Australian consulting engineering and R&D firm Soto Consulting says that Australian miners are opting for sustainable capex to get more from existing assets as well as derive production and productivity gains.

Due to the specific type of engineering work refined over decades in the NSW industrial sector of Illawarra, mining companies in distant WA may find a new type of efficiency option in the quest to minimise expenses at the top of the resources chain.

Soto Consulting services a wide range of mining clients such as Billiton, BlueScope and Boral in the Illawarra supply chain. Managing Director Mr Frank Soto has overseen the business in mining and process technology related projects around Australia.

He believes the sheer scale of the mineral resources sector in Australia shifts attention away from the post capex period where even greater savings can be managed.

According to Mr Soto, most large Engineering Procurement & Contract Management (EPCMs) companies that are set up for the delivery of significant major capex projects do not always leave a lasting or reliable legacy of a processing plant. It is often left to the new plant owners to resolve plant reliability and production issues and reduce cost of the operation. Miners are forced into implementing sustainable capex projects to resolve the shortcomings handed to them.

Soto Consulting works with the new plant owners and their reliability and asset managers to provide fast and cost effective solutions to the shortcomings they have inherited by redesigning the non-performing elements of the plant. Across the entire plant and operation, targeted operational expenditure will deliver improved reliability and increased production and yields.

Leading mining companies and operators such as BHPB, RIO and FMG are focusing squarely on sustainable capex and opex improvement projects to increase production, improve reliability and reduce the operating cost of their plants in order to increase profits to shareholders, instead of taking the alternative and more expensive capex option of new mines and plants in Australia.