Gonzalo Covarrubias, General Manager,

WSP PERU

"We are going to be the largest environmental and earth science team globally, consisting of around 14,000 employees in the world."

WSP has been very active in its strategy of growth through acquisitions. Can you tell us the reasons behind the decision to acquire Golder, and what this means for the company’s Peruvian operations?

Since 2006, WSP has completed more than 120 M&A deals globally. Adapting to the culture of the companies that come to us, without affecting their essence, is part of our success. In December 2020, the company announced its intention to acquire Golder, a leading engineering and consulting firm with a presence in over 60 countries. The acquisition provides us with the ability to become the leading firm in the environmental earth science sector, which is part of our long-term strategy. By combining complementary service offerings and expertise in underground and above-ground engineering, we are ideally positioned to advise our clients and help them tackle challenges around climate change, environmental and social impact, biodiversity, environmental rehabilitation, environmental management and compliance. We are going to be the largest environmental and earth science team globally, consisting of around 14,000 employees in the world. The merger will also help boost our connection with mining clients in Latin America, as Golder has a strong client-base and quality-driven reputation, complementing WSP’s culture and values.

Which of WSP’s services have experienced high demand in the last 12 months?

Our design and consulting services to tackle client challenges have seen an increase in demand. We also have a very robust PMO (Project Management Office) and we have strengthened this capability in Peru as well. The PMO model is becoming increasingly popular with public and private clients, and we expect this to gain traction in the coming years. As a result of the pandemic, we have been promoting services to improve the flow of personnel on and off site, to be more resilient and mitigate contamination risk in the future.

The shock our clients suffered brought a new topic to light – in the long run, how we can handle risks which cannot be controlled? WSP’s global program, FutureReady, has seen significant growth as it focuses on the ability to tackle future trends clients will be facing. Clients have become more open to consider the impacts of, and comprehensive ways to handle challenges arising from, trends such as pandemics, climate change, communities and sustainability.

Can you explain how WSP's consulting services help to create a long-term relationship between project, community and operation?

Metals prices are currently very high as the world realizes that metals are important for a sustainable future. There is a rising global demand for technology and devices, and as the Industry 4.0 movement gathers pace, this will only increase. As an industry, we need to clearly communicate why we mine metals – as they are vital for development; and how we mine metals – by having a responsible mining and strong relationships within the communities that we operate. Large projects are a multidisciplinary challenge, and their development must include all the stakeholders; local communities, governments, clients, and employees, and these groups cannot work in silos. Furthermore, how we exploit resources and develop future mining operations must consider climate change, wealth-creation for communities, and evolving technologies.

In WSP we are committed to help our clients in developing sustainable projects which include a long-term vision of community wellness. We offer our clients a multidisciplinary group of professionals looking at complex problems from different angles and finding solutions that break paradigms. We are here to promote and improve the communication through our technical performance, our engineering breakthroughs our social and environmental focus and a collaborative model with our clients.

Do you think the adoption of innovation has increased during the pandemic, and if so, which technologies have gained traction?

I would say the willingness to adopt new technologies has accelerated due to the pandemic, and over the past 12 months there has been ample opportunity for a transfer of knowledge to the mining industry, particularly for innovations that support remote operations.

We often assume that technology means more efficiency and less jobs, but in reality, technologies enabling remote services will open the door for a larger talent pool to enter the sector. For instance, opportunities will become more diverse and enable more women to also become part of the mining industry. The adoption of remote technologies also requires different skill sets, which gives new high-level capabilities to the miners.

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