I’m writing to you today from my new desk in our open plan office. It’s quite a cosy layout, with everyone effectively sitting on one great big long centre desk. Prior to our move I had an enclosed office, which at the time I thought was great because nobody hear confidential phone calls or see my screen when. Well now I’m fully converted to open plan. It can get a little noisy as we don’t have any policies about silence and making phone calls in quiet rooms, and in fact, a little banter is encouraged. The brilliant part is that now everyone knows what is going on with everyone else’s work. Collaboration has really lifted and the time we spend in meetings has declined because you can just yell out. Everything seems to happen faster in this environment.
So now that we have achieved a new high in collaboration, a few innovations that have been bubbly away for a while have recently started to gain traction. When you hear about innovation, usually the focus is on gadgets and software and the Internet. In mining, there is significant sunk capital in the mining machinery that occupies the biggest chunk of mine operating budgets. Rather than hope for the next gadget, MEC have been focusing our energy on developing smarter ways to use existing mining machines to lift productivity and lower cost. Some clever thinking and the use of the most up to date optimisation technology can save tens of millions of dollars without any capital being required. Right now, new thinking is making a big difference to haulage costs and productivity. We are developing innovative ways to maximize the use of dozer push to save money. In the rehabilitation space, our Partnership with 3D Data Guidance has yielded innovations that can reduce the cost of rehabilitating mines by more than 50%. If you would like to hear a little more about some of these innovations I would be more than happy to oblige.