Articles tagged with: Study Management

56. Does the Mining Industry Employ Interns?

Over the last year or so I have been working on a side project I founded within the tech industry.   One of the things that recently came to the forefront was the use of interns, unpaid interns, that is.   I know that  interns have been used for years in other industries including legal, politics, journalism, and marketing; however I have never come across the use of interns within the mining industry.
Intern
I was recently speaking with a marketing consultant about how to undertake tech marketing and one of the suggestions she made was to hire an intern to do much of the legwork of finding contacts and making contact with them.  My first question was why would anyone work for free?  I was told there were three reasons:
  1. For credit; as part of a course credit in college or university where an internship is part of the programme requirement.
  2. For experience; one can’t get a real job without experience and so the internship teaches something, builds up experience, and creates a portfolio of work.
  3. Networking; building up network connections can possibly lead to permanent work.
At first I was taken aback at the thought of asking someone to work for me for free.  Are we that cheap?   On the other hand if you are paying someone a salary, the expectation is that they should be relatively skilled at their job.  Giving it some further thought, , I have come to realize that the internship may actually be a win-win for both parties.
The company gets to better know potential employees and also gets some productive service from them at no cost.  The intern grows their employment experience and learns about the realities of the business world.  The students are paying the schools to teach them, and now businesses can help teach them as well, but at no cost.   It’s a win-win.
So how did our intern search go?  We posted a free ad on indeed.ca.  Within 48 hours we received eight replies, of which only 2 came close to meeting the qualifications.  Some of the applicants had no relevant experience at all.   Possibly in today’s job market people are willing to work for free on the chance they can get some experience on their resumes which will hopefully lead to a job in the future.  We’ll maintain the job ad for a couple more weeks and see what the overall response will be.
My bottom line is asking whether the mining industry can make use of interns in the areas of geology, engineering, marketing, graphics, etc?  There may be a lot of young students out there looking for opportunity and willing to do whatever it takes to help advance their careers.   Even if your payroll budget cannot afford the cost of another person, you still may be able to help out someone within the industry.
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55. Underground Feasibility Forecasts vs Actuals

I recently attended a CIM Management and Economics Society presentation discussing the differences between actual underground production versus the forecast used in the feasibility study. The presenter was Paul Tim Whillans from Vancouver Canada. His topic is interesting and relevant to today’s mining industry and Paul raised many thoughtful points supported by data. The abstract for his paper is copied below and the entire paper can be downloaded at this LINK and here are the presentation slides.
ABSTRACT
An underground mining study that is done in accordance with NI43-101, JORC or similar reporting code is generally assumed by the public to be representative, independent and impartial. However, it has been well documented by academics and professionals in our industry that there is a sharp difference between the forecasts presented in these underground studies and the actual costs when a mine is put into production.
For underground mines, the risks associated with obtaining representative information are much greater than for surface mining and the cost of accessing underground ore is also proportionally much greater. There is a pressing need to align expectations, by improving the accuracy of projections. This will result in reduced risk to mining companies and investors and provide more reliable information to government agencies, the public, and more importantly, the communities in which the proposed mine will operate.
The objective of this article and an article currently being written titled “Mining Dilution and Mineral Losses” is to:
– Discuss the dynamics of intention that lead to over-optimism;
– Provide simple tools to identify which studies are likely to be more closely aligned with reality;
– Identify some specific points where underground mining studies are generally weak;
– Discuss practices currently in use in our industry that lead to a composite or aggregate effect of over optimism;
– Describe the effects of overly optimistic studies;
– Outline specific changes that are necessary to overcome these challenges; and
– Stimulate discussion and awareness that will lead to better standards.

Headframe

In my opinion, I agree with many of the points raised by Paul. The mining industry has some credibility issues based on recent performance and therefore understanding the causes and then repairing that credibility will be important for the future of the industry. Credibility impacts on shareholder returns, government returns, local community benefits, and worker health and safety; so having a well designed mine will realize benefits for many parties.
If you need more information Paul’s website is at http://www.whillansminestudies.com/
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48. Online Collaboration and Management Tools (Part 2)

This blog is the Part 2 continuation of the post from last week regarding software tools that the mining people should take a look at. Here are a few more ideas that I would like to share, having found that these are also great to have in your toolbox.
Google Sheets and Google Docs: When undertaking group reviews of spreadsheets or text documents don’t many of us have frustrations? We typically end up with different versions of the same document floating around and nobody knows which one is the most recent version and which one they should be editing. With Google Sheets and Google Docs you can create online spreadsheets and documents and then allow people on your team to review and edit them in real-time online. Writing reports gets simpler since there is only one version of the document with which everyone is working. A “track changes” option is still there (called “Suggesting”) and everyone can see the edits as they are being made. No more asking “who has the most current version?” it’s always there on-line. This type of collaborative editing is also great for certain types of spreadsheets as well as for Design Criteria Documents that are regularly being updated by different team members.
Foxit Reader:  This is an alternative to Adobe Reader and can be used for reviewing PDF documents, whether text documents or drawings. Foxit provides great editing and commenting tools like highlighting text, adding comments, drawing lines and boxes, adding comment balloons, cut & pasting images into the PDF file, and then saving the commented version. For the most part I have stopped using Adobe Reader and have now switched over to Foxit.
Foxit Reader screenshot

Foxit Reader screenshot

UberConference:  This is an online application for team conference calling that allows screen sharing, online conversations, sends out meeting reminders, and it will call participants at the require time. Watch the video on their website to gain a better understanding; it’s entertaining and true to life.
Uber Conference screenshot

Uber Conference screenshot

Those are a few of the software tools that I have found useful and so now you’re probably wondering “what else is out there for me?” The website The Freelance Stack lists many of different tools that exist. Check them out and some of the others may be of value to you. :
One of the key marketing approaches used by most of the tech companies is to provide a fully functional product for free and then charge money to access the enhanced features. The objective is to get future users familiarized and trained on the system, and then they will decide that they wish to upgrade their capability and so pay for the full product suite. I’m not sure if any geology or mining software  is available in a basic functional format enabling optional upgrading. By functional, I don’t mean simply providing a “viewer” to view the work of others or a 30-day trial period, I mean actual software that provides some actual useful capability for free in order to get you hooked.
My bottom line is that there is a lot of good stuff out there, readily available, much of it free, and it can make managing your project teams easier. Just because it’s related to the tech industry, don’t assume it wouldn’t have an application in the mining industry.
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47. Online Collaboration and Management Tools (Part 1)

As part of a new side business venture I have been working alongside a team of website and mobile app developers. It has been a good learning experience for me to see how the tech teams do things versus how the mining consulting industry conducts its business. We know there is a lot of private equity money flowing into tech and not mining, so they must be doing something right.
The tech start-up industry has developed its own set of jargon, like agile management, lean start-ups, disruption, minimum viable products, pings, and sprints. Some of their key methodologies would not make sense for the mining industry where one doesn’t have the luxury of trial-and-error and customer feedback to help complete your project. For software development, the attitude is get it out the door fast and your customers will then tell you what fixes they want to see. In mining you need to get it right the first time (hopefully). Having said that, some mining people will say they have seen 43-101 technical reports that follow the “wait for customer feedback” model.
Now where the tech industry can provide us with some useful advice is in the use of project management and collaboration tools. The software developers often work remotely and so make heavy use of the technology that exists or they develop new technology tools to meet their needs. Mining teams are starting to work from remote offices more often these days.
The following is a partial list (Part 1) of free software tools that I have used recently, mainly because I was forced to by the tech teams. Subsequently I have found the tools easy to use and most definitely some can be applied in our own industry, especially with diverse mining study teams. There are a lot more tech tools out there but my list includes the ones that I have personally come in contact with. Most of these are free to use with limited features and enhanced features are available if you subscribe to the full version at minimal cost. However even the free versions are useful and can be used to train your team. Most of them provide both web based and app based access so even when you’re on the road you can still use them and contribute to the team.
Trello: If you want to create a task list for your team, this is the app to use. Imagine a bunch of yellow post-it notes that you can put under various project categories, assign persons to each note, attached a file if you wish, and then have back and forth discussions within each note. Then once a task is done, just drag the note to another category (e.g. “In Progress”, “Completed”). Anyone or selected people can create a note or provide comment. See the image below for an example Trello screenshot.

 

Trello screenshot

Example Trello Screenshot

Slack: If you want to have a running record of group discussions that all or only selected team members can follow and join in on, then Slack is for you. It can replace the long confusing back-and-forth emails that we commonly see, when people sometimes forget to “reply all” so now you’re out of the loop. See the image below for an example Slack screenshot. It’s great for discussions amongst the team and you can have private one-on-one discussions or wide open team discussions and can attached files too. It provides permanent record of discussions or decisions made.
Slack Screenshot

Example Slack Screenshot

Basecamp: is similar program that incorporates features from both the above and some people swear by this tool. I have not personally used it so cannot vouch for it, but some say it is very good. Watch the video on their website describing what it can do.
My bottom line is that there is a lot of good stuff out there, readily available, much of it free, and can facilitate the management of your project teams. Just because its tech industry related, don’t assume it wouldn’t have an application in the mining world. Next week in Part 2 of this blog, I will describe a few more of the tech tools that I have found useful.
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41. Resource Estimates – Are Independent Audits A Good Idea?

Question: how important is the integrity of a tailings dam to the successful operation of a mine?   Very important; so much so that in some jurisdictions regulators may soon be stipulating that mining companies must have third party independent review boards or third party audits done on their tailings dams.  The feeling is that although a team of capable engineers may be doing the dam design, there is still a need for some outside oversight to get another perspective.  Differences in interpretation, experience, and errors of omission are always a possibility regardless of who does the work.  Hence a second set of eyes can be beneficial.
Next question is how important is the integrity of the resource and reserve estimate to the successful operation of a mine?   Very important; the mine life, project economics, and shareholder value all depend on it.     So why aren’t a second set of eyes or third party resource audits commonly done?
In the years prior to 43-101, junior mining companies could produce their own resource estimates and disclose the results.  With the advent of NI 43-101, a second set of eyes was introduced whereby an independent QP  could review the company’s internal resource estimate and/or prepare their own estimate and ultimately take legal responsible for the estimate.
Nowadays most small companies do not produce their own in-house resource estimates and the task is generally awarded directly to an independent QP.   Maybe companies don’t prepare their own in-house resource estimates due to the specialization needed in modelling and geostatistics, and the knowledge needed to use today’s block modeling software.   Maybe they feel doing their own internal resource estimate is a waste of time since an independent QP will be preparing an estimate for them anyway.
Given that, in many cases the project resource estimate is prepared solely by the QP or a team of QP’s.   In many cases this resource gets published without any other oversight, in other words without a second set of eyes taking a look at it.   The assumption is that QP doing the work is a qualified expert, their judgement is without question, and their work is error free.

Exploration Program in Andes

As we have seen recently, some resources estimates have been mishandled and disciplinary actions have been taken against some QP’s.   I guess one can conclude that maybe not all QP’s are perfect.  Just because someone meets the requirements to be a Competent Person or a Qualified Person does not automatically mean that they are competent or qualified. Geological modeling is not an exact science and will be partly based on the person’s experience and what they have seen in the past.
My question is whether it wouldn’t be good practice for companies to have a second set of eyes take a look at their maiden resource estimates produced by independent QP’s?   For example, where I have been involved in mining mergers or takeovers, often one side will tend to rebuild the resource model using their own team.  They don’t put 100% confidence in the original resource model handed over to them.  “Just give me the database” they ask.
One downside to a third party review is the additional cost.  Another downside is that when one consultant reviews another consultant’s work there is a tendency to list numerous concerns that are not really that material, which then can muddle the conclusion of the review.  On the other hand, a third party review may identify serious interpretation or judgement issues that could be fatal if they impact on the viability of the resource.
If tailings dams are so important to require a second set of eyes, why not the resource estimate that is the foundation of the project?
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39. Measured vs. Indicated Resources – Do We Treat Them the Same?

One of the first things we look at when examining a resource estimate is how much of the resource is classified as Measured / Indicated (“M&I”) versus the tonnage classified as Inferred.  It’s important to understand the uncertainty in the estimate and to a large degree the Inferred proportion gives us that.   At the same time I think we tend to focus less on the split between the Measured and Indicated tonnages.
We are all aware of the study limitations imposed by Inferred resources.  They are speculative in nature and hence cannot be used in the economic models for feasibility and pre-feasibility studies. However Inferred resource can be used for production planing in Preliminary Economic Assessments (“PEA”).
Inferred resources are also so speculative that one cannot add them to the Measure and Indicated tonnages in a resource statement, although that is what just about everyone does when looking at a project.   I don’t think I fully understand the concerns with a resource statement if it included a row that adds M&I tonnage with Inferred tonnes as long as everything is open and transparent.   When a PEA production schedule is presented, the three resource classifications are combined into a single tonnage number but in the resource statement itself the M&I&I cannot be totaled.  A bit contradictory I feel.
With regards to the M&I tonnage, it appears to me that companies are most interested in what part of their  resource meets the M&I threshold but are not as interested in how the tonnage is split between Measured and Indicated.   It seems that M&I are largely being treated the same.  Since both Measured and Indicated resources can be used in the feasibility economic analysis, does it matter if the split is 100% Measured (Proven) or 100% Indicated (Probable)?   The NI 43-101 and CIM guidelines provide definitions for Measured and Indicated resource but do not specify any different treatment like they do for the Inferred resources.

 

CIM Resources to Mineral Reserves

Relationship between Mineral Reserves and Mineral Resources (CIM Definition Standards).

 

In my past experience with feasibility studies, some people used the rule-of-thumb that the tonnage mined during the payback period must largely consist of Measure resource (i.e. Proven reserve) and then the rest of the production schedule could rely on Indicated tonnage (Probable reserve).  The idea was that a way to reduce project risk was to ensure that the production tonnage providing the capital recovery should be based on the resource with the highest certainty.   Nowadays I generally do not see this same requirement for Measured resources, although I am not aware of what everyone is doing in every study.   I realize there is a cost, and possibly a significant cost, to shift Indicated resource to Measured so there may be some hesitation. Hence it may be simpler for everyone to simply regard the Measured and Indicated tonnages in roughly the same way.
NI 43-101 specifies how the Inferred resource can and cannot be utilized.  Is it a matter of time before the regulators start specifying how Measured and Indicated resources can be used?  I see some potential merit to this idea but adding more regulation and cost to an already burdened industry is not helpful.
Perhaps in the interest of increased transparency, feasibility studies just need to add two rows to the bottom of the production schedule showing how the annual processing tonnages are split between Proven and Probable reserves.  One can get a better sense of the resource risk in the early years of the project.  Given the mining software available today, it likely isn’t difficult to provide such additional detail.
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37. 3D Model Printing – Who To Contact?

One of the technologies that’s still getting a lot of press lately is 3D printing; it seems new articles appear daily describing some fresh and novel use. Everything from home construction, food preparation and industrial applications, 3D printing continues to find new applications in a wide range of disciplines. Mining engineering is no exception.
In a previous blog “3D Printing – A Simple Idea”, I discussed the helpfulness of printing 3D topographic models for the team members of a mining study. I was recently contacted by a consulting firm from Texas that, amongst other things, specializes in the 3D printing of mining models. Here is their story and a few model images as provided to me by Matt Blattman of Blattman Brothers Consulting. (www.blattbros.com/3dprinting)
Their 3D printed models are used in the same way geologists and mining engineers have employed models for decades. We’ve all seen the physical models made of stacked mylar or plexi-glass maps, wood or foam core. We all recognized that there is value in taking two dimensional sections or plan maps and making a 3D representation which provides more that those viewed on a computer screen. Physical models convey scale, interactions and scope in ways that no other method can. 3D printing improves the model-making process by allowing for the addition of high definition orthophotos, reducing the model building cost, increasing its precision, and its delivery time.
The current 3D models can be made in a variety of materials but the primary three are extruded plastic, gypsum powder, or acrylics.
  • Plastic models (ABS or PLA) are cheap, fast and can created on relatively inexpensive, hobbyist printers. The downside to these models is that the number of colors available in a single model are limited, typically a single color.
  • Powder-based printers can typically print in 6.5M colors, allowing for vibrant, photo-realistic colors and infinite choices for title blocks, logos and artistic techniques. However, gypsum models can be as fragile as porcelain and require some care in handling.
  • Acrylic models allow for translucent printing (“looking into the ground to see the geological structure”) and are more durable than the gypsum. Nevertheless, acrylic models are significantly more expensive than the other two types and the color palettes are limited.
Here are some example models.
Leapfrog 3D Geological Model
Acrylic Based Geological Model
3D Mine Model - Powder based
3D Mine Site Model
Besides having another toy on your desk next to the stress ball, why print your mine plan, the geology shapes or the topographic surface? It’s all about “communicating highly technical data to a non-technical audience”, whether that audience is a permitting authority, the general public, or company management.
The ability to understand a map or technical drawing is a learned skill and not everyone has it. If you’ve just spent $20M on a feasibility study, why trust in the assumption that the attendees in a public consultation meeting will fully appreciate the scale and overall impact of your proposed project? That message can be better conveyed with a model that is easily understood. One of Blattman’s clients, Luck Stone, recently described how they use their 3D printed models in this video.
Blattman’s models are created from the same 3D digital data already in use by most companies involved in geological modeling and mine designs. Other than the units (meters versus millimeters), the triangulated surfaces created by mining software are theoretically no different than those created by mechanical or artistic 3D modeling programs.
While many 3D printing services are available on the market, not all of them are able to speak “mining”. They may not be able to walk the skilled geologist or mining engineer through the process of creating the necessary digital formats and that’s where Blattman comes in. With more than 20 years of mining experience and having already gone through the 3D printing learning curve, they can assist any natural resource company through the process, either as a full-service/turn-key project or just to advise the client on how to prepare their own files.
Recently, Blattman announced a contest to give away a custom model of the winner’s own data, a $5000 value. Not every data set is ideal for printing, so each entry must be accompanied by a screenshot of the model (no need to upload the actual data). Anyone is eligible to enter; the entry form can be found here: www.blattbros.com/contest/. They will announce the winner just after PDAC, in mid-March 2016.
My bottom line is that 3D printing is here to stay, so go ahead and check out the technology. Maybe enter the Blattman 3D model contest if you have something worth modelling.
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35. Constraints: Use Them to Your Advantage

I recently read a business book called “A Beautiful Constraint: How to Transform Your Limitations into Advantages, and Why It’s Everyone’s Business” by Adam Morgan and Mark Barden. It describes how to use constraints, like lack of time, money, resources, attention, know-how, and use them to help transform your company for the better.

Beautiful Constraint Book Cover

The book discusses how to shift away from the typical “victim” role by understanding how our routines control things, asking the right questions, and focusing on “how” and not “if”.   For an example, one of the recommendations discussed in the book is that in your group sessions no one on your team is allowed to utter the words “we can’t because…” but must replace those words with “we can if…”.   This forces the generation of ideas and promotes a positive attitude rather than a victim attitude.
The book describes how many innovations were created due to constraints and those innovations would never have been created without having those constraints to direct the thinking.  To force innovation in your organization you can create constraints for your team, even if they are just artificial constraints, to help foster innovation and push for “outside the box” thinking.  The tougher the constraint, the greater the challenge for your team but then possibly the greater the final outcome.
The term Theory of Constraints may be common to some.  However this concept is different than what is being discussed in this book.  The TOC essentially relies on managing the constraint or eliminating it, and then address the next constraint in sequence.   The authors here propose to exploit the constraint or leverage it to create a new possibility, hence the title “beautiful constraint”.
As we all know the mining industry as a whole has more than enough constraints placed upon it right now, be it lack of funding, lack of skilled talent, environmental pressures, supply-demand issues, social issues, security issues, etc.    Each operation or mining project may have additional constraints above and beyond those of the general industry, so one does not need really to create artificial constraints for your team.  The mining industry almost has no option but to try to use these constraints in a constructive manner and not let them pull the industry down or simply try to wait and they will go away.  When people say “mining is cyclical and it will all turn around soon” is an example of waiting for the constraint to go away.  Well how long do you wait before taking your own action?
My bottom line is that the book was enlightening, although maybe telling us what we already know subconsciously but don’t acknowledge openly.  Don’t wait, start innovating, and don’t be afraid of grand innovations.  The book should be required reading for all those working in the mining industry today.
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34. On-Line Technical Report Library

Recently on LinkedIn I noticed a discussion from a member of an Australian/New Zealand consulting group about developing an on-line community for undertaking free peer reviews of new resource estimates and technical reports.   The objective was to help the mining industry improve on their standards, consistency, and quality of resource estimates and the supporting technical reports.
RSC are steadily compiling a Dropbox library of technical reports that can be accessed via a searchable map on their web site at this link.  The map functionality is quite unique and interesting.  Check it out – there are many global projects already listed on the map.
The proposed peer review concept is not described on the web site but was part of a LinkedIn discussion, which now seems to be deleted from LinkedIn. The goal is (or was) to develop a team of pre-approved volunteer mineral consultants that would review the various technical reports for accuracy and compliancy.  The list of comments would then be complied and would generate a ranking to be provided back to the original author and/or the mining company.   The hope is that such on-going peer reviews would help improve the quality of technical work.
Via LinkedIn, they were seeking out volunteer reviewers and had numerous people interested already.  My understanding is that they were planning to start a trial run of the system within the next few weeks, however seeing the article gone from LinkedIn, the idea may have been put aside.  Nevertheless the searchable map is still there and it is an interesting way to see what project developments are occurring in the mining industry.
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31. Meetups and Mining Millennials

Over the last few weeks I have had several business exchanges with the Toronto tech start-up community and have noticed some similarities and differences with the junior mining industry.  The junior mining model was essentially a precursor to the tech start-up model as it relates to getting early stage funding which is then followed up with additional financing rounds.  One difference is that mining mainly used the public financing route (IPO’s) while the tech field mainly relies on private equity venture capital (VC’s).
There are a few more differences that are readily apparent to me.   In general, the tech industry is young, vibrant, tech-savvy, uses the latest in social technology to collaborate while the mining industry seems to be lagging behind on some of these aspects.  The following article will describe a few of my observations.
My initial experience with the tech industry was mainly related to the numerous after-hours meetings (called “meetups”) held from 6 to 9pm  and used for networking purposes, or to allow guest speakers to describe their experience in starting companies, or for “how-to” training with new techniques (e.g. Google Analytics, Facebook advertising, email marketing, etc.).   Attending these meetups is usually free; they are typically held at the offices of tech companies, and they often provide pizza and drinks. Networking is a primary driver for these meetings.
Scheduling of such meetings is done via the website www.meetup.com.  Meetup.com works well for distributing the meeting notice and then tracking the attendees.  Meetups are not only tech-related; they are also held for various subjects such as hiking groups, theatre groups, business marketing, and other topics of interest.  They are a good way to create a well connected community.  One thing I noticed is that here in Toronto there are no geology or mining meetups posted on the meetup website, so the mining industry may be missing out on a good way to create a close and collaborative community.
With regards to local mining meetings here in Toronto, as far as I know there are three regular mining events (PDAC is an annual event).  The CIM has a monthly luncheon with a cost of $50-$65 per lunch (not exactly tailored for the millenials).   There is a Toronto Geological Discussion Group that holds meetings intermittently and seems to consist of the 50-60 yr old geologists demographic.  The third event is Mining 4 Beer, which a small group that meets intermittently at a local bar.  These few events don’t create any real buzz for those working in the mining industry in Toronto.  There are a lot of mining companies here and a lot of mining people but not a lot of vibrancy.
Some of the tech meetups are held in local tech offices.  These offices are great; they have the open concept, pool tables, ping pong, video games, kitchen fully stocked….who wouldn’t want to work here?  The last time I was in the offices of a large engineering firm I felt like a lab rat in a cubical maze trying to find the cheese (i.e. conference room).   I’m not saying engineering offices can switch to the tech office style layout, but enjoying the office environment might help draw people to work in the mining industry.
Perhaps it’s easy to have a positive work attitude when money is being thrown at you (as is happening in the tech field) versus having to scratch and claw for funds like mining must do right now.   However I suggest if one wants more smart young people to come into the industry then one needs to think young.  This means more than just buying the latest 3D geological or mining software.  It means creating an attitudinal environment that people want to work in.    The current Integra Gold challenge (like the Goldcorp challenge from several years ago) may be type of novel thinking needed in the future.
In 1998 I was working on the Diavik Project at their engineering office in Calgary.  They provided a unique office layout whereby everyone on the owner’s team had an “office” but no front wall on the office so you couldn’t shut yourself in.  There were numerous map layout tables scattered throughout the office to purposely foster discussion amongst the geological and engineering team.  A similar type philosophy is used by Apple in their office layout design where even the kitchen placement has a purpose.   Discussion amongst your people is good; camping yourself in an office is not good.
Another interesting thing I noticed with the tech field is that when start-up tech companies are given an opportunity to tell their story, typically they only have 5 to 10 minute time limit to get their point across.  No long winded thirty page PowerPoint presentation to explain what they are doing.  The tech industry is also big on the “elevator pitch”, a one minute simple verbal summary of what they are doing.  The tech people are taught to be concise; if you can’t explain it in plain language in one minute then it’s too complicated.   Conversely in many mining investor presentations they can be highly technical and tailored towards other technical people and not the average person or average investor.   Who is the target audience for those presentations?
Even the contracting, billing, invoicing side of the tech business are interesting.   Using sites such as Freshbooks, the consulting services contract is signed electronically, invoices are sent electronically, and payment is made electronically.  It’s a very fast and efficient system.
For communication and collaboration, they use systems such as Slack.  No more of the long email threads with five people cc’d on each email, various people responding, with no one sure what is being agreed to.   Slack uses a chatting approach, similar to text messaging, which makes it easier to follow the conversation and share files.  Can older mining executives be taught to use Slack?  I don’t see a problem with that as long as one earnestly wants to learn it. It’s really not that complicated.
My bottom line is that I can see a great difference in the atmosphere and attitude in the tech field versus the mining industry.  The junior mining game has been the precursor for the tech start-up industry but has not kept up with the modernization of how people like to work.    Many older personnel are leaving the mining industry in the next few years and the loss of this mining experience is a big negative; however the fresh thinking that may follow behind could be a small positive.
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