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The mining sector is down, but not out
The world's top 40 mining companies were in a race to the bottom in 2015, with falling market capitalisation and net losses leaving them slower, lower and weaker according to PwC's Mine 2016 report Mine 2016 is PwC’s 13th annual review of global trends in the mining industry. Its analysis is based on the financial performance and position of the global mining industry as represented by the top 40 mining companies by market capitalisation. In 2015, the world’s top 40 mining companies Read More
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August 2016
Australia signs up for the EITI
After a successful pilot of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, Australia is set to adopt the program and ensure continued transparency and best practice in the resources sector The lasting value of Australia’s natural resources should become clearer as the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) is adopted here. On 6 May 2016, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Julie Bishop, and then Minister for Resources, Energy and Northern Australia, Josh Frydenberg, Read More
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August 2016
Stakeholder engagement: who are you, what do you stand for and why?
Stakeholders' perceptions should be aligned with the organisation's mission and vision to ensure that it maintains social licence to operate With an increasingly dynamic business environment, successful stakeholder engagement is becoming more important to achieving desired outcomes in today’s mineral resource industries. It is imperative to be proactive in correctly identifying all stakeholders and initiating early contact. This builds trust relationships, which are essential to ensure Read More
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August 2016
Future mining issues and mining education
Changes in the way minerals professionals are educated will allow the industry to retain a highly skilled workforce, even during times of uncertainty It is basically impossible to consider an advanced global society that is not dependent on mining and farming. Because of this, minerals-related professions will remain relevant for the foreseeable future, unlike many other careers that are becoming redundant due to advances in technology. However, the challenges facing the sector are likely Read More
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August 2016
Rethinking merit for a sustainable mining industry
Although the concept of 'meritocratic' companies is popular, studies suggest that unconscious biases influence decisions based on merit. How might the mining industry overcome these biases? The need to improve diversity and inclusion in business has been on the agenda for Australian businesses for many decades. There have been plenty of widely published discussions on the topic, including a number within the mining and resources industry such as the Mineral Council of Australia’s Diversity Read More
Image courtesy of Outotec. Atlas Mining_Carmen Copper Mining Complex
Upgrades, modernisations and expansions: where will the expertise, capability and skills come from in the future?
This article is based on a keynote paper to be presented during the 13th AusIMM Mill Operators' Conference 2016 to be held from 10-12 October in Perth. The industry that supports operations and new projects is suffering a rapid decline in the currently severely curtailed capital investment environment. This is evidenced by a decline in the number of skilled teams, who are now centred in fewer locations. Other features are an aging and retiring ‘Baby Boomer’ generation, coupled with a low Read More
Recent Articles

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Have your say on key decisions regarding AusIMM’s Charter and By-Laws review
A review of the AusIMM's constitution – its Charter and By-Laws – was commissioned by the AusIMM Board in late 2014. The review taskforce has been working methodically towards recommendations and the drafting of a proposed new constitution that will be presented to AusIMM members for endorsement in the coming year. After discussion at the AusIMM Congress meetings in 2015 and 2016, and the release of two rounds of detailed discussion papers, the review is now focusing on the key Read More
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Coal Minesite Rehabilitation Trust Fund 2017 Postgraduate Scholarships
The 2017 Coal Minesite Rehabilitation Trust Fund Postgraduate Scholarships (Minesite Rehabilitation Scholarships) will be open for applications in September 2016. Two postgraduate scholarships, worth up to $35 000 per annum each, will be on offer for innovative research into ways to improve land rehabilitation measures for Queensland coal mines. Applications should be aligned to one or more of the following research priorities: native ecosystem rehabilitation rehabilitation of Read More
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August 2016
Can the theory of constraints guide the next wave of mining productivity improvement?
A strategy of continuous improvement that maximises productivity without large capital investments 'Productivity’ and ‘continuous improvement’ have had a raised profile in mining recently. It seems as if all the major players are either chasing it or talking about it. It sounds simple, but finding a sustainable and systematic way of achieving and driving continuous improvement has proven difficult to achieve in practice. Could a methodology that has been very successful in other Read More
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August 2016
Using mine fire simulation software to enhance mine safety
Computer programs can have significant benefits in training mine workers and rescue teams through dynamic and detailed scenarios Mine health and safety is a critical component of the mining process, and a comprehensive and varied training program is integral to safe operations. Training programs can be as simple as periodic evacuation drills through to comprehensive, industry-wide disaster simulations such as the Queensland Level 1 exercises. While the topics in these training courses are Read More
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The contribution of mining to the emerging circular economy
This article is a combination of two papers that will be presented at Life-of-Mine 2016, which will be held in Brisbane from 28-30 September 2016. For more information about the conference or to register as a delegate, visit the conference website at www.lifeofmine.ausimm.com.au The mining industry should embrace the circular economy to improve its sustainability and create value. Introduction The concept of the circular economy has been gaining traction both in Europe and Read More
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August 2016
Geotechnical data collection and presentation – it starts and ends with a vision
The quality of geotechnical data collection is the first step towards minimising uncertainty In the words of Stephen Few, a world leader in the field of data visualisation, business intelligence and decision support who focuses on the effective analysis and presentation of quantitative business information, ‘Numbers have an important story to tell. They rely on you to give them a voice’ (Few, 2009). The foundation of a successful cave mining operation is the collection of detailed Read More
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August 2016
Ensuring health and safety through the entire mining cycle
Improvements in technology and reductions in fatality rates demonstrate great progress in the minerals sector, but a continued focus on health and safety will help prevent complacency As the 21st century progresses, serious questions have been asked of the capacity of the minerals industry to maintain or improve its occupational health and safety (OHS) performance. The pressures on mining and mineral processing will come from many directions. Cost pressures are only going to increase, Read More
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August 2016
The importance of recognising warning signals in averting death and disaster
How ignoring or missing warning signals can have catastrophic consequences In my book Ten Pathways to Death and Disaster: Learning from Fatal Incidents in Mines and Other High Hazard Workplaces (Quinlan, 2014a), I examined single and multiple fatalities in mines in five countries (USA, UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand) over a 20-year period, identifying a series of pattern failures or flaws. The ten pattern causes identified were those that were repeatedly found by investigators to Read More
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August 2016
Energy as a controllable cost
Projects to cut energy costs make good business sense. So why aren't miners pursuing them? As global commodity prices remain low and are showing little sign of recovery, companies need to remove more costs from their operations. Energy usually accounts for between ten and 20 per cent of operating costs, depending on factors such as location and mine type. Typically, savings in the order of five per cent of total energy draw are readily and cost-effectively achievable. Yet projects that Read More
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August 2016
Improving dragline productivity and increasing reliability using big data
Using big data analytics in a holistic manner can unlock productivity potential We are starting to hear the term ‘big data’ used more and more often. Big data is being used to perform some very interesting analyses using an extensive array of data from many different sources. But never before has this technique been used to enhance the productivity performance of a dragline, especially while also improving the dragline’s reliability. This article will examine the benefits of integrating Read More
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August 2016
Mine development and surface water management
Best practice approaches to developing and implementing water management plans to minimise project costs and risks The management of surface water during operations and post-closure is an essential aspect in the design and development of a mining project, improving project feasibility and assisting in minimising overall project costs and risks. Water management must incorporate both the ‘hard’ engineering controls for the diversion and conveyance of surface runoff around and/or within the Read More
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August 2016
Development of the professional mining technician
The safe and efficient operation and maintenance of a modern underground mine relies on the expertise of professional mining technicians Henderson Operations’ underground molybdenum mine has been in production since 1976. Since that time, more than one billion pounds of ‘moly’ has been produced, and over 120 Mt of ore extracted from three different levels and many different panels. The safe and successful operation of Henderson has been, and will continue to be, dependent on utilising an Read More