We are continually growing our team of experts, and we are excited to welcome Ian de Klerk to the team as Executive Consultant in our Brisbane office.
Here’s an interview we did with Ian to get to know him a bit better:
Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I am a resource geologist with some 35 years of experience, focused mainly in coal. I spent the first two years of my career as a gold and base metal exploration geologist working out of a caravan in the Tugela Valley area of northern Kwa-Zulu Natal in South Africa. This very rough terrain covering the remnants of a Proterozoic mobile belt was a steep learning curve for a young exploration geologist cutting my teeth on project evaluation, reporting and promotions to interested potential investors. After two years in a caravan, I returned to Rhodes University to complete a Master’s Degree in Exploration Geology and went on to join Anglo American Coal Division. This was the start of my career in coal, and it has served me well ever since. My time at Anglo provided me with a detailed understanding of South African coalfields through my involvement in a multitude of projects and operations, including a two year stint as assistant to the Group Technical Consultants in the Johannesburg head office. This was followed by a five year spell at Sasol, firstly on a coal seam gas joint venture project with an American oil and gas company, followed by a business optimisation program ahead of a large SAP implementation. Then back to Anglo for six years to manage the Coal Resource and Database geology teams.
Since 2008 I have lived in Brisbane, on Australia’s east coast, and worked as a Consultant mainly in the Evaluation and Corporate spaces completing numerous feasibility studies, resource audits and technical specialist due diligence assignments on behalf of private equity, banks and other investors, including the preparation of technical documentation for IPOs. In this role I have completed projects located in Africa, Australia, Canada, Indonesia, Madagascar and Mongolia. I will be continuing with this type of role at Snowden and contributing to the development and integration of geological software offered by the Snowden/Datamine stable.
Can you explain some of the challenges you consult to your clients on in a few sentences and how you help them improve?
It is always important to understand the client’s real needs and this can be quite challenging at times, especially when clients are yet to identify root cause issue themselves. But until this is done the consultant cannot contemplate effective solutions or offer really meaningful advice. In audit and due diligence situation it is always important to keep an open mind and listen to what the target has to say – they know their deposits and operation best, but I would be very rich if I had a dollar for every time I heard “But we have always done it like that …..”.
What inspired your career in this industry?
A love of the outdoors and a strong interest in the natural world. And not least, the influence of some great mentors and inspirational leaders when I was starting out.
What is the most satisfying aspect of your role / the work you do?
As a consultant you get to meet different people and experience new things on each job – there is never a dull moment. This is the most satisfying thing for me, to be in a position to learn new stuff all the time – you never know it all.
What are your best memories from your career?
Truly some of the best memories come from my early career spent in a caravan in some remote places – the environment, the wildlife, the geology and the different cultures I encountered. Also, while working for Anglo, seeing a mine take shape through the exploration, feasibility, development and production stages. I have had the privilege to experience that twice in my career.
What’s a fun fact about you?
I brew my own beer 😊