Highlights See All

February 2017
Mining automation and shared value – thinking through the new conundrum
Transformations in mining techniques have the potential to change the way mining companies maintain their social licence to operate In the coming years, automation will change the face of the mining industry. One of the biggest impacts is that we will see far fewer faces in mines. Technologies such as driverless trucks, autonomous long-distance haul trains, automated drilling and boring systems and semi-autonomous crushers are being steadily rolled out in new mining investments and are Read More
February 2017
Disruptive technologies – adopt at your own risk, ignore at your peril
Learning how to effectively interpret high volumes of data can significantly improve decision-making and efficiency In today’s mining environment, the volume of data made available to us when making decisions eclipses what we have historically had access to. This data is borne through a technology revolution that has made mobile devices and sensors more powerful and available than ever before. Devices are now routinely in place on trucks, excavators, other fixed and mobile equipment and Read More
February 2017
Data management – establishing good practice
Data gathering and analysis is not an end in itself, but rather should help to maintain a stable and efficient operation Technology allows us to continuously measure things to ever-increasing levels of accuracy and gather massive amounts of data in real time. However, if the data doesn’t support and inform discussions that lead to achieving a good plan and improvements in what we are doing, gathering the data becomes an exercise in futility. Context Over the last 30 years, the data Read More
February 2017
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
Turning an abandoned gold mine into a renewable energy hub
A unique project in northern Queensland will use former mine infrastructure to deliver new stakeholder benefits Kidston, a small township in northern Queensland, will soon experience a world-first, with the refurbishment of an abandoned gold mine into a renewable energy hub. The hub, which will be constructed by Genex Power, is located 270 km north-west of Townsville in northern Queensland. The hub will comprise three renewable energy projects: a 50 MW solar project (Kidston Solar Read More
February 2017
Research perspective – mobile robots in underground mining
The use of robotics in mining will accelerate mine mapping, create virtual models, assist workers and increase safety Robotics is one of the disruptive technologies of our century and its opportunities for mining are increasingly discussed both in academia (Marshall et al, 2016) and industry (IFR, 2015). In underground mining, mobile robotic systems are found in modern production sites where they are predominantly used as autonomous transport vehicles. In most cases, the areas of Read More
Recent Articles

A discussion with Joanne Farrell
Joanne Farrell is Group Executive Health, Safety, and Environment (HSE) and Managing Director Australia at Rio Tinto, and a keynote speaker at the upcoming Minesafe International 2017 conference. The AusIMM Bulletin asked Joanne for her views on key issues and best practice relating to health and safety in the minerals industry. What do you see as the key issues that the industry needs to address from a health and safety perspective? Health and safety management in the mining industry Read More
An overview of Pierre Gy’s contribution to sampling
Pierre Gy was influential in developing a theory of sampling and significantly helped to advance the discipline. The 8th World Conference on Sampling and Blending will be held in Perth from 9-11 May 2017 and feature a session dedicated to his legacy. Pierre Gy began his career in 1946 in French Equatorial Africa (Congo), working on the small M’Fouati lead mine as the mineral process engineer, where he was in charge of the processing plant and associated laboratories. In 1947, the Read More
Notes from the AusIMM WIMnet Chair
As I get more and more immersed in diversity and trying to understand what has an impact on the attraction and acceptance of different groups in the workforce, there are a few topics of conversation that keep popping up. One of those is answering why certain people achieve heights in their careers that seem to be out of reach for others. Is it because they are the best at what they do? Is it because they are extremely committed to their career? Is it because they are practiced magicians Read More
Virtual tour of Illawarra’s industrial history
A virtual tour allows people to visit historical industrial and mine sites on the south coast of NSW via www.illawarra-heritage-trail.com.au. The tour sites available include the Bulli Miners Cottage, the Bulli Mine memorial commemorating an underground explosion in 1887 that killed 81 men and boys, Corrimal and Coal Cliff Cokeworks, Jetty Mine and Coal Cliff Colliery, Hicks Point Jetty, Mount Kembla Colliery where an explosion in 1902 killed 96 men and boys working underground, Dapto Read More
My adventures in the mining industry
When you talk to an average person about mining, the first image that comes to their mind is a dirty, sweating, hulk of a man, lifting heavy equipment with foul language streaming from his tobacco-filled mouth. I’m here to dismantle that stereotype. True, all of the drillers I have met to date are men, but they range in size from short to tall, young to old, single to family men. During the six years I have spent working in exploration and production mining, I have met some amazing Read More
2016 South Australian Exploration and Mining Conference report
Insight from a Victoria-based AusIMM New Professional On Friday 2 December 2016 more than 630 delegates attended the 13th annual South Australian Exploration and Mining Conference in Adelaide. As a member of the AusIMM New Professionals Network (NPN) I was invited to represent the NPN and share the AusIMM booth alongside the AusIMM Adelaide Branch – a great example of collaboration between AusIMM Communities of Interest (COIs) and supporting the new professionals in industry for future Read More
Real deposit data requested for student use
In 2010, staff at Adolfo Ibáñez University, University of Chile, and Colorado School of Mines created a website called Minelib along with an associated published paper in the Annals of Operations Research. The website contains a small number of open pit mine block models for mine planning optimisation research. The success of the library is illustrated by the fact that the paper has been cited over 60 times in peer-reviewed journals. This year it is hoped to expand the variety of Read More
February 2017
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
February 2017
Country Snapshot: Mining in Kazakhstan
The introduction of a new mining code in 2018 will make Kazakhstan a more attractive destination for foreign miners A wealth of minerals provides significant opportunities Kazakhstan’s vast mineral reserves and remarkable variety of minerals (over 60 of the 105 elements in Mendeleev’s periodic table can be found in the country) make it one of the most attractive emerging markets for mining investment. As of 2013, Kazakhstan was the: world’s leading uranium producer (accounting for Read More
February 2017
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
February 2017
Cutter mining has the potential to become a sustainable technology for mining projects
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
February 2017
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