What the Explorer Challenge means for the future of exploration
Can crowdsourcing and consensus targeting revolutionise discovery? The Explorer Challenge was Australia’s largest open data crowdsourcing competition to date. OZ Minerals provided a $1 million prize pool and more than six terabytes of private and public exploration data to a globally distributed community of geologists and data scientists, who then developed groundbreaking approaches to predict mineralisation and identify exploration targets at the Mount Woods tenement in South Read More
December 2019
Owen Hegarty: Setting the path for success
One of Australia’s most experienced mining identities believes this country can – and should – set standards for the industry worldwide, with AusIMM having a critical role to play Owen Hegarty denies with a laugh that he is thinking about world domination, but he firmly believes Australia is on track to take a leading role as the mining industry moves forward into the 21st century. ‘Aussie leadership is terrific. Whether it is leading groups, teams or companies, we’re very good at Read More
December 2019
Reflections, involvements and observations on my time in the mining industry
This is an edited speech that was originally delivered at the AusIMM North West Queensland Branch sixth annual regional conference. It is wonderful to be here in Cloncurry. One of the risks of having retired people speak is that they tend to look backwards more than forwards. Perhaps it is because the past was more exciting and longer lasting than the future looks like being. I will try to strike a balance in this speech by exploring several aspects of the past, the present and the Read More
December 2019
Adapt and perish: is the mining industry ready for the blockchain revolution?
Blockchain has the potential to transform contemporary businesses and entire societies. But is the resources industry ready to adopt the technology, or does it remain a buzzword with an unproven business case for mining? There is little doubt the mining industry must keep adapting to a progressively digital and automated environment as determined by Industry 4.0 (Dodd, 2019; Gooch, 2019; Sirinanda, 2019). Blockchain is ‘at the heart of Industry 4.0,’ or as Tapscott and Tapscott say, Read More
December 2019
AusIMM’s Thought Leadership Series report
Following the highly successful inaugural Thought Leadership Series in 2018, AusIMM visited five locations across Australia in 2019 to bring together industry professionals to discuss the future of our sector The series featured keynote presentations from Australia’s Chief Scientists and panels exploring how science and technology is shaping the future of the resources industry. This article is an excerpt of a longer report that looks in more detail at each of the topics covered by Read More
Top 10 AusIMM Bulletin stories of 2019
The following articles topped the AusIMM Bulletin website’s most-read list in 2019. 1 Profile: Laura Tyler – creating a high-performance culture Laura Tyler believes firmly in the importance of culture. ‘It is the keystone for high performance,’ she says. Without it, everything else falls away.’ 2 Profile: Sandeep Biswas – building trust and respect through action One of Australia’s leading mining company executives, Sandeep Biswas, says getting social licence right is just one Read More
December 2019
AusIMM Professional Employment and Remuneration Survey 2019
AusIMM’s annual summary report on professional employment in the resources sector suggests a sustained upturn in employment and continued sector confidence AusIMM is the peak body and trusted voice for all professionals in the resources sector and represents more than 13 000 members working in Australia and internationally. To inform its policies and strategic agenda, AusIMM conducts an annual Professional Employment and Remuneration Survey (PERS). This survey provides a unique and Read More
December 2019
Changing the face of mining
Social licence continues to be the top business risk for the mining and metals industry today. While it is promising to see the industry start to embrace new ways to more effectively engage communities, one could argue that the inherent problem still remains: the way we mine. Economies of scale over the past 50 years have seen mines become increasingly larger and larger. With the deepest mines extending kilometres below the surface, large scale mining is a feat of engineering that has Read More
Florence Drummond: A voice to be heard
Florence Drummond is determined to build connections and create conversations that showcase Indigenous involvement in the mining sector Articulate and ambitious, Florence Drummond is passionate about what she is doing and where she is going, but she already knows what she is most proud of. ‘Creating this platform to give visibility and voice to Indigenous people. Full stop,’ she says, and there is no missing the certainty in her voice. ‘This platform’ is Indigenous Women in Mining Read More
October 2019
Current challenges and opportunities for the minerals industry
This article is based on a distinguished lecture delivered at an AusIMM Melbourne Branch lunch in June 2019 The greatest challenge our industry faces today is the growing public antipathy to mining projects, exacerbated by events such as tailings dam failures and facilitated by social media.  This challenge can be overcome by changing the way we operate through technical innovation and through better two-way communication with our community. We can accelerate the process of Read More
October 2019
Country snapshot: Russia
Spanning 11 time zones and two continents, Russia has an impressive endowment of natural resources and is a major player in the global sector Following the disbandment of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR or Soviet Union) in 1991, Russia as we now know it came to fruition. Previously one of 15 bodies comprising the USSR, the disintegration of the Soviet Union saw Russia become an independent state. Russia is one of few countries that are located across multiple Read More
October 2019
Tips for a future leader
As the world changes, leaders also need to adapt to ensure that they’re effective in a drastically different landscape. By being emotionally intelligent, comfortable with change, and someone who develops those around them, future leaders will drive performance in their teams.  The current work climate is changing at a rapid pace. Over the past five years, we have seen an increase in automation and technological implementation, which is altering the way we work in dramatic ways. Read More
October 2019
Forecasts of a lithium ‘glut’ are far from the truth
There has been much talk around an apparent 'oversupply' of lithium, including at the recent Diggers and Dealers forum in Kalgoorlie. Here, veteran Australian lithium expert Adrian Griffin puts this talk into context. Many equity market and lithium industry analysts have seized on recent statistics for lithium supply and demand as indicative of long-term market trends. They see the rapid increase in hard-rock production, combined with a slower-than-anticipated uptake of electric Read More
October 2019
A proactive approach to maintaining social licence
This article is a summary of a presentation delivered at the AusIMM Social Licence to Operate Forum in Melbourne, May 2019 The current social licence paradigm Social licence used to apply only to the mining and oil and gas sectors, but now plays a pivotal role across a large number of industries: banking, health and aged care, live animal exports, agriculture, tobacco, sugar, palm oil, gambling, technology and social media, pharmaceutical, infrastructure and transport.  There Read More
October 2019
Educating the next generation of geoscientists
Following on from its successful NExUS graduate program, the University of Adelaide is looking to expand its offering to Honours students studying mineral geosciences  Since 2016, the University of Adelaide has had a national presence in the delivery of graduate level coursework in mineral exploration through its National Exploration Undercover School, or NExUS. The three-week NExUS summer school program is well regarded by industry, providing high-level training in mineral Read More
Mining industry set for a more challenging tomorrow
The 'easy stuff' is long gone. What does that mean for the industry's future? Is there a new norm in mining? That is the question being raised as the commodities cycle takes another turn. To get a sense of the answer, we need to look closely at the challenges and complexities facing new and ongoing mining projects and operations in a changing resources industry landscape. Technical challenges Several large-scale surface mines are nearing the end of their economic life, and with Read More
August 2019
Our global membership
Experiences from AusIMM members living and working across the globe The AusIMM is internationally recognised and our members live and work all over the world, reflecting the global nature of the modern sector. In this special feature, we asked some of our international members to recount their experiences. These stories highlight the diverse opportunities on offer for talented resources professionals.  Rosalyn Wullandhary MAusIMM, Geologist, Harita Mineral Jakarta, Read More
Foundations for the future: stability and sustainability for the long term at Olympic Dam
This article was originally a presentation delivered at the Copper to the World Conference in Adelaide, July 2019. It has been edited for publication on the AusIMM Bulletin website. Many resources professionals today share a common belief: that the future depends on us embracing change and new technology in a relentless pursuit of innovation. At BHP, we know that these are the keys to making our operations at Olympic Dam and around the world safer, more productive, more inclusive, Read More
August 2019
The path to autonomous mineral processing operations
Autonomous technology is being deployed across the resources sector. A new type of technology, based on proven techniques, looks to bring the benefits of AI to processing plants. Automating mineral processing operations can increase safety, optimise performance, improve system reliability and help to detect problems early. In mining, autonomous technology is now applied to haul trucks, trains, drill rigs, drone-based monitoring and other simple systems, but not yet to processing plants. Read More
August 2019
Skills needed for digital mines
Digitalised mines need specific professional skill sets that are more familiar for a tech company than a traditional mining corporation. This article highlights key capabilities needed for an effective, efficient digital mine.  In the last decade, with the advance of digital technology and big-data hype, there have been many discussions on how to digitalise a mine, and more mining companies have started to transform their business by adopting and investing in digital capabilities. Read More
August 2019
To maintain growth, Australia’s mining companies must adapt
By reading between the lines, Australia’s mining sector can learn a lot from the latest results from the world’s Top 40 mining companies. Growth and profitability can only be maintained by adapting to stakeholder expectations. The saying ‘All that glitters is not gold’ derives from a play written more than 400 years ago, but for the mining industry it still rings true in 2019. William Shakespeare’s point in The Merchant of Venice was that appearances can be deceiving and that is Read More
June 2019
The past, present and future of exploration funding
Most of the discoveries of the last 20 years have been stock market-funded. But is the model sustainable, and is there a better way? Exploration is essential to the mining industry – if you don’t find, you can’t mine. Aside from the necessity for exploration, discoveries of mineral deposits can also generate immense wealth, so there is ample incentive to explore.  Even so, exploration is costly and risky, which makes funding for exploration a specialist endeavour. It makes sense Read More
June 2019
Country snapshot: Finland
Perched at the extremes of Northern Europe, Finland is continually contributing to the resources industry and fast becoming a force in many aspects of modern life. Known as one of the five traditional Nordic countries and located in the north of Europe, Finland is home to over 5 500 000 people. The primary language spoken is Finnish, with the second most common being Swedish.  Finland is one of the countries best to view the famous Aurora Borealis from, with the Northern Read More
June 2019
Creating mentally healthy workplaces in the resources sector
Both individuals and organisations can benefit if a preventative and proactive approach towards good mental health is taken Mental health practices and procedures in the resources industry are under the microscope. There is growing public awareness and scrutiny on organisations in the sector to provide psychologically healthy workplaces for their workers. In particular, fly-in, fly-out (FIFO) work has drawn the attention of regulatory bodies around Australia. So how are FIFO and broader Read More
June 2019
Seven tips to ensure you’re always upskilling
Constant upskilling is the new norm for professionals hoping to stay relevant in an increasingly digitised world Hays has recently published a series of articles on staying relevant in the fourth industrial revolution, characterised by increased digitalisation and automation in workplaces. This article explores some ways to keep yourself at the growing edge of your professional career. Our recent survey of 951 employers found 77 per cent are more likely to shortlist a qualified Read More
August 2019
Walking the talk – St Barbara’s Bob Vassie
St Barbara’s MD and CEO Bob Vassie is no stranger to hard work, and through his dynamic lead-by-example style, the company is well-poised to continue its remarkable resurgence. Bob Vassie describes himself as lucky. Born in Otago and growing up in Invercargill, he had an idyllic childhood in ‘small town New Zealand’. He was born into a loving family and he feels privileged to have had an excellent education. Crucially, he crossed paths with the mining industry at a young age, setting Read More
June 2019
Creating a high-performance culture
Laura Tyler believes firmly in the importance of culture. 'It is the keystone for high performance,' she says. Without it, everything else falls away.' Over the course of her career, people and culture have always been at the forefront for Laura Tyler, Asset President of BHP’s Olympic Dam mine and the global company’s Chief Geoscientist. Her degrees in geoscience and engineering have led to her combined role and allowed her to lead and nurture a wide range of resources Read More
Profile: Sandeep Biswas – building trust and respect through action
One of Australia's leading mining company executives, Sandeep Biswas, says getting social licence right is just one of the issues the industry must address for greater success in the future. In a world where scrutiny of mining operations is higher than ever before, Sandeep Biswas, MD and CEO of Newcrest Mining, says there has been a dramatic rise in questions about social licence. ‘[Social licence] is business critical. Expectations have changed dramatically since I started work, in Read More
April 2019
The miner and his gold: a modern fable
Is the industry missing out on unearthing buried treasure by hoarding their data? In 1999, former CEO of Goldcorp Rob McEwen attended a lecture at Massachusetts Institute of Technology about the benefits of employing open source software (Afuah, 2009). Inspired by this framework and the value created by open collaboration, McEwen realised the significant potential for applying this concept in the mining industry. Finding new exploration targets presents a key resources sector Read More
April 2019
AusIMM research reveals challenges for women in mining
AusIMM's latest research shows that despite a shrinking pay gap and more women participating in the industry, there is still a way to go before real equality is achieved A new national women in mining survey conducted by AusIMM has showcased the challenging experiences of women employed in the modern resources industry. The data, launched as part of AusIMM’s International Women’s Day Series in Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth dictated that although women’s participation in the industry is Read More
April 2019
Tailings management: learnings and good practice
The devastating failure of the tailings dam at Vale's Córrego do Feijão mine site in Brazil brings into shocking focus a major risk of mining that remains inadequately addressed by many mining companies Tailings dam facilities – large surface impoundments of pulverised rock, water and processing chemicals – present some of the most common and most high-stakes risks to workers, communities and environments in the vicinity of mine sites. Facilities are potentially prone to seepage, which Read More
April 2019
Safety: our most vital resource
As professionals, we all have a responsibility to be safety leaders and to foster a safe workplace for every worker in the resources sector. In the resources sector, leaders have a vital role to play when it comes to making workplaces healthy and safe. And when it comes to safety, leaders exist at all levels of an organisation – and they wield a powerful influence on an organisation’s overall safety culture.  Ensuring employers provide a safe workplace for their people is a big part Read More
April 2019
Seven considerations for aspiring directors
Taking a board role can enhance your career but before becoming a director it's important to fully understand your role and responsibilities Perhaps you are approaching the apex of your executive career in resources and considering a non-executive appointment and future ‘board portfolio’. We counsel many executives in this process, particularly for ASX-listed companies. Here we suggest ‘seven Rs’ to consider before pursuing a board seat. 1. Responsibilities This might seem like an Read More
April 2019
Big miners need to look downstream to find the battery mineral gold
With changes in the energy sector occurring rapidly, Australia needs to step up our pre-processing and electrochemical manufacturing to make the most out of our world-class resources Innovation and technological change is, predictably, getting faster – but has not been anticipated by much of the traditional commodity sectors, including energy. Almost all models for future energy demand have been linear, whereas non-linear, exponential growth has always been the most probable outcome in Read More
Exploration and early engagement
Respectful and early engagement with communities that may be impacted by mining operations is crucial, even during the exploration phase Mineral exploration presents many challenges and opportunities for building company value. In an increasingly complex world, different skills are needed to ensure exploration remains viable. While applying good geoscience is critical for targeting, it is also necessary that access to ground is maintained and that programs are executed efficiently. Read More
February 2019
The AusIMM Awards 2019
Recognising and celebrating professional excellence The AusIMM Awards have been recognising contributions to the Institute and professional excellence in the resources sector for more than 80 years. First awarded in 1935, AusIMM Awards celebrate outstanding contributions to best practice professionalism. The awards help to promote and raise the overall standard of professional practice and send a clear message to our communities that we are committed to the highest standards. All AusIMM Read More
February 2019
What time is it on the recruitment clock?
A specialist mining recruiter's opinion of where we sit in the mining cycle, and some observations on the current state of play Many readers of the Bulletin are longstanding resources professionals who have seen the ups and downs of at least one boom and bust. Most of us have lived through the last decade and recall only too well the deep and debilitating effects of the recent savage downturn. Most recall – perhaps with a wry smile – the heady excesses of the last boom. The excesses of the Read More
February 2019
Profile: Melanie McCarthy – investing in frontline management
Melanie McCarthy understands the benefits of investing in people for the prosperity of both the business and the community  Eight years ago, Mandalay Resources invested in executive coaching for its Costerfield leadership team – Melanie McCarthy was one of the decision makers and one of the beneficiaries. Named 2018’s Exceptional Woman in Australian Resources at the Women in Resources National Awards, Melanie is general manager for Mandalay’s gold–antimony mine near Heathcote, 126 km Read More
February 2019
Minimising future water management liabilities in mining operations
Terence Jeyaretnam discusses mine closures through mistakes he's seen in the past and what can be done in the future for water management during operations and post-closure  I have reviewed many mine closure and rehabilitation plans for operations in Australia and internationally in a wide range of environments across most commodities. Despite this, I continue to be surprised by how often significant deficiencies are noted in the planning and provisioning of closure and post-closure water Read More
February 2019
How might we attract more professionals to a career in the resources sector?
We asked some of our resource professionals: how might we attract more professionals to a career in the resources sector? Ben Fitzsimmons MAusIMM Media and Community, Hume Coal [caption id="attachment_14902" align="alignleft" width="150"] Ben Fitzsimmons[/caption] The mining industry is a marvellously challenging industry that provides professionals the opportunity to travel the globe and manage some of the world’s largest machinery in and amongst amazing feats of engineering and design. Read More
February 2019
Leading with integrity
Perspectives on leadership, integrity and ethics - reflecting on a 38-year career in the mining industry As one progresses through one’s career, the ability to positively influence people to achieve a great outcome becomes progressively more important. This influencing is not confined to direct reports but also includes peers, senior personnel and other industry stakeholders. Here, I will discuss what integrity is, how it fits into the leadership tool kit (particularly in the Australian Read More
December 2018
Engineering the future: inspiring and educating the next generation of problem-solvers
Elizabeth Croft says Australia and its resources sector face a potential crisis in future development if we don't start more young people on the path to engineering Talk to Elizabeth Croft for just five minutes and you will be left in no doubt: she is passionate. Born and bred in Vancouver, Elizabeth took over as Dean of Engineering at Melbourne’s Monash University in January 2018. She’s passionate about her profession, her new job and her new city – and she’s equally passionate about the Read More
December 2018
AusIMM and AICD collaborate on the Director Pipeline Program
In a joint partnership with the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD), AusIMM was thrilled to offer three scholarships to senior female executive AusIMM members from Western Australia to participate in the Director Pipeline Program in 2018. The Director Pipeline Program (DPP), an exclusive program to Western Australia, delivers a series of events, workshops, and education programs that help senior professional women expand their networks, develop their skills and raise their Read More
December 2018
Why did AusIMM update its brand?
An overview of AusIMM's more modern look Our Future Directions strategy is a blueprint for AusIMM to be more contemporary and have a stronger external brand. Our recent brand update, launched at IMARC 2018, allows AusIMM to leverage off our existing brand equity while at the same time establishing a more modern look for the Institute. All major corporations update their brand in order to remain relevant. The logo of the global petrochemical company Shell first appeared in 1900 as a black Read More
December 2018
The difference between big and small companies: much more than just size
While small companies can be nimble, they face unique challenges that, if improperly managed, can affect the rest of the industry There are some obvious differences between large companies and small ones. Remarks such as, ‘you have to wash your own cup’ or ‘there’s no HR team around here’ imply a difference based on availability of resources and size of bureaucracy. These differences are easy to spot, and from a strategic point of view, are superficial. In our industry, the largest Read More
December 2018
The Resources 2030 report: sustainability perspective
The Resources 2030 Taskforce report, released in August 2018, considers environmental and social risks and opportunities in making its recommendations to the Australian Government for a more competitive resources sector. But best practice, mega trends, and community, regulator and investor perspectives may present challenges in how these recommendations are implemented. The Resources 2030 Taskforce, established by the Federal Government in March 2018, released its report titled Australian Read More
December 2018
Risks and rewards of pit lakes
Closure guidance has increasingly recognised the risks and opportunities surrounding pit lakes, and these should be considered in closure planning  Pit lakes have long been a legacy of large-scale open cut mining. However, pit lake closure plans have historically been developed (if at all) very late in the life of the mine. At this late stage, remediation and reuse options are more limited. This lack of early and thorough consideration in closure planning has resulted in thousands of Read More
December 2018
The Somerville Collection – a unique insight into Australia’s geological history
AusIMM is a founding member of the Somerville Collection company and continues to support the collection to this day, helping preserve Australia's geological past The Somerville Collection, located within the Australian Fossil and Minerals Museum in Bathurst, News South Wales, is one of the largest and most internationally renowned mineral collections in the world. The collection is that of Professor Warren Somerville AM, a lifetime collector and trader of minerals from across Read More
Drones in mining – the new possible
Drones are becoming more and more popular in mining, but using them in smart and novel ways will make this technology truly transformative For many of us working in or with the minerals industry, the benefits of drones seem self-evident. The technology offers tremendous gains in terms of safety, cost efficiency and, above all, the ability to do far more with our limited time. Drones can also be used in almost every aspect of the mining value chain, from discovery through to production, ore Read More
October 2018
Dr Alan Finkel on Australia’s resources industry: ‘It’s more than just rocks in the ground’
Australia's Chief Scientist, Alan Finkel, sees inherent value in Australia's mining industry and believes innovation in mining is greatly undervalued. Alan Finkel is an endlessly curious man. As Australia’s Chief Scientist, it’s a quality that one would expect he have, but it’s a curiosity that delves deeper than most people’s desire to know the unknown. During his speech at an AusIMM Women in Mining event in July, he discussed the genuine fascination he has with mining, comparing his Read More
October 2018
The evolving nature of social licence to operate
Social licence to operate has historically been a key risk for the mining and metals sector, but it is evolving into a strategic risk that is much more complex to identify and manage Boardrooms across Australia are debating the notion of social licence to operate. The debate has opened up due to two key factors: 1. The Royal Commission on banking, and the resulting reports by regulators, have highlighted the need for increased focus on corporate social licence to operate. 2. The draft Read More
October 2018
Leadership and emotional intelligence
The secret to developing leaders of the future starts with a timeless scientific concept, emotional intelligence (EQ). This article outlines strategies for developing EQ competence. What is the future of work? When we ask this question, we generally think of artificial intelligence and obsolete degrees, but when I think of the future of work, I think about developing leaders of the future. Leaders that are highly capable of leading teams remotely, flexibly and innovatively. How are we Read More
October 2018
Has there been a leader who has inspired you in your career, and what did you learn from them?
We asked four AusIMM professionals: has there been a leader who has inspired you in your career, and what did you learn from them? The leader that has inspired me the most is Denise Goldsworthy. She is my boss at Alternate Futures, a company she set up to facilitate collaboration and innovation in the mining industry that has strong credibility linking government, industry and research groups in order to connect solutions to problems. Denise is inspirational because she is extremely Read More
October 2018
The power of local level agreements
Local level agreements between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and miners have helped create global opportunities As part of the AusIMM’s recognition and celebration of the importance of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to Australia’s resources industry, this article offers a perspective on the global significance of 30 years of agreement making between resource developers and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in Australia. Local level agreements Read More
Left to right: Prof. Stephen Smith, Ms Erica Smyth AC, Dr Chris Pigram, Ms Adrienne Rourke, Mr Will Robinson, Ms Joyce McCulloch, Mayor, Mount Isa City Council, Mr Andrew Cripps (taskforce chair), Prof. Marcia Langton, Mr Mike Henry, Mr Paul Flynn.
October 2018
Securing the future of our resources sector
Australia's Resources 2030 Taskforce is focused on how Australia can build community support and a wider understanding of the value of the resources sector. At the start of August, Australia’s Resources 2030 Taskforce presented its findings and recommendations to the Minister for Resources and Northern Australia, Matt Canavan. The ten-member taskforce, appointed by Minister Canavan in late March 2018, recommended bold reforms to ensure Australia’s resources sector remains globally Read More
The quiet boom
There is great optimism surrounding the industry, with increased profits, revenue and spending. How might mining companies take advantage of the current climate, and ensure that the mistakes of the past boom aren't repeated? Back in 2010, when the most recent mining boom ended, many observers wondered whether the industry had squandered its good fortune, and if the good times were over for the foreseeable future. PwC’s Mine 2018 report reveals that we may in fact be at the cusp of a second Read More
August 2018
People first: mining across the globe
Stephen McIntosh has worked around the world on numerous projects, and now oversees growth and innovation at Rio Tinto from exploration through to closure. He firmly believes that all missing success comes back to a focus on people From the highlands of Papua New Guinea to the heart of Europe, Rio Tinto’s Stephen McIntosh has worked in almost 50 countries throughout his 31-year tenure with the group. ‘I’ve been privileged to work in so many countries during my 31 years with Rio Tinto and Read More
August 2018
Investing in new professionals for success
Thoughts on how we can prepare our new professionals to be leaders of tomorrow I have been working in mining since I moved to Australia and have been acquainted with mining even before then through my alma mater, the Colorado School of Mines. I have been privileged in my opportunities since graduating by being involved in a wide variety of industries such as technology, start-ups, medicine, research and mining. Mining has always been perceived as a more traditional or conservative industry Read More
August 2018
What are some technologies, innovations or practices from other industries that we could be using?
We asked four resources professionals: what are some technologies, innovations or practices from other industries that we could be using in mining and metallurgy? Sara Prendergast MAusIMM Senior Manager – Performance Reporting APA, Orica Australia; and Director, AusIMM For our industry to harness and leverage the value available from new technologies and innovations we need to capture the talent and imagination of exceptional people and have the support of our communities. This will require Read More
August 2018
From start to finish – improving sustainable development aspects of life-of-mine practices
This article is abridged from the concluding paper in the recent AusIMM Spectrum 24 From Start to Finish: A Life-of-Mine Perspective. The full publication is available from ausimm.com/library In this article, we have reviewed historical and current life-of-mine (LOM) practices from a socioeconomic and environmental perspective. We describe what leading LOM practice aspires to be and discuss lessons learned to improve future LOM practice. Historical practice The last 30 years have seen Read More
August 2018
Educating the next generation of geologists
This is an edited extract of a keynote presentation originally delivered at the Tenth International Mining Geology Conference in 2017 Australia has a long tradition of providing high-quality geoscience programs to prepare graduates for entry to the workforce or undertake further studies. Employment opportunities in the future will be significantly different from those of the past and educational pathways need to provide for this. Geoscience graduates must have highly transferable generic Read More
August 2018
In situ recovery – a move towards ‘keyhole mining’
Acquiring the minerals needed for modern society requires significant investment and effort. In situ recovery is one approach that could reduce or eliminate the inherent expensive challenges of conventional processing Human demand for travel; metal structures and their accompanying heating, cooling and lighting; and the luxury (or rather, necessity) of mobile phones and laptops has contributed to the estimated consumption of almost half a million kilograms of rocks, metals, and fuels per Read More
Intellectual property – strategic use and management in the resources sector
A strong IP strategy is a vital part of any business, especially in the resources sector where innovation has historically provided key competitive advantages All businesses face tough competition in the marketplace, and the number of competitors and the intensity of that competition only increase over time. In the resources sector, which is often characterised by volatile commodity prices, for a business to sustain a competitive advantage it must have a thorough understanding of its Read More
June 2018
‘Never give up’: How Julie Shuttleworth turned her passion into a career
Julie Shuttleworth’s interest in rocks started very early, and ultimately led her to the top of one of the world’s major iron ore producers Talk to Julie Shuttleworth, deputy CEO of the Fortescue Metals Group, and it’s easy to understand why she has done so well. Her passion and enthusiasm for her work are palpable. That positivity and drive started in childhood, as did the focus that helped take her to the top of her chosen field. Born and bred in Pemberton, in the southwest corner Read More
June 2018
The mining industry is making a comeback
Newport Consulting’s 2017-18 Mining Business Outlook Report shows that confidence has returned, and investment will follow with the right government policy support Since the first Mining Business Outlook Report was launched in 2010, Newport Consulting has spent eight years mapping the latest trends, challenges and opportunities impacting Australia’s mining sector. Each year, we have canvassed the views of leading mining executives and stakeholders to gather first-hand insights on the peaks Read More
June 2018
Exploration activity is increasing, and with it greed and speculation
Investor appetite for risk-taking emerged in 2017, and consequently exploration is being funded again. The investment market is also ascribing substantial value to exploration opportunities, which is crucial for the future, as the share market now funds a large proportion of exploration through junior explorers. The availability of exploration funding is an excellent barometer of the state of the mining cycle. The investment market reaction to exploration results and concepts also Read More
June 2018
Understanding your brain in a crisis
When confronted with an emergency, the human brain can behave in a way that seems rational but may in fact be disastrous. Understanding our thought processes and brain behaviour can help us make positive decisions in a crisis. The mining industry can be remarkably hazardous. Understanding how the brain operates during a crisis can help leaders to think more clearly and to effectively manage emergencies – including mining emergencies. In this article, I outline some ideas about managing Read More
June 2018
What do professional standards mean to you, and why are they important?
‘AusIMM professional standards have been an integral part of my working life as an employee and, later in my career, as a consultant.’ Annette Pocock MAusIMM Policy Advisor, New Zealand Petroleum & Minerals, Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment – New Zealand Professional standards mean acting in a way that exemplifies high moral and ethical standards. In my opinion, professional standards are defined by the professional knowledge, skill and behaviour expected of AusIMM Read More
June 2018
Flexible frontiers for the future of mining
How energy and resources sector organisations can expand and contract their borders to benefit from external talent, skills and opportunities Many energy and resources sector businesses are finding it challenging to set their borders to meet staff resourcing needs in the face of significant technological transformation. Traditional ‘hard’ organisational borders rely on sourcing and hiring smart tech talent or upskilling existing employees internally. The alternative is softer, Read More
June 2018
The importance of iron ore to Western Australia’s economy
As the world’s largest iron ore producer, Western Australia’s iron ore industry is a critical part of the state’s economy and contributes to regional development Western Australia (WA) is the world’s largest iron ore producer, generating 33 per cent of global production in 2017, and dominating production from Australia (less than one per cent of global iron ore production comes from other Australian states and territories; Figure 1). WA has 145 iron ore mine sites within 24 mining Read More
If I knew then what I know now: reflections on a career in resources
An examination of personal growth and leadership This article is based on a keynote address I gave at the AusIMM New Leaders’ Conference last year. In preparation for my keynote, I went back to the paper I presented at the inaugural Young Professionals Conference (hosted by the AusIMM North West Queensland Branch) in October 1995. The theme that year was ‘Developing the Future’, and as a young professional myself, I presented a paper called ‘Women in the Workplace at Northparkes’ about Read More
April 2018
Expertise and excellence: the Arvi Parbo story
Sir Arvi Parbo’s remarkable career spans the second half of the twentieth century and took him from post-war Germany to the start of a new millennium in Australia Sir Arvi Parbo arrived in Australia as a young immigrant in 1949, escaping the uncertainty of post-war Europe. In the decades afterwards, his determination to learn and passion for mining saw him climb the ranks to senior positions within Western Mining Corporation (WMC), where he worked for 43 years. Under his direction as Read More
April 2018
Looking to the future of the resources sector
Mining has come a long way since 1893, and there are even more challenges and exciting opportunities ahead The resources industry has changed greatly over the last 125 years. While many principles remain the same, current developments provide exciting opportunities for resources professionals. Given the high demand for minerals and metals for many technologies and building materials, our industry is vital for modern society, but there is much work to be done. The measure of success will Read More
April 2018
Calm, considered and committed: Sam Walsh’s approach to leadership
Sam Walsh led some of the deepest cuts ever seen in corporate Australia. But the gently spoken mining executive is anything but fearsome. Leading one of the world’s largest metal and mining companies through major culture and business changes isn’t a task for the faint-hearted. But then again, Sam Walsh isn’t your average chief executive. The well-respected and quietly spoken West Australian father of three took the task in his stride without batting an eyelid. Walsh led Rio Tinto Read More
April 2018
A brief history of the AusIMM
Celebrating 125 years of heritage with a look back at the story of the AusIMM and its remarkable people The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy (AusIMM) formally dates its beginning as 4 April, 1893 when, as the Australasian Institute of Mining Engineers (AIME) it held its first General or Ordinary Meeting in Adelaide. (For simplicity the Institute will be referred to as ‘the AusIMM’ throughout this article.) This followed various prior meetings at which decisions to set up Read More
April 2018
Addressing the gender pay gap in mining
The Workplace Gender Equality Agency’s 2016-17 data shows that mining remains the most male-dominated industry in Australia, with gender pay gaps across all occupations and most management levels. But the industry has been working hard to change that It’s a challenging path to the top for women who want to work in the resources sector. Across the industry, women are far more likely to be working in clerical or administrative roles than calling the shots from the C-suite. Only 2.8 per Read More
April 2018
How strategic community investment can deliver better outcomes
Collective impact programs could be a credible way for companies to secure a licence to operate amidst growing pressure to demonstrate better social outcomes Over the past decade, managing a social licence to operate has consistently featured in EY’s top ten mining and metals industry risk reports. Despite the importance of community investment within the resources sector, examples of progress have been underwhelming. Based on the current evidence, a strategic approach using a collective Read More
Modern collaboration apps for resources professionals
There are a number of collaboration apps that can make managing and working on large and remote projects – such as those found in the resources sector – much easier. What are some of the features to look out for, and the common pitfalls to avoid? What are modern collaboration apps? Modern collaboration applications (apps) are various types of software intended to bring a team onto the same page and make it easy to tell whether they are on schedule or not. History provides us with Read More
February 2018
Leigh Clifford’s spectacular journey
Leigh Clifford spent nearly 40 years working for Rio Tinto, and the lessons he learned in mining have carried across into the boardroom at one of the world’s most iconic airlines The name Leigh Clifford is inextricably linked with Australia’s mining industry and leviathan miner Rio Tinto, even though it’s been ten years since Clifford hung up his pick and shovel and retired as Rio’s chief executive. Clifford spent 37 years with Rio Tinto Group, the last seven as CEO. But it’s what he did Read More
February 2018
Groundwater insight – a critical resource
Although groundwater is an essential component of the production cycle at most mines in Australia, demonstrating the viability of a water source is often seen as a ‘regulatory tick box’ rather than a critical factor in the feasibility of a project At least one quarter of mining projects in Australia encounter some type of groundwater challenge. As a mining hydrogeologist, I’ve seen projects go under as a result of having too much or too little water, or water that is contaminated. In Read More
February 2018
The boom in mining start-ups
This graphical overview shows that there is a growing trend in the opening of new mining start-up companies Similar to the growth seen in other industries in the 21st century, the mining industry is experiencing a growing trend in the number of start-up companies in various mining-related operations. At the beginning of 2018 there are nearly 200 start-ups operating in the sector, and these companies are located all over the world. What is a start-up? The Oxford Dictionary defines a Read More
February 2018
Getting more from your drone: superpowers for onsite and offsite decision-makers
Drone technology is providing mining companies with an array of benefits that can improve health and safety, collaboration and productivity While the mining industry is often accused of being slow to adopt a new technology, that can’t be said about drones. Mines are using drones more frequently and across a wider range of applications than many other industries. From managing inventory and monitoring road construction, to tracking strip campaigns and tailings dams, drone-based survey Read More
February 2018
The future of mining and renewables
Examining the emerging landscape of renewables and how the Australian resources industry is set to transition towards sustainability The mining sector currently contributes around eight per cent to Australia’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and employs around two per cent of the workforce. It is also Australia’s largest export sector, representing over 50 per cent of Australia’s total export earnings with iron ore, coal and liquefied natural gas representing the largest exports by value. Read More
February 2018
A brief reflection on geoscience ethics codes
Ethics codes are an important tool that help reassure the public of the expertise and integrity of professionals. While the AusIMM represents resources professionals from all disciplines, this article looks at the importance of ethics codes for geoscientists. Professional organisations representing geoscientists, including those founded in the 19th century like AusIMM, generally have membership requirements that include some stated amount of professional education and perhaps experience. Read More
February 2018
Ten warning signs when monitoring your processing equipment
An overview of common indicators that highlight potential areas for improvement in processing equipment monitoring and maintenance The efficiency and reliability of your processing equipment is inseparable from your bottom line. Regardless of the size of your mining operation, the inevitable and excessive costs incurred from equipment that hasn’t been properly maintained can seriously threaten your balance sheet, as well as the health and safety of workers and the surrounding Read More
Creating the future of mining
Michelle Ash, Chief Innovation Officer of Barrick Gold, says the mining industry can’t afford to wait for change ‘Disruption is coming. We can’t stop it, but we can embrace it. The best way to know the future is to create it. This is the challenge for our industry. Let’s create the future, let’s drive it and let’s not be disrupted.’ These were the closing words from Michelle Ash at her Austmine 2017 presentation earlier this year. Michelle’s talk proved to be one of the event’s most Read More
December 2017
Can a focus on productivity deliver tangible results for mining?
Productivity is regaining ground as a popular business strategy to enhance value after being sidelined in favour of revenue maximisation during the commodity price boom. But what does productivity actually mean? Is it more than just a buzzword? And is it the answer to the industry’s post-boom blues? The productivity challenge in mining Productivity is commonly defined as a ratio between output volume and the volume of inputs (OECD, nd) or a measure of using resources efficiently to Read More
December 2017
Unlocking Australia’s resource potential in areas of cover: an industry plan
In order for Australia to maintain its position as a world leader in mining, improving the success of finding major deposits under cover will be required. AMIRA International’s roadmap outlines some key ways Australia can meet the current exploration challenges. In Australia, not only are the average head grades decreasing, but the remaining ore is also becoming more complex and requires more energy and water to process. More importantly, we are simply not finding enough high-quality ore Read More
December 2017
Nutrition for resources professionals
Occupational health and safety, fatigue management and site efficiency are arguably three of the most important aspects of any mine site. But where does nutrition fit into the picture? After touring a mine site in Tasmania in late 2016, I noticed the nutrition posters on the crib room walls were more than 15 years out of date. In contrast, I noticed the up to date and informative displays in the toilets about dehydration, posters on the walls about personal protective equipment and many Read More
December 2017
Rewriting the rule book – geology organisational design
An overview of a new approach to geology department organisation with a focus on building an engaged and capable team Tropicana Gold Mine (TGM) is owned by AngloGold Ashanti Australia Ltd (AGAA) (70 per cent and manager) and Joint Venture Partner Independence Group NL (30 per cent) and is a large-scale open pit operation in Western Australia. The geology department at TGM is a multidiscipline team of some 65 personnel, reaching 72 at its peak. The geology department consists of the Read More
December 2017
Getting the best out of autonomous mining fleets
Many mining companies are seeking to address their productivity gap by introducing autonomous mining fleets. The variable results highlight that operating an autonomous mining fleet is not as easy as it seems. The mining industry is suffering from falling commodity prices, aging mines, increasing strip ratios, longer haul distances and tightening cash flows. Inevitably, this raises the focus on productivity – getting more from the assets, spending less on them and running them Read More
December 2017
Achieving and sustaining productivity benefits through a mine to mill approach
The mining industry is facing low metal prices, lower grade and complex deposits that are difficult to exploit, as well as growing challenges associated with the cost and supply of energy and water. To make these projects economically viable, improved resource efficiency is needed. Mine to mill optimisation aims to develop and implement integrated mining and processing strategies that are tailored for a specific operation. The objective is to maximise production with the available assets Read More
October 2017
‘Stop. Think … Act’ – PwC’s Mine 2017   report
PwC’s latest mining report looks at the performance of the Top 40 companies during 2016, and discusses what might be in store for the future Recovering from 2015’s race to the bottom, the world’s Top 40 mining companies paused and drew breath in 2016. Rapidly rising commodity prices promised a way forward and the valuations of the Top 40 responded. But valuations aside, there is little to suggest that the Top 40 made any substantial advances throughout the year, according to PwC’s Read More
October 2017
Mining in the cloud: disruptive innovation
How will the next generation of mining software be delivered? Mining has historically been a conservative industry – slow to adopt new technology, and slow to change. The more recent mining super cycle exit has seen an enormous push (through necessity) to squeeze every last piece of productivity out of incumbent assets. But there is only so far that this approach can go, and incremental productivity gain is not going to move the needle now. The mining industry is ripe for disruption, Read More
October 2017
Exploring the future of work in the resources sector
Examining the factors that will shape the resources sector of tomorrow, and how mining companies and professionals might evolve to meet the opportunities of the new environment While we cannot rely on the past to predict the future of the resources sector, it is helpful to consider trends in the journey so far. A useful starting question that those who make their living in the Australian mining sector might ask is: why do the Swedes lead us in the global equipment sector? Australia, Read More
October 2017
What’s the most effective method for getting a job in the mining industry?
Mining industry recruitment has changed in the past decade, and will likely continue to do so. This article examines the way resources professionals look for work. There are a number of preconceived ideas about the best method for finding a job in the mining industry. Most of us, if asked, would probably recommend whatever has worked for us in the past. But your experience is not necessarily the same as the next person. What works for you, at your level or in your discipline, might Read More
October 2017
National Safe Work Month: building safety culture and awareness
By sharing safety knowledge and experience, professionals in the resources sector can have a positive impact on the safety culture of their own workplaces October is National Safe Work Month and Safe Work Australia has launched a national campaign to improve public awareness of work safety and promote the development of strong safety culture in workplaces across all industries (Safe Work Australia, 2017). The theme for the campaign is ‘sharing safety knowledge and experience benefits Read More
October 2017
Drilling advances in underground coal
Advancements in drilling technology have the potential to deliver large economic gains to the mining industry As innovation improves most areas of the mining process, drilling technology is not immune. With the development of GPS, wireless communications, sensors, real-time data and autonomous equipment, drilling technology is evolving to meet the needs of the industry. Mining3 continues to provide a range of capabilities in drilling technologies that are further enhanced by our Read More
August 2017
How predictive analytics is the future of asset optimisation in mining
A predictive maintenance strategy has 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
Disrupting the mining productivity challenge
Digital technology can be a key enabler of productivity and allow mining companies to execute more effective operational strategies During the super cycle, productivity fell to its lowest rate in more than 30 years, with the sector focusing on production at any cost due to an unprecedented boom in commodity prices. Over this period, many miners observed a decline in labour, capital and material (resource) productivity as they chased increasing production volumes. Interestingly, an Read More
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
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
June 2017
Can connected mining be used to avert the next mining crash?
How companies can navigate the difficult phases of the mining cycle and create sustainable profitability 'Connected mining’ is gaining momentum in the mining industry. Many of the major players are either implementing it, or talking about it. It sounds simple, but finding a sustainable and systematic way of connecting the face to the market and responding appropriately has proven elusive to many. Successfully implementing connected mining could represent a revolution in the way a mining Read More
June 2017
Innovation: State of Play – iron ore insights
This is an excerpt from a paper to be presented at Iron Ore 2017, which will be held in Perth from 24-26 July. Visit the Iron Ore 2017 website for more details on the conference program and registration. Innovation: State of Play was initiated three years ago by VCI in partnership with the University of Western Australia. The ambition was to create a ‘think tank’ type platform to support industry discussion on performance in terms of innovation at a strategic level, what needs to change Read More
June 2017
Iron ore classification and the future of resource development
The AusIMM and CSIRO are co-hosting the Iron Ore 2017 conference, which is being held in Perth from 24-26 July. Visit the Iron Ore 2017 website for more details on the conference program and registration. The ability to accurately predict the downstream processing performance of any given orebody is crucial for resource evaluation, development decision-making, and maximising output. However, without an ore textural classification scheme and an appropriately characterised resource, Read More
June 2017
Keeping pace with the cycle – from ‘on plan’ construction to ‘efficient’ production
Instilling the skills and operational mindset to meet the new production-focused environment in the mining industry Switching gears through the mining super cycle requires new thinking and skills As mining companies move from the construction phase to the production phase of the commodity super cycle, management teams must ensure their organisations’ skills and focus are geared toward delivering the right outcomes. From 2003 to 2015, most mining companies focused on the expansion of Read More
June 2017
President’s Editorial: Embedding inclusion in our work practices
Following a period of strong economic headwinds, there are signs that the mining industry may be returning to a period of growth. According to employment website SEEK, the number of mining and resources roles advertised in the three months to April is 70 per cent higher than the same period in 2016. IPOs are also up on the previous year, and EY has reported a rebound in purchases of heavy mining equipment. As cautious optimism returns to our industry, there will likewise be greater Read More
June 2017
How miners can improve water management
Water management is one of the most significant issues facing mining companies – what is the best approach to ensure sustainable and efficient operations? Contemporary water management is much more than simply complying with regulatory requirements. Miners need to take a new approach based on sustainable water management practices to improve efficiency and earn a social licence to operate. The need for this is readily apparent, when considering that water security is one of the Read More
WIMnet Conference Grant recipient report – Minesafe International Conference 2017
Early in May I had the opportunity to attend the Minesafe International 2017 conference in Perth, Western Australia. [caption id="attachment_10843" align="alignleft" width="246"] Carole James.[/caption] The conference is designed to ensure that health and safety within the minerals industry remains a key component of the industry, with an ever-increasing position of awareness. I was honoured to receive an AusIMM Women in Mining Network (AusIMM WIMnet) Award to enable my attendance at Read More
April 2017
Lessons from history for miners
Efficiency, excellence and growth – challenges of the evolving demands of the mining cycle Miners face two challenges that, when combined, make them unique against other businesses: uncontrollable revenue volatility over time due to commodity price fluctuation finite lives of mining assets. As a result, there is potential for substantial swings in the value of a mining business and, consequently, there is typically greater volatility for miners’ share prices than for companies Read More
April 2017
The mining industry disrupted
How ‘industry 4.0’ will fundamentally change the global mining industry I would like to challenge you to suspend your disbelief and come on a journey to explore what might be possible for a disrupted mining industry. To explore a world where we will see the operating cost of producing metals halve, capital intensity halve, safety approaching the zero harm goal that the industry strives for and all this with a drastically reduced environmental footprint while delivering enhanced social Read More
April 2017
Reflections on professional ethics
It is vital to understand your obligations as a professional, both informally as personal moral codes and as part of formalised codes of ethics Professional ethics has been an interest of mine throughout my career, beginning with my first job as a geologist with the US Securities and Exchange Commission where the investigation of mining and oil and gas frauds was one of my duties. The American Institute of Professional Geologists (AIPG) focuses on professional issues, including ethics, Read More
April 2017
Joanne Farrell discusses health and safety best practice in the minerals industry
Joanne Farrell is Group Executive Health, Safety, and Environment (HSE) and Managing Director Australia at Rio Tinto, and was a keynote speaker at the 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 has Read More
April 2017
Country Snapshot: Mongolia
Despite some progress, bureaucratic obstacles continue to prevent further development of Mongolia’s significant mineral resources An underdeveloped minerals sector with significant potential Mongolia is a mineral-rich country in Central Asia that boasts significant proven deposits of gold, copper, iron ore and coal. As of January 2010, 1130 mineral deposits and 7668 mineral occurrences encompassing 80 different commodities had been discovered and recorded in Mongolia. These deposits Read More
April 2017
Managing major emergencies in coalmines
A discussion of emergency management systems in relation to underground coalmines This is an excerpt from a paper that was presented at Minesafe International 2017, which was held in Perth from 1-2 May.  Underground coalmine emergencies can be complex events that are difficult to analyse and respond to in a timely manner. This is due to the isolated environment in which they may occur, their potentially violent nature that may result in damage to mine infrastructure and installed Read More
April 2017
Risk – why do people do what they do?
If company leaders are to better understand and manage risk, a systematic shift in mindset is required to dissolve the traditionally procedural mindset of mining engineers Firstly, I need to declare that I am not an academic. Nor have I studied any of the social sciences or human behavioral fields such as psychology. Nor have I gone down the MBA route. I am a dyed-in-the-wool mining engineer with a master’s degree in engineering science. But what I do have, and what I want to share, is 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
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
Innovation in mineral processing – distinguished past and uncertain future
This article is an extract from the 2016 AusIMM G D Delprat Distinguished Lecture The need for innovation The mining industry has a reputation for being slow to innovate. In mineral processing at least, nothing can be further from the truth. Here are just some of the innovations that have occurred in my lifetime: huge increases in equipment scale, carbon-in-pulp/carbon-in-leach, new gravity concentration devices (eg Knelson, Falcon, InLine Pressure Jig and Kelsey jig), high pressure 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
December 2016
The contribution of mining to the emerging circular economy
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 China. In Europe, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation sees its mission as accelerating the transition from a linear take-make-dispose economic model to a circular model that is restorative and regenerative by design and aims to keep products, components and materials at their highest utility and Read More
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
December 2016
Local level agreement making
Partnering beyond stakeholders, from across the table to around the table Stable local level agreements with land-connected people throughout the life-of-mine are fundamental to successful resource development. How this process is facilitated and executed sets the tone of the relationship with stakeholders, host communities and regulators throughout the life of the project and beyond. In developing a Native Title Mining Agreement for the Carrapateena project, OZ Minerals and the Kokatha Read More
October 2016
Where is the most attractive for investment?
An analysis of barriers to exploration investment A well-developed mining sector can produce great economic and community benefits. This leads many countries and subnational jurisdictions around the world to eagerly seek out mining investment. But as with all private sector activities, mining is competitive and investment capital is mobile. To encourage a robust development of the mining sector, governments must put forth attractive and competitive policies. Where is the most attractive Read More
October 2016
Decision-making under adversity
Learning how the brain interprets and processes stressful situations can help the decision-making process in high-pressure environments We initially became interested in decision-making as a topic because of insights and evidence from the gender diversity debate. Organisations with both women and men on the leadership team in relatively equal numbers perform better on a range of measures including profitability, productivity, risk, customer satisfaction and staff engagement. And the Read More
October 2016
Mine closure – are we using the right drivers?
Moving beyond environmental liability to achieve sustainable social and economic outcomes Mining and resource projects are a temporary land use developed and operated under regulated tenure or licencing that must be relinquished once resource exploitation is complete. Generally relinquishment is regulated for safety, environmental protection and remediation of operational impacts. But under contemporary corporate social responsibility frameworks, many mining companies are now also seeking Read More
October 2016
High-energy blasting delivers mining and milling improvements at Mt Rawdon
A case study that explores the potential for increased mill throughout using high-energy explosives The Vistis™ Bulk System is a range of high-energy bulk explosives for use in hard rock metal mines. Vistis produces over three-and-a-half times the detonation pressure and triple the relative bulk strength of ANFO. The energy levels generated, and the speed with which they are released, delivers optimal fragmentation that reduces overall operating costs either through pattern expansion, Read More
October 2016
Western Australia’s emerging uranium industry
An overview of the uranium projects currently being planned and assessed in Western Australia There are currently three mines producing uranium in Australia: the Ranger mine in the Northern Territory and the Olympic Dam and Four Mile operations in South Australia. In Western Australia, there is an emerging uranium industry with several projects well-positioned to commence when market conditions are favourable. In late 2008, a ban on uranium mining in WA was removed by a newly elected Read More
October 2016
Solving poverty through market linkages
Establishing a positive and lasting relationship between mine companies and communities through economic empowerment As a result of a livelihood program supported by Base Titanium Ltd, a Kenyan farmer is able to make more money, feed their family and support their children in school. In return, by including the community – giving them purpose and providing them the tools to get themselves out of poverty – a mining company’s community development program will be more likely to succeed. Read More
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
The AusIMM Professional Employment Survey 2016
An insight into the current state of professional employment in the minerals sector In June 2016, the AusIMM conducted its annual Professional Employment Survey. The survey, which is open to all AusIMM members, received a strong response, with 2472 professionals participating in this year’s survey. The survey uses the AusIMM’s unique position as the leading body for minerals industry professionals in Australasia to gain an insight into the trends and patterns currently affecting Read More
October 2016
What are appropriate rehabilitation standards?
Defining achievable rehabilitation standards will ensure that the legacy from mine sites will not become a burden on stakeholders Mine rehabilitation has been covered by an increasing number of newspaper articles in recent years showing that the topic is one of growing public concern (eg Slezak and Robertson, 2016). These articles suggest there is a growing sense of unease amongst the public that the industry is not taking rehabilitation as seriously as it should. Recent legislation such Read More
August 2016
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
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
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
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
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
Upgrades, modernisations and expansions: where will the expertise, capability and skills come from in the future?
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 uptake of new graduates and the uncertainty in predicting future capital expenditure programs and requirements. Combine this with a reluctance of Read More
June 2016
Putting miners’ working capital to work
Poor management of working capital can lead to companies leaving cash in the ground Sustained low commodity prices, and a focus shifting from capital project delivery to moving down the cost curve, have driven a sharp focus on cutting costs and improving productivity in the mining sector. However, many mining companies and individual sites are missing out on ‘easy money’ because of poor working capital management. A recent EY report, Make working capital work for you: Unlocking cash in the Read More
iron ore reclaimers
August 2016
Productivity in mining operations: reversing the downward trend
A new methodology for measuring mining productivity shows the industry's performance is stabilising, and points the way to improving productivity more effectively The surge in demand for metals and minerals during the 2000s quickly translated into much higher prices and profitability for mining companies. Boosting production volumes became the industry’s top priority, and it had considerable success, expanding global production of certain major commodities by 50 per cent or more over the Read More
June 2016
Break-even is broken
Why the use of the break-even cut-off grade is flawed, and how it poses a fundamental problem for the mining industry Sometimes what we are taught is not right anymore (if it ever was) The lead author’s father was taught at school that the ‘nucleus of an atom was the smallest indivisible piece of matter’. It was then an undisputable truth. We now know of course about quarks, muons and neutrinos. In this article, we invite the reader to reconsider what they were taught on how break-even Read More
June 2016
The critical role of the mining technology professional
As automation and technology become embedded in mining, the mining technology professional has come of age In 2016, commodity prices have collapsed and the industry is facing tough times. Within mining companies, a fierce internal battle for capital is underway. Australian mining is desperately seeking ways to re-invent itself and remain cost competitive. The ‘third wave’ of cost cutting is now biting deeply (Figure 1), and mining is increasingly turning to re-engineering for solutions, Read More
June 2016
Achieving operational stability through technology
As mining company profits continue to be affected by the uncertainty in the global economy, the industry is on a quest for innovation to help increase productivity The mining industry tends to be slow in adopting new technology, but given the state of the industry, change is paramount in order to survive. By employing new technologies used by other industries, mining companies can better manage their businesses and their bottom line. We can learn from the way other industries use Read More
June 2016
Project evaluation – a non-executive director’s perspective
The following is an excerpt from a keynote presentation delivered at Project Evaluation 2016 Adelaide. The full paper is available in the conference proceedings, which can be purchased via the AusIMM shop. Projects are approved for development by a company’s board of directors. Generally speaking, boards compriseboth executives and non-executives, led by a non-executive chair. Projects are promoted and championed by the executive directors, led by the CEO. The non-executives are Read More
June 2016
Reducing costs without compromising orebody value
Geoscientists have an important role to play in helping companies improve the bottom line and add value to projects The previous 12-18 months in the mining industry have seen explorers and producers adjust to sliding market prices. Explorers have shifted their focus from high growth to capital preservation, while producers have changed their focus from being the biggest producer to being on the low end of the cost curve. At the moment, cash is king for explorers, and ‘C1 costs’ are the Read More
June 2016
Modern mining geology
An overview of the modern mine geologists' role, and a discussion of professional best practice and pitfalls to avoid Although mining has occurred for thousands of years, geology as a profession did not have wide recognition until the 1780s. Up until the 1920s geology tended to be an academic pursuit. The identification and discovery of mineral deposits was by professionals primarily trained as engineers or surveyors (Park, 1906). As well as the need to find and mine ores more Read More
June 2016
Inside Australia’s gender pay gap
New evidence highlights a number of opportunities to target and reduce gender pay gaps across Australian organisations, including those in the minerals sector Despite major advances for women in both educational attainment and workforce participation, the gender pay gap remains a permanent fixture of the Australian labour market, with the full-time gender pay gap remaining at or around 20 per cent for more than two decades. The pay gap currently stands at around 18 per cent, with women Read More
June 2016
Is Myanmar about to experience an exploration boom?
Production, potential and geopolitics in an important new minerals search space Myanmar (Burma) has recently appeared on the radar following the media coverage of its crucial November 2015 elections. This unprecedented democratic process resulted in a stunning victory for Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League of Democracy (NLD) party, and led to The Economist naming Myanmar as its ‘most favoured nation’ for 2016 (‘Most Favoured Nation’, 2015). [caption id="attachment_7414" Read More
April 2016
The social psychology of risk, safety and leadership maturity
Dr Robert Long argues that social arrangements can affect decision-making and judgement in the workplace An introduction to social psychology Why do people do what they do? Why do they do things that don’t seem to make sense? Why do people change what they do depending on social context? How do social arrangements influence judgment and decision-making? How does risk make sense? These are the questions that preoccupy the social psychology of risk. Social psychology is the study of human Read More
June 2016
Uranium and the case for reform
Daniel Zavattiero, keynote speaker at the upcoming AusIMM International Uranium Conference 2016, says that while the South Australian Royal Commission shined a spotlight on opportunities in the nuclear fuel cycle, a simple reform will help boost the well-established Australian uranium industry’s prospects in the global market. Australia’s uranium industry continues to offer exciting possibilities for jobs and export revenue for Australia in the decades ahead. In 2015, economists Read More
April 2016
Commodity prices and their continuing impact on the professional skills pipeline
Trends in enrolment data for minerals degrees point to a need for higher education reforms to ensure the continued development of highly skilled professionals Mining relies on a highly skilled workforce that allows industry to innovate readily. The Australian minerals industry employs a diverse professional workforce, including engineers, environmental scientists, geologists, geophysicists, mathematicians and financial professionals. The industry directly employs approximately 200 000 Read More
Professional ethics affects everybody – what does it mean to you?
At AusIMM Congress 2016, which was held in Cairns in May, I chaired a very important workshop on professional ethics. We all face ethical challenges on a regular basis. As professionals, and AusIMM members, we all play an important role as leaders both in our work environment and in our daily lives. The Congress workshop enabled delegates to share personal experiences and to discuss the approaches they have used – or might consider using – to deal with ethical challenges. Professional Read More
Managing your risks as a consultant
Understanding your risk as a consultant, and finding an appropriate insurance cover, is vital to ensure any liability is minimised The transition from an employee to an independent consultant can be an exciting one: new opportunities, independence, and control over your working future. But it can also be a daunting change that brings new risks, signing contracts, personal accountability and personal liability. A range of questions arise: Can I be sued? Do I fully understand what Read More
April 2016
Developing professional skills for graduates
A recent program at the University of Wollongong has allowed students of minerals-related degrees to improve their employability skills and gain confidence when looking for their first jobs Studying at university, no matter what subject, can be a stressful experience for those who aren’t well prepared. I can guarantee that every graduate at some point struggled with their degree, whether it be an exam or assignment. However, in the current minerals industry climate in Australia, the real Read More
April 2016
Evolution of sublevel caving – safety improvement through technology
An overview of a wireless blasting system for use in sublevel caving operations that significantly reduces the risk posed to mine workers Sublevel cave (SLC) mining is breaking ore-bearing rock through blasting and drawing it out under the waste rock that is caving into the void created. SLC mines have the most intensive blasting process of all the mining methods, as generally one or two rings are fired at a time at each drawpoint in order to maximise recovery and reduce dilution. The Read More
President’s opening speech to Congress 2016
The following is an excerpt from AusIMM President Rex Berthelsen’s FAusIMM(CP) opening speech to Congress 2016. The AusIMM exists to develop professionalism within the mining and minerals industries. The Institute’s strategic plan has a headline statement that we all need to understand. It says: The AusIMM develops careers and communities, we do this by providing leadership and opportunities for minerals professionals. This is a theme that we will come back to time and again during Read More
April 2016
An outlook on the rare earth elements mining industry
How learning from the mistakes of the past can contribute to building a strong global rare earth elements supply chain The rare earth elements (REEs) are a group of 16 chemical elements consisting of the 15 lathanides plus yttrium. The term ‘rare earths’ is misleading, as it does not refer to their abundance in the earth’s crust, but to the inconspicuous appearance of the minerals from which they were originally isolated. Almost all REEs in the earth’s crust are more abundant than gold, Read More
April 2016
Weathering the perfect storm: how mining consultants can survive the downturn
The past few years have created a difficult environment for many consulting firms, but the skills of consultants are still vital to the industry The last three years have been pretty rough for the mining industry; and when mining companies sneeze, the mining services sector catches a cold. But what happens to mining consultants when the mining companies have chronic pneumonia and it lasts for three years with no end in sight? Let me share the Snowden experience and how we have Read More
April 2016
Divergent thinking – the value-add proposition in mining consulting
For owners of mineral assets, efficient and cost-effective project development is critical for achieving value. Unfortunately, too many executive teams are taking shortcuts in their development projects to conserve money and time, thereby doing exactly the opposite and exposing their shareholders to lost opportunities. Most project participants can tell you that the study process for a project moves from scoping study (SS) to prefeasibility study (PFS) to definitive feasibility study Read More
April 2016
Integrated mine planning
Examining the importance of designing the metallurgical plant within the context of the broader optimisation of the mining project The mine planning process includes the mining, processing, infrastructure, environmental and social aspects of an operation. It begins with a sequence of increasingly-detailed feasibility studies and continues throughout the life of the mine through several long-term and short-term planning processes. At various points in the sequence of mining and processing Read More
February 2016
The mining sector’s response to climate change
How reducing climate risk exposure can improve productivity The mining sector is a significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions as well as being exposed to risks associated with the impacts of climate change. According to Australia’s most recent National Greenhouse Inventory (for 2013), the industry is responsible for 11.6 per cent of Australia’s direct greenhouse gas emissions (EY analysis of Commonwealth of Australia, 2015a). At the same time, climate change poses risks to Read More
February 2016
Is there a future boom amongst the gloom?
Gold, copper and a robust pipeline of deals provided the highlights in a tough 2015 for Australia's mid-tier miners The last financial year left little to celebrate for Australia’s 50 largest ASX-listed miners with market capitalisations of less than $5 billion. Falling commodity prices coupled with poor investor confidence saw the combined underlying market cap of the mid-tier 50 decline by 16 per cent, with revenues, gross margins and cash flows all falling away. But there were a Read More
Managing expectations – from buyer beware to buyer be aware
Between 2012 and 2015 the resources industry experienced a downturn after a period of strong, sustained growth. As the commodity/investment cycle continues, the industry is again experiencing capital austerity in the wake of projects 'failing' (not delivering to expectations). In response, the industry has experienced changes in investment behaviour (slowing of investment), the burden of increased regulatory environment and an increasing reliance on the regulatory framework and reporting Read More
February 2016
The future of finance in mining
How the development of financial resources can improve the bottom line The economic slowdown has moved the focus of operational strategy from ‘getting tonnes out the gate’ to extracting high-margin ore. In times of high commodity prices, a focus on production can deliver the desired fiscal results and largely did for Australian operations. During this period, operational mining professionals have not been required to be sensitive to elements of cost versus financial return, which has Read More
February 2016
Social risk as an agent of change
Social risk in the mining sector is a legitimate business risk that must be managed strategically Mining has always been a risky business. From the gamble of finding a mineable deposit to the challenges of building and operating projects in inhospitable regions, there is risk every step of the way. In the late 20th century, mining companies became adept at managing the triumvirate of traditional risk (legal, financial and operating), building expertise to mitigate threats to project Read More
February 2016
Managing the risks posed by climate change
Integrating climate change resilience into mine and sustainability management The mining sector finds itself subject to increasing levels of scrutiny regarding the management of climate change issues by an expanding stakeholder group, including federal and state governments, local communities, consumers, investors, non-government organisations and the general public. The sustainability risks that mining companies need to manage are wide-ranging, largely as a result of the sector’s core Read More
February 2016
Exploration – never a better time to partner
Examining collaboration, technology and social licence to dispel exploration myths and increase success Seventy years ago geologist Harry Evans sailed a three metre dinghy with a temperamental outboard motor around 300 kilometres of rivers and coastline in western Cape York.  Harry’s discovery of the bauxite brilliance we now know as Weipa followed a ‘failed’ oil exploration campaign some months earlier. It is another reminder that a commitment to exploration can provide welcome and Read More
February 2016
The importance of context
How mass balancing and a structured data management approach can add greater meaning to laboratory and plant data In the mining sector, it’s essential that plant engineers and managers have confidence in the accuracy of the information they receive, especially from the plant laboratory. Recent improvements in technology and a greater understanding of the ways that data can be used means that technical staff are starting to get more out of their laboratory information; however, at many Read More
December 2015
Mental wellbeing in the mining industry
Examining the latest in government policy and professional best practice In recent years, a revolution in thinking about health and safety in the workplace has been quietly underway. Health and safety has had a traditional focus on physical safety risks and occupational disease, but  mental and emotional wellbeing has entered workplace health and safety discussions and programs. Mental health is an issue that is now attracting serious attention, and not before time. This article draws Read More
December 2015
Mining cycles and the end of the bust
Following more than four years of negative performance, investment sentiment towards miners is showing signs of turning - laying the foundations for the next boom Investment in the mining sector is cyclical, and sector valuation fluctuations between boom and bust are evident over time in share prices and index prices for miners (Figure 1). Mining is a capital intensive business, so the cycle is driven by liquidity – the availability of investment funding. Liquidity is the product of Read More
December 2015
Improving project value through effective cost management
The importance of developing appropriate frameworks to ensure project success Managing costs is critical to the operation of any major company, particularly operating mining businesses. This article outlines a structured approach for making major cost decisions to improve project value, determining which items should be kept and those that should be eliminated. While revenues can be difficult to control due to the underlying geology of the deposit or the market determined price, costs are Read More
December 2015
Integrating social and environmental aspects in project design
Reconsidering the way community, environmental and social issues are incorporated into planning The mining industry has faced strong opposition to major projects in recent years. Several significant projects have been delayed or ‘shelved’ due to community, environmental or social impact opposition. Responsible companies have made efforts to involve social and environmental specialists in project reviews and project design toll-gating processes. However, by the time of their involvement, Read More
December 2015
Ore Reserve estimates and changes in commodity price – a survival guide
Understanding price fluctuations and implementing best practice in Reserve estimation Volatile commodity prices present particular challenges for Competent Persons and companies and their obligations to keep the market informed. One of the hot-topics from the recent Monograph 30 Roadshows was the influence of recent swings in commodity price. In extreme cases people asked ‘does the Ore Reserve estimate still exist?’ and we heard a paper from Michael Creech where he presented a study of Read More
December 2015
High-speed video – an essential blasting tool
The use of high-speed video for the research, development and monitoring of the performance of blasting procedures is a well-proven but under utilised practice The practice of recording blasts for quality control purposes has been conducted for several decades. However, at the low frame rates of a standard video camera, essential data is frequently missed as it occurs when the shutter is closed between frames. The recent development of low-cost, easy-to-use high-speed digital cameras and Read More
December 2015
Geotechnical considerations for Resource and Reserve estimation
Why geotechnical design should be seen as an integral part of the overall mine design During last year’s Monograph 30 Roadshow a number of questions were raised regarding the need for additional guidance in connection with geotechnical input into Resource and Reserve estimations. In this respect this article advances some of the concepts given in Sullivan’s 2014 paper ‘The influence of geotechnical and groundwater factors on Ore Reserve estimation’ (Sullivan, 2014). It is important to Read More
October 2015
Tackling the crisis in mineral exploration
Reevaluating exploration methods will help increase value and recapture success A new report by The Boston Consulting Group (BCG), entitled Tackling the Crisis in Mineral Exploration, has highlighted the genuine crisis on the lack of discoveries in the sector. The problem is worldwide, but its effects are acute in Australia where 80 per cent of the continent is under cover and new discoveries are more difficult. If exploration performance cannot be improved, Australia will be forced to Read More
October 2015
The AusIMM Professional Employment Survey 2015
An analysis of professional employment in the minerals sector In June 2015 the AusIMM invited all members to complete its annual professional employment survey. There were 2266 respondents to this year’s survey, representing 26 per cent of those invited. The survey aims to provide an insight into the current state of the minerals professional employment market, as well as the future outlook. The 2015 survey summary results show: The unemployment rate is 16.2 per cent for Read More
October 2015
Social capital in the life-of-mine
Exploring the complex and changing relationship between minerals companies, communities and the environment Resource prices hang over Australia’s national economy like a mercurial CEO – sometimes inspiring unrestrained confidence and risk-taking, sometimes driving downsizing and restructuring, and sometimes instilling thoughts about how to diversify business. Perhaps understandably, the public/policy debate tends to focus on the short-term impacts of market prices. But behind the Read More
October 2015
The new ethics of resource extraction
Why the threat of being labelled 'unethical' has the potential to harm the industry We have all noticed and perhaps participated in the rise of so-called ‘ethical investment funds’, which provide an optional avenue for encouragement of particular sectors, like solar cells, and avoidance of others, such as tobacco and ‘conflict diamonds’ and, of course, national corruption. In the view of some, genetic modification of crops, intensive commercial aquaculture and medical drug design are also Read More
Closeup shot of a man writing
August 2015
Expanding career skills education to offset the boom/bust cycle
Expanding what is taught to students is one way to address the harsh cyclicity of the industry As succinctly expressed by the AusIMM President Rex Berthelsen in the February AusIMM Bulletin, AusIMM builds careers and communities. This objective is laudable; however, as all who have been involved in the minerals industry are aware, the industry is inherently cyclical, a result of repeated exceedances in demand followed by exceedances in supply. These cycles have given the industry a Read More
mining equipment
August 2015
Wealth from waste
Depicting metals flows in the Australian economy and uncovering opportunities for higher value from recycling Australia’s rich stocks of mineral resources have been the source of national wealth and competitive advantage for successive generations. Having the luxury of an abundance of natural resources and a comparatively low population has enabled Australia to be a global leader of resources in the international market. While Australia will export mineral resources well into the future, Read More
August 2015
Changing attitudes towards uranium in Australia
The South Australian Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission highlights an opportunity for new policy and industry developments In May, a series of community meetings were held in Adelaide’s universities by the South Australian Royal Commission into nuclear fuel cycle potential. By all accounts (and there don’t appear to be many in the media), these meetings were very civil. A straw poll at one suggested that half to two-thirds of the audience supported the consideration of fuel cycle Read More
mining bulldozer
August 2015
Innovation and opportunity in the minerals sector
Australian METS companies should take advantage of new technologies and collaborative partnerships The Mining Equipment, Technology and Services (METS) industry is critical to the Australian economy. METS companies generate three per cent of gross value added as a percentage of the Australian economy (this is compared to the mining industry which contributes approximately ten per cent gross value added). Whilst mining employs around 250 000 people, the METS industry is responsible for over Read More
June 2015
Community engagement and professional ethics
Methods for achieving best practice in social impact assessment In the early days of my career (around 20 years ago) when working on one of my first major project developments, and prior to any formal discussion around social licence, a prudent project manager said to me: ‘Good corporate citizenship used to be about providing jobs and contributing time and sponsorships. This definition has now changed. Inside our gates it’s no longer another world, what goes on inside our operations is of Read More
Ava stephens 1
A bright future for a driven young woman
It is not often that you come across a young individual with the list of achievements, maturity and humility that Ava Stephens has. When you consider that Ava has had a childhood that would not propel many of us into the success story that she is writing for herself, her existence is even more of a rarity. In her eyes, Ava is a just a geology student – a country girl with a desire to see the world and lucky enough to be a 2015 AusIMM Education Endowment Fund Scholarship recipient. This Read More
aerial view of iron ore reclaimer
June 2015
The productivity challenge
Minerals professionals are central to identifying and delivering sustainable improvements in the industry Productivity is the word on everyone’s lips in the minerals sector at the moment. EY’s most recent annual Business risks facing mining and metals publication ranks productivity improvement as the most important industry risk factor (EY, 2014). The call for urgent action to improve productivity in the light of changed market conditions for mineral commodities is clear: ‘Companies need Read More
June 2015
The need for innovation in exploration and mining
New approaches to familiar practices are critical for long-term success Mineral exploration and mining are challenging businesses but are rarely considered as innovative by people outside the industry. However, both exploration and mining have a long tradition of innovation. Over the past 50 years, major step changes in exploration have resulted from radical advances in our understanding of ore forming processes; the development of new sophisticated airborne, ground and downhole Read More
June 2015
The power of scenario planning
Smart thinking about possible futures can allow the industry to be prepared for uncertainty We live in a world that is increasingly interconnected and rapidly changing. New business models and disruptive technologies are creating new opportunities and threatening established businesses at a faster rate than ever. This is being driven in part by the globalisation of science and technology, as well as investment in research and development around the world. Emerging technologies are Read More
What should be in the Mineral Processing curriculum?
Global study of pathways to the mineral processing profession The question of who can call themselves a metallurgist or a mineral process engineer can spark some very interesting and occasionally heated discussions.  We are a little different from our colleagues in mining engineering and geology, most of whom achieve their professional status via university programs called ‘mining engineering’ or ‘geology’. We all know a metallurgist or mineral processor when we see one, yet we frequently Read More
What makes a great engineer?
Behaviours and attributes that lead to success I have been working with mining, geological and geotechnical engineers for the past 45 years and have learned a great deal from them. At first, as an engineering trainee, I was taught to immediately admit a mistake and bring it to a more senior engineer’s attention. We all make mistakes from time to time – just fix them early. My reports were reviewed and corrected for spelling, format and grammar, a process that I resented at first, but it Read More
April 2015
Our global membership
Experiences from AusIMM members living and working in countries across the world The AusIMM is an internationally recognised entity and has members all over the world, reflecting the diverse and global nature of mining today. In this special feature, we ask some of our members living overseas to recount their experiences of being an AusIMM member working internationally. We provide a cross-section of the many different roles our members hold, and show the possibilities on offer for Read More
photo of open pit gold mine, New Zealand
April 2015
Kiwi mining conundrum
Why New Zealand mineral regulation needs an overhaul For mining companies sitting on the Australian side of the Tasman Sea, New Zealand must appear to be a dazzling opportunity, just waiting to be plucked. Just over 2000 km away is a country with one of the biggest exclusive economic zones in the world, endowing it significant natural resources. By the World Bank’s estimates the country ranks eighth out of 120 countries in natural capital per capita, a position that is only bettered by the Read More
photo of a mining operation in Mongolia
April 2015
Resource nationalism
Why the industry needs to remain vigilant despite retreating resource nationalism Resource nationalism rocketed to mainstream prominence in Australia in 2010 with the (failed) proposed Resources Super Profits Tax (RSPT). With the commodity price boom well under way, and governments around the world struggling with diminishing revenue and reduced corporate activity due to the global financial crisis, attention focused on the mining sector as an easy target.  The RSPT led the way for Read More
Interview with Stefanie Loader, Chair of NSW Minerals Council
AusIMM Board Member and WIMnet NSW Committee member Pamela Naidoo-Ameglio caught up with Stefanie Loader who was recently appointed as Chair of the NSW Minerals Council. She had some great comments on the industry and her experiences so we thought we would share! What initially attracted you to the mining industry? Was it a field you have always wanted to explore or was there a specific event or occurrence that inspired you to join it? I never really considered joining the mining Read More
April 2015
Health and Safety – an essential element of ethical practice
The importance of health and safety as part of members' obligations under the AusIMM Code of Ethics The minerals professions cover a diverse range of activities, and involve work that has an equally diverse health and safety risk profile. We all have health and safety obligations. We are responsible for ourselves, our colleagues and – for those with leadership responsibilities – our staff. We are also responsible for protecting the health and safety of the community at large, not just Read More
photo of Daniel Travers presenting at 2015 awards night
Introducing the AusIMM Education Endowment Fund scholarship winners
It is with great pleasure every year that the Education Endowment Fund (EEF) Board of Trustees award the annual EEF scholarships, including the prestigious Sir Frank Espie/Rio Tinto Leadership Award and EEF Premium Scholarships. The application process starts in August the previous year and students from all over Australia who are studying a minerals related degree are encouraged to apply. The core theme of the EEF program is to identify future industry leaders amongst our student Read More
April 2015
Managing risk by doing good experiments
Why metallurgists need to know some statistics The problem My wife has spent her career in the pharmaceutical industry. Pharmaceutical manufacturers conduct clinical trials in which new medicines are tested on volunteers to evaluate efficacy and safety. These trials are conducted according to strict statistical protocols that are internationally mandated by government regulation. Why? Because experience has shown that statistically designed trials give the best bang for the considerable Read More
February 2015
The diversity challenge
Greater workforce diversity offers opportunities the minerals industry is yet to fully embrace When I took the role of AusIMM President in 2011, many people were focused on the fact that it was the first time a woman had held this role. I said at the time that almost every professional will come to a place in their career or will experience an event where they are the first person to do something. While it is a good feeling to achieve that in your career it doesn’t define you and it Read More
February 2015
The making of the modern minerals professional
The minerals industry needs universities to help break down the silos between traditional professional disciplines. Role of the AusIMM The Australian minerals industry and the tertiary education sector have changed profoundly in the ten years since I had the honour of being President of the AusIMM, which is foremost a professional institute, rather than a scientific society, academy or industry association. This article reflects this perspective and represents my own opinions at this time Read More
February 2015
Should Australia sign up for the EITI?
An Australian pilot of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative highlights the benefits of good global practice. Should Australia sign-up for the EITI? This was the question put to a multi-stakeholder group (MSG) of Australian government, industry and civil society members tasked with piloting the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI). The group recently concluded their work and answered the question. They reported options for the EITI to go ahead based on their Read More
February 2015
Survival rates and financial performance of Australian junior explorers
Exploration is a high-risk/high-reward venture where understanding the value proposition is key It almost goes without saying that the junior exploration and mining companies are currently doing it ‘tough’. But it is also equally fair to say that these companies are made of even ‘tougher’ stuff. Putting aside the current difficulties associated with the business cycle, exploration is an inherently high risk/high reward activity. The following article quantifies all three of these Read More
photo of mountainous alumbrera landscape
Our global membership – continued
More stories from AusIMM members living and working overseas Read part one here. Richard Dewhirst FAusIMM(CP) Consultant, Limehurst Current location: Perth Previous locations: Brazil, Chile, Peru, Colombia Having started my career in Africa and worked in China, I was no stranger to different cultures, but from 2009-2014 I had the good fortune to work in South America. I went there to help establish SKM’s business with Vale in Brazil, and was subsequently based out of Santiago, Read More
June 2016
From the archives: The mining industry and the national economy of Australia (1943)
The following Presidential Address is an excerpt from the Proceedings of the AusIMM No 133, 1944. The address was delivered in Melbourne on 11 December 1943. Your Excellency, on behalf of the Council of the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy, and, indeed, on behalf of everyone present, I extend to you a welcome, and our thanks for your gracious acceptance of the invitation to be here today and, later on, to present honorary membership certificates. I also welcome the several Read More
June 2016
Gender diversity – great success, but how do we continue on the same trajectory?
Mentoring, competitive advantage and eliminating unconscious bias are key While recently hosting an office morning tea in honour of International Women’s Day, I reflected on the gender balance progress in the Australian male-dominated industries in which I have worked over the course of my career. Acknowledgement of this progress is not always given the time or recognition that it deserves, as the tendency can be to focus on existing disparity rather than on the successes or the solutions Read More
February 2019
The future of innovation in mining
We have no idea what new challenges the future holds, but we do know the resources sector needs to be prepared for innovation According to 1950s sci-fi predictions, we should have colonised the Moon by now and be driving flying cars. But we haven’t; cars don’t fly, and of all the fanciful futuristic predictions made of the era we now live in, one of the most impactful innovations to take place was almost completely unanticipated – the internet. Innovation takes place to adapt to challenges Read More