now be systematically scaled up or down, without losing control or accuracy, for instance if a client decided to upgrade his report midway from PFS to FS, or required more and different single discipline studies.

In short, Johan tailored Navigator for the Mining Industry, specifically Front-End Mine Engineering Projects.

This intuitive, on-demand resource was implemented 100% in WEI’s Consulting Studies Group, and contributed significantly to the company’s position as a reputable and experienced provider of front end projects.


Features: GOVERNANCE –    Standardized all project management report formats and production for complete mine project lifecycle, to NI 43-101 and PMBOK standard. One source of truth
  PROCESS –    Standardized process, and reduced man-hours on reports-    Streamline the process of report production, ensuring compliance to reporting standards-    Report production synced to stage-gates in mine project development
  PEOPLE –    All Project Managers working in the same way using the same tools, templates and lifecycle gates-    Ready source for onboarding of new Project Managers
  TECHNOLOGY –    Graphic depiction of the Project management lifecycles for mine development projects.

Read the client comment.

Download the project profile here.Tetra Tech_Project Management Framework for Mining Studies

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: