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Australian contract mining – an operator’s perspective of the future


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Author M Adams and J Luxford


*This is an abstract only. No full
paper is available for this abstract.*

This presentation reviews Australian contract mining history and the issues driving the rise of contractors since the 1980s. These range from using contractors as ‘lean miners’ under sustained contract pressures, to develop and operate mines; through contractors being used as swing development; to small companies using the contractor’s capital rather than their own (as their open pits are now underground) and as a way of outsourcing human resources issues.

The current scope of contract mining in each sector of the Australian mining industry is reviewed, along with the evolution of mining contracts to their current form in Australia, and the risk profiles that accompany each contracting approach.

The presentation concludes with a discussion on tender information, risk pricing and contract form, and the challenges for an owner to adequately manage and supervise a mining contractor.

It will leave the
audience with two questions for discussion:

  • What would contractors like to see done better by
    mining company clients?
  • What would mining companies like to see done better by


Adams, M and
Luxford, J, 2017. Australian contract mining – an operator’s perspective of the
future, in Proceedings 13th AusIMM Underground Operators’ Conference 2017, pp
5–6 (The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy: Melbourne).