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|Outsourcing of specialist and non-continuous services is common practice in international mining operations. There is an increasing trend towards this practice in South Africa as a result of the major organisational changes that have taken place in the industry, and as lower revenues and production cost pressures have reduced profit margins. Many specialist functions have been outsourced in the industry for a long time, an example being shaft sinking, which is undertaken by specialist shaft sinking contractors. In the professional services area, some activities have been outsourced, for example the design and construction supervision of tailings dams, but mining related activities such as geology, mine planning and scheduling, engineering, ventilation, and rock engineering, have traditionally been carried out by in-house staff. In this paper some of the industry problems which have led to an increase in outsourcing of professional services are considered. Then the pros and cons of outsourcing are dealt with before outlining the factors which should be taken into account in choosing an outsourcing partner.|