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December 2016
Navigating volatility – do you change your business or the way your business works?
The key to success is agility and getting into shape to deal with volatility now. It is important to focus on six areas that will lead to more effective cash management. Mining companies must move faster to generate cash and strengthen their balance sheets if they are to successfully navigate ongoing volatility. This is a challenge that management will need to deal with for some time. EY’s recently released report, Navigating volatility: do you change your business or the way your Read More
December 2016
Can renewable energy lower your cost of production?
Renewable energy solutions are becoming more viable for mining operations and have the potential to reduce costs The ongoing downturn in most commodity prices has led many companies to actively seek out opportunities to lower their cost of production to remain profitable. While many cost-cutting avenues have been thoroughly explored and implemented, the potential for reduced energy costs through the integration of solar photovoltaic (PV) is often either overlooked or put in the too-hard Read More
December 2016
Building and maintaining effective project teams
Effective project teams are essential for project success – how should owners and project managers form the right team for the job? Several factors contributed to the severe cost escalation in the first decade of the 21st century. Some relate to increased complexity and massive infrastructure requirements due to location, challenging metallurgy and significant environmental and social requirements. However, many problems were laid at the feet of ‘people’ and the falling skills and Read More
December 2016
Can the gold industry avoid the sins of the past?
The global gold industry faces a number of challenges now that the gold price is showing signs of recovery Over the past few years, the gold industry has implemented some of the more painful restructuring in its history in the face of a falling gold price. This has led to improved financial positions and returns for investors. But as the gold price is beginning to stabilise and fundamental economic factors are trending in the sector’s favour, there are red flags emerging that the industry Read More
December 2016
An introduction to mentoring
Fostering a mentoring relationship can have positive career benefits for both mentors and mentees What is mentoring? Mentoring involves a partnership between a less-experienced individual (the mentee) and a more-experienced individual (the mentor) where the purpose is the personal and/or professional growth of the mentee. Although the goals of the mentoring relationship may differ across both settings and relationships, nearly all partnerships involve the acquisition of knowledge (Allen Read More
December 2016
Organic management structure – its advantages in a mining consultancy
An alternative organisational structure that is flexible and meets the needs of the dynamic and cyclical nature of the mining industry The purpose of any consultancy is to provide a superior service for its client. Organisational structure is a key element in providing this service and differentiating between consultants. In an organic organisation, the emphasis is on effectiveness, problem solving, responsiveness, flexibility, adaptability, creativity and innovation. Such an organisation Read More
Recent Articles

Australian Senate Inquiry in to the Rehabilitation of Mining and Resources Projects
On 8 February 2017, Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert on behalf of Senator Larissa Waters successfully moved for the rehabilitation of mining and resources projects to be referred to the Environment and Communications References Committee for inquiry. The matters to be investigated by the Committee are: “The rehabilitation of mining and resources projects as it relates to Commonwealth responsibilities, for example under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Read More
Mining report finds 60,000 abandoned sites, lack of rehabilitation and unreliable data
16 February, ABC NEWS released a story that more than 60,000 mines have been abandoned across Australia, according to a report that raises concerns about how land rehabilitation is managed as the mining boom ends. The Australia Institute research, obtained exclusively by Lateline, said there were few reliable statistics on the state of Australia's mines and there was evidence that only a handful had ever been fully rehabilitated. Full details of the story, together with videos can be Read More
AusIMM professional accreditation scheme – update
The Taskforce would like to sincerely thank those members, including current Chartered Professionals, who completed the survey in November 2016.  This provided the Professional Accreditation Advisory Taskforce (PAAT) with invaluable information. The results of the survey included: The response rate to the survey was excellent, with 1686 member responses received (of which 40% are current CPs), allowing for meaningful and statistically significant observations to be made. The Read More
Book Review – Macraes Orogenic Gold Deposit (NZ)
by Dave Craw and Doug MacKenzie Macraes gold deposit in South Island, New Zealand has seen modern exploration since the mid-1980s and mining from 1990. For some time, it failed to attract the attention that it deserved because of its low grade and perceived modest size. Exploration success and redesign have forced rethinking as the gold endowment grew to 10 Moz and all-time production passed 4 Moz Au. Where else might someone be sitting on such unrealised potential? What are the Read More
Book Review – Strictly (Mining) Boardroom – Volume II
by Allan Trench and John Sykes As the subtitle suggests, this book is a practitioner’s guide for the next generation of directors. The book is a handy collection of short articles originally published in the Strictly Boardroom series at miningnews.net. The episodic structure of the book makes it a convenient reference to dip in and out of as needed, and it is a very useful addition to a desktop bookshelf. The key insights at the end of each section are also valuable. The nine Read More
Heritage – Safety at the Broken Hill Proprietary Steelworks
The following article is an excerpt from a paper originally published in the Proceedings of the AusIMM No 184, 1957. The principle of personal safety is as old as the human race. The application of this principle to industry is of much more recent origin, and may be said to be almost exclusively the product of the twentieth century. The enormous strides in technique and production made prior to the turn of the century had been achieved without any real regard for the crippled human Read More
Improving productivity by integrating software developers into resource engineering
The use of in-house software developers in the simplification, standardisation and systematisation of processes across mine planning, geotechnical engineering, hydrology and closure planning In 2011, the mining industry was facing challenges brought on by a shortage of capable and experienced mining engineers. To gain an advantage in this environment, the BHP Billiton Iron Ore Resource Engineering Department employed and integrated a group of data professionals with the intent to Read More
Autonomous haulage systems – the business case
A cost-benefit analysis of an autonomous haulage system that demonstrates the potential for productivity improvements The mining industry is constantly seeking ways to lower costs and increase efficiency, particularly given that product differentiation activities are limited due to general commodity homogeneity. Heavy industries, including manufacturing and transport, have adopted various technologies such as robotics-based systems to increase efficiency and lower costs. The mining Read More
Designs for highwall safety bunds in open cut coal mines
Correctly designed and cost-effective highwall bunds are essential for safety in large open cut coal mines Highwall and low wall stability are essential during open cut mining. Geotechnical investigations are required to quantify the mass and substance properties of soils and rocks within the mining horizons. The required minimum safety factor for open cut batters is 1.2. The effect of highwall mining and augering needs to be considered for long-term highwall performance. Temporary Read More
Cutter mining
Trench cutter technology has been used successfully in many civil engineering projects and has the potential to become a sustainable technology for mining projects as well Trench cutter technology, which has typically been used in civil engineering applications, has been used in recent times in various bulk sampling and trial mining applications. This article presents the key features of the cutter technology and the applications in exploration and mining so far and shows steps to Read More
Telerobotics for hang-up assessment and removal
Penguin/Codelco team up to use robotics to solve an age-old problem in cave mining – hang-up assessment and removal The removal of rock blockages in mining operations has long been a risky undertaking, especially in high overhead conditions. In fact, the assessment of where to place charges has been difficult due to the lack of visibility and safe access to the area. Thus, the traditional practice of wedging long poles with explosives on them, keeping the operator in as safe a location Read More
Flash flotation equipment design
Flash flotation is a mature application of flotation technology to recover fast-floating liberated particles from within the grinding circuit before they can be ground further Flash flotation is the rapid flotation of mineral particles to produce a suitable concentrate. Normally, the feed to a flash flotation cell is the cyclone underflow stream. The aim when treating cyclone underflow is to recover liberated fast-floating mineral particles before they present back to the grinding mill Read More