Book review: The Minerals Consultant’s Handbook

  • By Peter McCarthy

The Minerals Consultants Handbook by John Dunlop FAusIMM(CP).

The first edition of the Minerals Consultant’s Handbook is a good resource for new consultants and contains much valuable information. The principal author has taken a difficult task of writing for a diverse group of readers and produced an important document, while he acknowledges that it can be improved with further contributions in the future.

The AusIMM Consultants Society was invited to review the book and this was done by several volunteers from the committee.

The handbook is aimed primarily at self-employed consultants rather than employees of consulting firms. It covers topics including setting up a consultancy, cashflow management, insurances, business planning, client engagement, reporting, legal matters, ethics and information technology. Extensive appendices include a minerals glossary and copies of some codes, which will require regular updating.

The review draft of the handbook contained some deficiencies including typographic, grammatical and formatting errors. However, as the book is to be released only in electronic form, corrections and updates can easily be arranged and the author has invited feedback for this purpose, which the AusIMM Consultants Society has provided. Readers should note that the sections in most need of some revision and update include the discussions of workers compensation, valuation, and AusIMM CP accreditation.

Even with these deficiencies, the book is a useful, readable reference and will be appreciated particularly by those starting out on a consulting career. Much of the advice is practical and obviously based on experience. For example, the section on billing includes advice to ensure the invoice is complete in all respects, check your own billing arithmetic, check that the invoice number and date have been updated from the previous one, check that your charge out rate is what you actually tendered with, and charge for expenses with care. This is followed by thirteen points on how to deal with late paying clients. There is much good advice in the chapter on setting up a consultancy.

First Edition published by the Mineral Industry Consultants Association, 2015. The book is available in USB stick PDF format from MICA’s registered office and costs $75 for non-MICA members. A shopping cart is planned for the website, but it is not currently available.

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