Perth Branch February Newsletter

The latest news from the Perth Branch

– Technical Meeting – Monday 11 February 2019
– Roving Report
– SAVE THE DATE – Annual Dinner 2019
– Mines Safety in Western Australia
– Newsletter Advertising Rates
– Perth Branch Committee Contacts

Technical Meeting – Monday 11 February 2019

Venue: The Celtic Club, 48 Ord St, West Perth
Speaker: John Walker – Casual Academic at Curtin University
Topic: John Walker is a casual academic at Curtin University’s School of Earth and Planetary Sciences. John graduated as a mature age student with a Post Graduate degree in Surveying and Mapping in 1989.


For the last 20 years John has lectured and tutored in various undergraduate Surveying areas. John is also a Commercial Pilot and Air Traffic Controller, following a career as a wool classer, pastoralist and engineering surveyor. John has published a book recently (2018) – “Surveying for Civil and Mine Engineers”. John will justify the direction of the book, explaining to engineers why you need surveyors, rather than teaching you how to survey.


My invitation to Australia Day celebrations at the Ambassador’s residence has just arrived in my emails.  A while since I last attended but I recall that there’s always an interesting group of attendees and very free flowing good Australian wine (plus pisco sours to keep the cultural balance) and a great opportunity to mingle with fellow Aussies, including the always entertaining and amiable Ambassador, Rob Fergusson – ever the perfect host.  Through the Embassy and organisations such as DFAT and AusCham, there are solid Australian-Chilean commercial, technical and cultural connections and of course our two nations’ dependence on mining as major contributors to our respective economies assures much common interest.

There’s always been a strong connection to Mother England as well.

Last year the Chilean Navy celebrated its 200 years of formal existence. The Brits were represented by Princess Anne, reminding us of just how long this strong bond has been around.







Admiral Thomas Cochrane


British swashbuckler Admiral Thomas Cochrane was the first commander of the Chilean navy.  A larger than life character, it was claimed that C.S. Forester’s Horatio Hornblower was based on him and he was also said to be the inspiration for Russell Crowe’s hero in “Master and Commander”.

His tombstone lies in prime position in Westminster Abbey and a wreath is laid by Chilean dignitaries’ every year at a grand ceremony. Once again, I am reminded just how much Chileans love military pageantry and opportunities to celebrate a colourful history.

2018 ended and the New Year has kicked off with two giant mergers in the world of gold mining.  Barrick got in the act first with its takeover of Randgold and then along came Newmont to mop up Goldcorp.  Barrick paid some $6 billion for Randgold and inherited a new CEO (Mark Bristow), while Newmont is reported to have paid $10 billion for Goldcorp.  Could be interesting for a few South American projects, not least for Norte Abierto, the combined Caspiche and Cerro Casale projects currently being developed in a joint venture company between Goldcorp and Barrick.  That particular project might take some horse trading to undo to the respective partners, but there should be some interesting synergies amongst other projects and mines.

 Could that yet mean that Pascua Lama might eventually get developed and what will it take for the gold price to rise to make it viable? A few new gold projects on the horizon (including GoldFields’ Salares Norte, but excluding Pascua Lama) are forecast to add a further 30 tonnes of gold production towards the end of the decade.

Could that yet mean that Pascua Lama might eventually get developed and what will it take for the gold price to rise to make it viable?

A few new gold projects on the horizon (including GoldFields’ Salares Norte, but excluding Pascua Lama) are forecast to add a further 30 tonnes of gold production towards the end of the decade.




The gold price has been edging up of late, although it still has a bit of a way to go to get back to former high levels in the mid 1,300’s as can be seen from the graph.

A real roller coaster of a trend, not unlike the overall stock market over the past scary couple of months.




On the copper front, there’s an interesting report out from the Comisión Chilena del Cobre “Investment in the Chilean Mining Industry: Portfolio of Projects, 2018-2027”. Based on data provided by COCHILCO, it points to almost 30 projects – mostly brownfield expansions – that will collectively add some 3.5 Mt copper to Chile’s output over the coming planning horizon.

And going back to the starting point of all this – Chile’s fighting history – it’s interesting to see how much territory was gained by Chile after the War of the Pacific and to note just how many of Chile’s greatest mines (Escondida; Chuquicamata, for example) are located in regions that once belonged to Perú and Bolivia to the far north of the country.

Best wishes to all as we kick off another, hopefully successful, year for our industry and all who sail in her.  Oh, and a quick reminder if you haven’t paid this year’s membership and/or kept your Professional Development log fully up-to-date, it needs doing.  I know that from bitter experience having just spent a Saturday afternoon updating mine.  Quite a chore.  Teach me to fall behind with my record keeping!

Richard F. Dewhirst   FAusIMM(CP) [email protected] (skype : richarddewhirst1): +56 9 3201 5500


Event: Perth Branch Annual Dinner 2019
Date: Thursday, 21 March 2019
Venue: Parmelia Hilton Hotel
Guest Speaker: Erica Smyth AC FTSE FAICD: Non-Executive Chairman and Director

Erica Smyth has 45 years experience in the mineral and petroleum industries, initially as a minerals exploration geologist and later in project management, government approvals, corporate affairs, community interactions and for the last 15 years as a professional company director.

She is currently the Chair of the Ministerial Advisory Boards for the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environment Management Authority (NOPSEMA) and the Defence First Principles Oversight Board as well as the Industry Advisory Board for the ARC Centre for Mine Site Restoration.

She also holds non-executive director roles at the National Energy Resources Australia Growth Centre (NERA), the MinEx CRC and the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR).

Erica is the co-founder and Chairman of the Mega Data Cluster – a WA networking group – and has recently been appointed to the WA Digital Environmental Impact Assessment working party. In the 2018 Queen’s Birthday Australian honours list she was recognised as a Companion of the Order of Australia.

To register for this event click here



ABC reporter Claire Moodie recently interviewed Chris Davies on the health issues associated with nano diesel particulate matter (nDPM) in underground mines.
It makes very interesting reading. Click here to read the full interview.


SIR No. 272: Sinkhole in open pit floor engulfs mine vehicles after collapse of backfilled stope (11 January 2019)

Link – Sinkhole in open pit floor engulfs mine vehicles after collapse of backfilled stope


MSB No. 157: Minimising dust generation during crushing, screening and conveying (18 January 2019)

Link – Minimising dust generation during crushing, screening and conveying

MSB No. 158: Inspection, testing, maintenance and use of fume Cupboards (18 January 2019)

Link – Inspection, testing, maintenance and use of fume cupboards

MSB No. 159: Preventing worker exposure to harmful gold room exhaust discharge (18 January 2019)

Link – MSB No. 159: Preventing worker exposure to harmful gold room exhaust discharge

MSB No. 160: Using excavators as rock breakers (1 February 2019)

Link – MSB No. 160: Using excavators as rock breakers




As a trail, the Technical Talks for February and March will be videoed. Please contact the branch directly ([email protected]) for details.

Chair Adrian Troy MAusIMM
Immediate Past Chair Trivindren Naidoo MAusIMM
Honorary Treasurer Rob Massard MAusIMM
Honorary Secretary Holly Bridgewater
OH&S  (IR) Dr Ivor Roberts MAusIMM
Technical Meetings Dr Ivor Roberts MAusIMM and Chris Davis FAusIMM
Roving Reporter Richard Dewhirst FAusIMM(CP)
Curtin Liaison Chris Aldrich
UWA Liaison Richard Durham MAusIMM
Murdoch Liaison Dr Gamini Senanayake MAusIMM
Conferences Chris Davis FAusIMM andSjoerd Duim and Farjad Ather
Student Chapters Liaison Dr Gamini Senanayake MAusIMM
Mentoring/ESWA Trivindren Naidoo MAusIMM
WIMWA Adrianna Skok-Muir
Editor/Secretariat Deidre Watson


Please address mail correspondence to:

Email correspondence to: [email protected]

AusIMM Perth Branch
PO Box 1369
West Perth WA 6872



AusIMM ABN 59 836 002 494

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