Producing Copper for the World - More than just mining
Mark Howson, Rio Tinto
Venue: BAWA Filton
Wednesday March 17, 2010 at 19:30
This lecture visits a selection of copper mines and projects, mainly (but not all) in the Rio Tinto Group. It looks at challenges at various stages in a mine’s life, and how multi-disciplinary and multi-national teams work together for the benefit of shareholders and stakeholders, in what are some of the largest mining operations in the world.
|Mining for copper||Bingham Canyon Mine||Discussions over mining operations|
World-class copper mines are typically:
- In remote, exotic and challenging parts of the world;
- Difficult to find and develop, with a long lead time for exploration and feasibility studies;
- Multi-billion dollar investments;
- Operations that rely on a very wide range of science, engineering and business skills, ingenuity and innovation;
- A major influence in the lives of local people and the host national economy;
- Long-lived, with more than one phase of mining and processing method;
- Places where care for health, safety, the environment and communities is of paramount importance;
- Exciting and enjoyable to work at and to be associated with.
In these times of financial turbulence and changing metal price, considerable courage is required to contemplate such very long-term investments.
The role of an engineer in this industry is to provide the technical advice and operational expertise to support these decisions. The situation is continually shifting — new mineral discoveries are investigated, marginal ones may be dropped, operations are acquired or sold, new mining and processing methods are developed and applied. Investment risks and rewards change in different countries.
The speaker has a wide range of pictorial material to draw on; both his own personal collection and that of Rio Tinto. What can be guaranteed is a fascinating exposure to the wide range of science, engineering and other disciplines involved that should interest both engineers and their families alike.