Highlights See All

August 2017
Science in the sandpit – developing a mining innovation hub in Western Australia
Bringing mining research closer to the action by developing a mining technology centre of excellence in Kalgoorlie-Boulder Based in Brisbane and jointly funded by the mining industry and the federal government, CRC ORE I (one) was established in mid-2010 with an initial five-year term. During this period, much of the initial discovery and development research was undertaken. It became apparent during this time that the impacts of declining grades, declining productivity and increasing Read More
August 2017
Moving from a social licence to operate to a social licence to close
Although many mining companies are familiar with the concept of a social licence to operate, a more holistic view looks at how the impacts of mine closure will affect stakeholders Social licence to operate refers to the ongoing acceptance and approval of a project, company or industry by its stakeholders. It is widely recognised that stakeholder concerns can and have resulted in increased operating costs, schedule delays, reputational damage and, in extreme instances, mine shutdowns. Last Read More
August 2017
The future of mining: more digging through data than strata
The evolution of the industry, its opportunities and how best to equip the energy and resources sector of tomorrow The natural resources industry has long been a dominant player in Australia’s economy. Mining and related services employ more than 380 000 people. The industry accounts for 50 per cent of the nation’s export earnings, with the top 40 sector companies alone producing more than $400 billion in annual revenues (ABS, 2016). However, we have entered an era of extreme volatility Read More
August 2017
The pathway to executive leadership
Perspectives from an executive recruiter and a leadership consultant on preparing for executive leadership positions A leadership shortage? Even in this prolonged downturn, good leaders are in strong demand. Since the Global Financial Crisis almost a decade ago, there has been a crisis of confidence that has raised scrutiny and expectations on leaders. In this high-pressure environment, many leaders have burnt out, never to return. Good leadership can be analysed ad nauseam or it can be Read More
August 2017
How predictive analytics is the future of asset optimisation in mining
A predictive maintenance strategy had the potential to allow mining companies to operate more efficiently, even during times of uncertainty The concept of predictive maintenance (PdM) has been around for a long time, but like the Internet of Things (IoT), it has only recently come to fruition in high-end industries thanks to digital transformation. PdM is defined as a group of emerging scientific technologies that are designed to help determine the condition of in-service equipment in Read More
August 2017
Your revised Chartered Professional Program – on track and on time
The revised AusIMM Chartered Professional Program will provide increased recognition, governance and professional standing, enabling AusIMM CPs to be qualified, competent and current The Professional Accreditation Advisory Taskforce (PAAT) is on track to deliver your enhanced AusIMM Chartered Professional Program (CPP) by 1 January 2018. The taskforce has completed an extensive review of the existing program, taking into consideration member feedback to date, and has identified Read More
Recent Articles

August 2017
Fan specification and tender adjudication for mine ventilation engineers
This is an excerpt from a paper to be presented at The Australian Mine Ventilation Conference 2017, which will be held in Brisbane from 28-30 August. View the program and register at www.austminevent.com.au. The correct specification and then selection of primary or major fans for an underground mine is a critical decision, not only in terms of fan capital and operating costs, but also in terms of safety and reliability, which usually has a major impact on mine production. In addition, fan Read More
August 2017
A review of ventilation and gas management in underground mines
This is an excerpt from a paper to be presented at The Australian Mine Ventilation Conference 2017, which will be held in Brisbane from 28-30 August. View the program and register at www.austminevent.com.au. During 2015 and 2016, the authors conducted a number of surveys, workshops and reviews of ventilation and gas management practices in Australian underground coal mines. The study was funded by the Australian coal industry’s research program (ACARP) with a brief to identify gaps in Read More
August 2017
Social performance – a new professional discipline
It is vital for mining companies to understand 'social performance' and how it affects their business Extractive industries are mostly unwelcome in advanced economies. However difficult for Australian mining professionals to accept, it is unlikely that our industry will ever be liked in its home base – the best we can hope for is quiet acceptance. For that matter, nor are we well-liked in most of the off-shore frontiers we have been moving to for several decades. While we might be welcomed Read More
August 2017
Geology, grade and geometallurgical modelling – spoilt for choice?
The breadth of tools available to aid geological, grade and geometallurgical modelling is as extensive as it has ever been, but evaluators need to ensure that the methods and products chosen, the data exchange and the interaction of the various software is communicated adequately through workflow mapping The evolution of modelling practices When I first started the long journey in resource estimation, modelling using digital technology was simple – it couldn’t be done – or rather, the Read More
August 2017
Removing doubt and reducing tensions: simplifying complex noise management
An overview of traditional and emerging noise management approaches, and a discussion of their potential drawbacks and benefits The management approaches adopted for environmental emissions such as noise, dust and odour (to name a few) are very often conservative or reactive in nature. These approaches are usually adopted because environmental emissions are technically complex and their level of impact is dynamically changing according to weather conditions and a mine’s operations. This Read More
August 2017
Future direction of mineral resources education
Strategies and innovations for the new generation embarking on a career in the extractive industries There are many challenges to address for education in mineral resources disciplines, particularly at the tertiary level. As with all tertiary institutions, the aim is to successfully produce graduates that are hard-working, high-achieving and job-ready. Industry is not the only receiver of these students – postgraduate degrees and life-long researchers are also targeted. Very little Read More
August 2017
Career planning and goal setting for minerals professionals
A proper career plan with appropriate short and long-term goals can significantly help your professional development and ability to adapt to changing environment Professionals working in the minerals industry can expect to face many trials and tribulations over the course of their careers. This is particularly true in today’s mining world, where uncertainty and change seem to have become the norm. The mining industry has been plagued with instability in recent years, which has made those Read More
August 2017
Book review: Sun Dogs and Yellowcake by Patricia Sandberg
This is a book about the history of a small uranium mining town called Gunnar that briefly existed in the far northern part of Canada in the 1950s. Based on detailed interviews, the author paints a vivid picture of daily life there. The resulting story of a strong and vibrant community spirit in the face of adversity and isolation has universal appeal and will certainly resonate with anyone who has lived in similar mining towns. The title Sun Dogs and Yellowcake refers to both the mine’s Read More
August 2017
Process automation – drill planning and budget optimisation
Designing an effective drilling plan using an optimisation algorithm Often the first budget item to be cut in times of austerity is exploration drilling. We will not go into the wisdom or consequences of this decision, but rather look at a means to optimise the money available for ongoing drilling. Most geologists who have had to do drill hole layouts will have come up with any number of tools or process automations through scripts or macros that help them design a reasonable drill plan in Read More
August 2017
Book review: Metals, Energy and Sustainability: The Story of Doctor Copper and King Coal by Barry Golding and Suzanne D Golding
Although the clearly stated intention of this book is to establish whether copper will continue to be available at a reasonable price for the service of humanity into the foreseeable future, neither the authors nor the reader should be disappointed by the inevitable conclusion that ‘it all depends…’ If the Goldings have not come up with a definitive answer to their own question, they have provided a meticulously detailed review of all the factors – technical, economic and political – that Read More
August 2017
Book review: Prove it! How to create a high-performance culture and measurable success by Stacy Barr
When I first picked up this book, I felt a sense of dread. Being a creative person, I detest KPIs and those Six Sigma dogmatics who push the line ‘you cannot manage what you cannot measure’ – a form of transactional bureaucracy. To me, performance management and other organisational measurements are a form of convergence on a solution – and sometimes the solutions are wrong because they are static in a dynamic world. Having a growth mindset, I prefer divergent thinking, agility and Read More
August 2017
Implications of pyritic coal dust for coal workers’ pneumoconiosis
With the re-emergence of coal workers' pneumoconiosis as an issue in some Australian mines, recognition and further understanding of the possible contribution of reactive pyrite to lung diseases issues is important to help manage and mitigate risk The issue of coal workers’ pneumoconiosis (CWP) has re-emerged in some Australian mines (Zosky et al, 2016). Harmful effects from coal dust inhalation have been well documented, but the underlying causes and mechanisms of CWP are still debatable. Read More