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The emerging skills shortage in the minerals industry - potential constraints on future sustainable development John Thompson.

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Presentation on theme: "The emerging skills shortage in the minerals industry - potential constraints on future sustainable development John Thompson."— Presentation transcript:

1 The emerging skills shortage in the minerals industry - potential constraints on future sustainable development John Thompson

2 Outline Critical skills – concerns
Mining Industry – changes and challenges People – demographics and demand Exploration – geoscientists and skills Area selection Target generation and testing Evaluation and development Critical skills – concerns Constraints on development Opportunities

3 Industry – the last ten years
The resurgence of the resource business Supply-demand – high commodity prices Opportunities and challenges: Markets – capital and consolidation Discovery Cost escalation Technology Politics, environment, health and safety, communities - sustainability 3

4 Supply – demand Sustained prices? Volatility Supply constraints Demand
Low discovery rate – relative to expenditure Limited effective grass roots exploration, technical challenges, land access, people Cost escalation – materials, energy, labour Development & mining – labour, skills Politics and social/cultural issues Demand China, India etc…. Future? Sustained prices? Volatility

5 The people picture Demand Demographics Competition
New projects and expansions Limited hiring – a lost decade Demographics “Retirements” – loss of knowledge Job pressure – early retirement, life style Competition Location Image

6 Exploration – people skills
The role of the geoscientist Early stage – generation Projects – evaluation Business – management

7 Early stage – Generation
Understanding the target – metallogeny Using available public data Developing the concept Testing the concept Acquiring the “right” data

8 Project exploration Target definition Target testing – drilling
Intelligent collection and use of data Target testing – drilling Logging drill core/chips Interpreting results Exit strategy

9 Understanding the model
Classic 2D geological models Extrapolation to 3D Building from experience Resisting dogma – dealing with uncertainty Empirical v theoretical models e.g., IOCG – major deposit class but no adequate exploration model

10 Data and modeling Targeting: Data quality Variables Assumptions

11 Interpretation 3D Models: Organize & integrate data
Interrogate & visualize results

12 Project development Communities Resource evaluation Geometallurgy
Mining and processing Environment

13 Using the data Exploration to resource Resource to mine Geometallurgy
Understanding deposits Delineation, evaluation Resource model Resource to mine Geotechnical data Ore characterization Waste characterization Geometallurgy

14 Geometallurgy Define mining/processing characteristics
Start-up risk mitigation Mine site optimization and integration Predict mining/processing results from geological characteristics A new skill set using mineralogical and textural data

15 Data to Predictions

16 Geometallurgy Current geometallurgical tests
Relatively expensive – hence limited to a few (composite) samples May not reflect or define inherent variability New cost-effective methods – better use of mineralogical, chemical and physical data Generate enough data to be spatially representative and predictive

17 Geometallurgical models
Incorporate data into resource models Potential Total economic optimization Optimize flowsheet/plant size Reduce technical risk Liberation Grinding Recovery Crushing Disposal & environment Blasting

18 Critical skills - concerns
Field Observations – rock, drill core/chips, outcrops Interpretation – regional to project scales Experience – time on the rocks Leadership Technical and non-technical skills

19 Loss of field skills Fundamental for exploration
Observations – outcrop to drill core Experience – 3D interpretation Lack of emphasis in education Inadequate training - industry/government

20 Leadership Challenges Attributes and skills A people business
Range of projects Managing uncertainty Risk analysis Team leadership Attributes and skills Presentation and salesmanship Cultural/social awareness Determination and flexibility A people business

21 Constraints on discovery & development
People and budgets (market conditions) Skills, expertise and determination Politics – land access Development Land-politics, energy, water, and costs People – mining engineering and metallurgy Finding the “A” team Creativity and rigour (geometallurgy!)

22 Constraints on different players
Majors Good budgets – focus, speed, awareness? Expertise and teams – commitment? Approach/ability to work with juniors? Juniors Funding – understanding the options? Staff – business and technical demands Balanced portfolios Breadth v focus – frontier v mature Technical risk v non-technical risk

23 Opportunities Companies Universities
Attract and retain the right people Use people in the right place Career development and flexibility Invest in education – build capacity Universities Provide fundamental education Introduce breadth and application

24 For the geoscientist Mining industry –
Enormous opportunities – career advancement Adventure, diversity, challenge Geoscientists are capable of anything Quantitative and qualitative science Interpret vast amounts of complex data Deal with uncertainty Work with people Leaders – CEOs……

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