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Rewriting the rule book – geology organisational design


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Author B Catto and T McLeod


AngloGold Ashanti Australia’s (AGAA) Tropicana gold mine (TGM) geology department seized the rare opportunity of building a new geology department for a new operation: the philosophy, the people and the processes. Not satisfied with the status quo, or simply repeating what was familiar and already known, the vision was for an innovative, agile, multidiscipline, high performance team, capable of delivering on expectations.

To achieve this, the geology department has operationalised key components of human resource management (HRM).

This paper describes the operational design and implementation of key HRM components: job analysis, organisational design and organisational development. The benefits of this approach are presented in terms of engagement and autonomy in roles, opportunity for role variety and flexibility of the organisational structure. The result is a geology department that provides the functions of mine geology, resource development, regional exploration, survey, data management, geographic information systems (GIS), resource modelling, scheduling, sample preparation, resource coordination and hydrogeology, and even geotechnical engineering for a year!

Considerations for application in other geology departments are presented in terms of fundamental requirements and lessons learnt. Fundamental requirements for success have been the sustained support of the general manager, valuing the scrutiny that comes with continuous improvement, high quality HRM systems and tools within the organisation, and a committed leadership group within the department. One of the most important lessons learnt is that a robust process of ‘induction to role’ is critical – the process of familiarising new starters with who we are and the way we work.


Catto, B and McLeod, T, 2017. Rewriting the rule book – geology organisational design, in Proceedings Tenth International Mining Geology Conference 2017, pp 137–142 (The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy: Melbourne).