I once interviewed with a consulting company for a job - which I got. The interviewer was a moral man of perfect manners. I had known him at a distance for many years and not once had I heard a profanity or immoral thought or word escape his lips. He had only one question for me during the interview: “Do you have what it takes to be a consultant?” Baffled, I asked him how he defined a consultant relative to the illusive qualities lurking in his question. His reply: “A consultant is like a prostitute; you both get paid to get fucked.”

The question’s answer is not the best criterion there is for including a company in the database. In fact I am not sure how to apply the criterion without inquiring from each prospective company how they are treated by their clients—and that is not feasible. So I need another definition. Some criteria suggested by an InfoMine manager: professionals who charge a fee to provide services; no selling of equipment; high skills and knowledge founded in degrees and professional conduct. A start!

Consult the web and you soon see that there are as many criteria as there are companies and consulting organizations and professional associations. For example, from Wikipedia:

A consultant (from the Latin consultus meaning "legal expert") is a professional who provides expert advice in a particular area of expertise such as accountancy, the environment, technology, the law, human resources, marketing, medicine, finance, public affairs, communication, engineering or waste management.

The main difference between a consultant and a 'normal' expert is that the consultant is not himself employed with his client, but instead is in business for himself or for a consultancy firm, usually with multiple and changing clients. Thus, his clients have access to deeper levels of expertise than would be feasible for them to retain in-house, especially if the speciality is needed comparatively rarely.

Rather than set strict guidelines that would quickly have to be revised or relaxed or subverted, I decided to simply rely on my gut-feel judgment. A quick scan of the companies in the database revealed that over half the listed companies were not, in my opinion, consultants. So I deleted them. Actually most of them provide valuable services or sell useful equipment to the mining industry—it is just that they do not consult. We moved them to the Suppliers database.

I will continue with this culling and selecting over the next few weeks and months. My aim is to make the Consultants database the web’s best source for you to quickly find the company you seek to provide consulting services to your mine. You know what a consultant is, you know how to select one, and you know how to manage one. And really all I need to do for you is put the many consulting companies out there in one lists that makes it easy for you to find, compare, and select.

If you are a consulting company, please bear with me. Check that your company is listed in the InfoMine Consultants database; keep checking to see that I retain it; and please help me make sure your company name is listed in the right place—in the right categories that will ensure your name comes up when somebody is searching.