Mining Workhorses – The Top Contenders

They are the behemoths of the mining landscape and each year the major players manage to make them bigger, faster, more operationally efficient and even more comfortable. In 2020 the biggest beasts come from the giants in the field – Belaz, Caterpillar, Liebherr, Terex (re-branded as Bucyrus) and Komatsu all with dump trucks jockeying for position.

1. The Belaz 75710 with a staggering 496 tonnes payload, is easily the world’s biggest dump truck – and the thirstiest, guzzling around 1300 litres of fuel per 100 kilometres. At 20.6 metres long, 8.16 metres high and almost 10 metres wide, the 75710 is 360t unladen. Featuring eight Michelin tubeless pneumatic tyres it also boasts two 16-cylinder turbocharged diesel engines, each with an output of 2,300hp producing a top speed of 64kms per hour.

2. While the Belaz 75710 was designed for the Russian landscape, the third generation Caterpillar 797F is a familiar site around Australian mines. With a payload of up to 400tonnes and a maximum speed of 68 kph from its 20-cylinder diesel engine, the 797F features Cat’s unique hydraulic torque converter transmission which sets it apart from competitors’ diesel-electric transmission.

3.     Also carrying 400tonnes, the lighter weight ultra-class duo from Liebherr, the T 282C and T 284 Dump Trucks are also powered by a 20-cylinder engine. Liebherr claims that this combination of lighter weight and 4000hp adds to the capability and flexibility of these trucks.

4.     In addition to a 360tonne payload, 20-cylinder four-stroke diesel engine and top speed of 64klms per hour, the Terex / Bucyrus MT6300AC Dump Truck boasts bed-heating technology making it perfect for cold climate mining.

5.     Finally, back to the Belarusian Belaz. Their 75601 model is specially designed for varying climatic conditions and shifting loose rock on haul roads at deep open-pit mines. The payload of 360 tonnes is carried by a 20-cylinder, four-stroke V engine achieving speeds of 64klms per hour.

At up to $7million, these are vehicles that need to pull their weight to pay their way.

Become a Better Leader in 5 Steps

Have you ever doubted your leadership skills, or thought maybe perhaps because you haven’t studied business management you wouldn’t be very good at it? The truth is, we all have the ability to become a leader as incredible as Ivan Glasenberg, CEO of Glencore. Leadership is an important function of management which helps to maximise efficiency and to achieve organisational goals. Leadership is the potential to influence behaviour of others. It is also defined as the capacity to influence a group towards the realisation of a goal. Leaders are required to develop future visions, and to motivate the organisational members to want to achieve the visions. According to Keith Davis, “Leadership is the ability to persuade others to seek defined objectives enthusiastically. It is the human factor which binds a group together and motivates it towards goals.” 

Continue reading “Become a Better Leader in 5 Steps”

First 100 Days as a Graduate on Site

Your first 100 days as a graduate mining engineer on a new mine site is crucial. Like any other role or profession, it is important to get an understanding on how to make the maximum impact in your new role. If you get it right from the beginning, you can continue to enjoy accelerated success in your career ambitions. The first 100 days or first three months is usually seen as ‘the settling in’ period. It is the time to demonstrate early actions, wins and tangible deliverables to relevant stakeholders. 

As a graduate it can be quite overwhelming being on a site especially if it is your first time or on a new site. One of the best things you can do is to prepare! Get an idea of the mine site prior to arriving – yes this involves some googling or finding out from other colleagues/employees in your organisation who may have worked there before, who you’ll report to and who you will be working with to start off. 

It is also a good idea to get an understanding of what role you will be covering and what the role entails. Having a clear understanding of expectations will help a lot. Three of the most important things to demonstrate from the onset is punctuality, your reliability and willingness to learn. 

Within the first month, get to know site personnel by investing your energy in building new networks and establishing new stakeholder relationships. This is a simple yet critical step a lot of graduates overlook which impedes their progress on site. The importance of pit tours cannot be understated. Be confident, exercise patience, resilience and be a fast learner. Also, don’t be afraid of your mistakes! We all make mistakes at times but what’s important is that we learn and not repeat them. 

No mine site will expect you to solve all the site’s problems as a graduate either. You are there primarily to learn and grow in the first few months. While there will be time pressures and a steep learning curve don’t be afraid to reach out for support. 

Thinking of becoming a mining engineer? Here’s what you can expect.

You have read every prospectus for every engineering course in the country and in theory the job looks ok. You have looked into the various roles throughout the entire mining process from exploration and feasibility studies through to build, production and even mine closure and land rehabilitation.  But what is life actually like as a mining engineer? What should you realistically expect? 

You will need an adventurous spirit, a curious mind and a hunger to travel to unique places. Remote locations are the norm (at least at the start of your career) which will mean living on site in mine camps or residentially in close knit mining communities.  You could be working in the freezing cold at altitude on a mountain range or under the hot desert sun or in the steamy tropics. Mines are a 24/7 business which means working shifts, often on a 2:1 roster (weeks on/off). 

So, if you prefer working indoors, regular hours and FIFO (fly in fly out) or living regionally isn’t your cup of tea, then mining engineering probably isn’t for you. On the other hand, if have a genuine passion for natural resources, thrive on challenges, relish problem solving and seek to work in a field that is at the forefront of innovation then it could be just what you’re looking for. 

Mining engineer graduate numbers are falling, and the Australian mining industry is facing a critical skills shortage in the coming years.  In an interview with the ABC earlier this year, Gavin Lind from the Minerals Council Australia said that graduate numbers have been in sharp decline since 2012. For example, just six students are enrolled to study mining engineering at the University of New South Wales this year down from 120 enrolments four years ago. This may be attributed to the boom to bust, cyclical nature of the coal and iron ore sectors making for gloomy headlines. However, this can be very misleading. Any business is vulnerable to market forces but as we move into a low carbon world and transition to electric vehicles, a wide range of minerals will become an increasingly integral part of modern living and promises a robust future for aspiring engineers. 

Mining engineers are held in high regard for their leading-edge technical knowledge, scientific expertise and problem-solving capabilities as well as their resilience and character that enables them to succeed in the most challenging of environments. Commitment to the environment and local communities and managing social issues also play a significant part in an engineer’s role. Most engineers start their career in the field but there are also opportunities to enter corporate office, government, consulting, finance and research fields. 

Being a resilient leader in the wake of COVID-19

Written by MEC Mining’s Technical Services Manager, Erin Sweeney

The human brain is an amazing thing, it is the central control of our bodies keeping us alive. It stores our memories and uses them helps us navigate and assign meaning to the complex world of interacting with other humans, things and events by linking emotions to the myriad of data coming in from our sensors all in an effort to keep us safe and alive. If we leave this process on auto-control our lives can quickly get overwhelming when we face times that are Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous.

Continue reading “Being a resilient leader in the wake of COVID-19”

VUCA Planning: what does a resilient mine plan look like?

Many of us have entered 2020 with a great deal of trepidation. It seems the only thing we can rely on this year is taxes and death (too soon?). The world is becoming increasingly volatile and uncertainty reigns supreme, as such it is probably time we started to accept this as the new normal. If it isn’t the Coronavirus it will be a long drought, a flood, a supply chain disruption or a tech disruption that will cause us to have to suddenly change tack. But how do you plan for disruption when you have no idea what will cause it in the future.

Continue reading “VUCA Planning: what does a resilient mine plan look like?”

How can organisations learn from failure?

Ever heard of Chris Argyris? He spent most of his professional life contemplating how organisations could learn from failure.

An American business theorist, Chris Argyris (1923-2013) made a significant contribution to thinking about organisational learning and how people relate to organisations. The theories of single-loop and double-loop learning that he developed with Donald Schön back in the 1970s remain relevant – particularly as organisations globally are increasingly challenged by fast-paced and complex market forces.

Continue reading “How can organisations learn from failure?”