Thirteenth AusIMM Underground Operators’ Conference, Gold Coast

  • By Delia Sidea

The AusIMM held the 13th Underground Operators’ Conference on the Gold Coast between 16-18 October 2017. I was successful in receiving a grant from WIMnet that covered the registration fee for the conference. The conference celebrated 40 years since its inception in 1977 in Queenstown.

This was the first conference at which I had the opportunity to present a paper. Working in a consulting role, it is often difficult to take the extra step and write a paper from a good project. Although there are many worthwhile projects, work pressures and client confidentiality often prevent the extra step.

The paper I presented is titled ‘The CSA ventilation upgrade – geotechnical challenges and learnings’ and was jointly written with Tim Brettell, the Senior LOM Planning Engineer from CSA Mine. Tim and I collaborated very closely over the 18-month duration of the project. The paper writing and presentation took a further 12 months of collaboration following the completion of the project. We both greatly underestimated the amount of time that it would take. We had many long phone calls and many more drafts of the paper circulating between Cobar and Hobart.

Although the process took a long time, I found it a good learning experience and would encourage other members of WIMnet to consider writing and presenting at future AusIMM conferences. There are many benefits in shared learnings and it is hoped that mining companies recognise the professional development opportunities producing and presenting a paper offers to women.

The conference presented a fantastic networking opportunities with a wide range of mining professionals and service providers to the mining industry. It was a chance to listen to keynote addresses from mining industry leaders, such as Dale Elphinstone, and many great papers along a diverse range of topics affecting the underground mining industry.

Just under ten per cent of the attendees at the conference were women and five presenters out of 42. Given these statistics, it was great to see the best presentation of a paper at the conference being awarded to Jade Bullock from Glencore’s Mount Isa Copper operation.

Thanks to WIMnet for providing the sponsorship to attend this conference.


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