*This is an abstract only. No full paper is available for
In the last 30 years since beginning my career, many things have changed. The most profound change would undoubtedly be the digital revolution, which has transformed the way we do business. What hasn’t changed, however, are the fundamental contributions a geologist can make to add value to a mining business.
Over that 30 years I have seen mine geology roles evolve from the traditionally accepted and appreciated ones of grade control, applied deposit knowledge, resource definition, near mine exploration and so on, to more multidisciplinary generalist roles. The unintended consequence of this, however, is the risk of diluting the effectiveness of mine geology roles and therefore pushing them down to lower organisational levels or even placing in question the necessity of having them at all.
Whenever I visit a mine, I make a point of going out into the pit or underground with one of the mine geologists. I always ask my host to tell me about his or her role; generally they can tell me what they do, and yet struggle with the reasons why they do it. What is interesting is that when questioning more senior people, right up to board level, we often struggle to clearly articulate the business case for mine geology. If we can’t do this as a profession, we can’t really expect executives and boards, who increasingly seem to be comprised of fewer and fewer mining professionals, to understand and appreciate our roles and contributions.
A pretty simple way to frame our industry is to bring together mineral, capital and human resources to generate value for our stakeholders. Everyone knows what a human resources manager does: ‘our people are our most valuable resource!’ It is also a given that we need a CFO and commercial people to manage finances. But who manages arguably the most important asset in any mining business, the mineral resources upon which the entire business is based?
To the mining professional, it is self-evident that our Mineral Resources and Ore Reserves need to be effectively managed. But it is a mistake to assume our decision-makers understand and appreciate this to the same level we do. Today, as the person who has worked for 30 years as either a mine geologist or someone who manages them, I will attempt to articulate the business case for mine geology.
Moorhead, C, 2017. The business
case for mine geology, in Proceedings Tenth International Mining Geology
Conference 2017, pp 11–12 (The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy: