Ian Wallace – Pit optimisation and mine scheduling expert

With over 6 years experience in mining engineering, Ian is an open-cut Senior Mining Engineer with solid operational and technical skills in coal and exposure to Copper/Gold orebodies. During his career, Ian has lead project delivery on several major studies and demonstrates strong skills in short; medium and long term scheduling across a suite of software including Vulcan CAD/Optimisation and Deswik Scheduler/Landform.

Here, Ian shares some of his highlights and personal insights on his career.

What do you specialise in? Mining production schedules and pit optimisation.

What has been your most memorable project to date? Has to be the Iron Sands Project in PNG and also the Las Bambas in Peru.

Have you noticed any new trends in the  open cut Coal or metals world? Yes, it’s a good time to own a hard coking coal mine.

How has technology helped or enhanced your scope of work? Certain softwares have allowed me to multi-process large data for Life of Mine tasks such as reserving, scheduling or running haulage simulations

In your opinion, do you think the mining industry has overcome the downturn? Not quite, I believe the shinning commodity of tomorrow is a shifting beast and we’ll see more of a split market instead of  a general increase in all commodities as we’ve seen over the year and before in mid 2000’s.

What is your favourite past time? Downhill skiing and skeet shooting.

Who inspires? Elon Musk.

What advise would you give to an undergraduate engineer? For those that don’t have jobs; Don’t let a few bad interviews or rejections stop you.  Endeavour and continue applying and think outside the box.  Offer to work for less or free for a small period to prove your worth; as the hesitation with most companies is, undergrads are normally unproven commodities so there’s risk involved hiring undergrads in that sense.

For those that do currently have a job.  Work hard and try to get as much varied experience as opportunity allows.  Don’t expect employers to train you, take initiative and train on the side and improve your skills.