Interview Series: Anthony Cook

In this interview, we’re getting to know our Product Manager, Supervisor and Training, Anthony Cook.

Q: Can you share some of your background?

I have a strong technical background in resource estimation and mine operations (open pit and underground), developed since 2010. My experience spans a variety of precious metal mineralisation styles, including alluvial, supergene oxide and in-situ hard rock. While working with Gold Fields Ltd, I was strongly involved with corporate technical innovation and business improvement projects. My experiences, which range from international secondment to private conference with industry leaders, has given me a broad exposure to the mining industry.

Q: Can you explain some of the challenges you consult to your clients on in a few sentences and how you help them improve?

I’ve assisted clients on a variety of projects, from standard resource estimation, reporting and training to the practical application of advanced techniques to quantify operational risk. But for me, the most important aspect of finalising a project is that I have passed on the learnings to the client. I believe that the true value of what we have to offer isn’t just a solution to our client’s problems, it’s the learnings that allow them to continually improve long after the project has finished.

Q: What inspired your career in this field?

My foray into geostatistics has been a long and somewhat vague evolution. I never dreamed of being a geostatistician, in fact, I noticed early on that I had a knack for mathematics and was steadily on track to enter the world of accountancy. It was only by sheer fluke that I enrolled in a double-degree of Business (Accounting) and Science (Geology). As time went on, I found accountancy less and less appealing, and the geoscience more and more fascinating. Eventually I dropped the accountancy altogether and landed myself a role as a graduate geologist. Over time, I discovered that I needn’t leave my mathematical abilities behind and, as most geostatisticians do, fell in love with the unique balance of practical science and mathematics that only geostatistics has to offer.

Q:  What is the most satisfying aspect of your role?

I have a hunger for knowledge, but one of the most satisfying experiences is being able to break down complex ideas and present them so that I can pass it on to others. It’s a great feeling when you see the spark of understanding in a student’s eyes when you phrase something just right.

Q: You’ve had the opportunity to travel to some interesting places around the world with your job – what have you seen and what impressions have you come away with?

One of the most jarring experiences would definitely be earlier in my career when I spent three months in South Africa working in the underground mines. Not only did is vastly broaden my understanding of various mining styles, but also highlighted unique challenges faced by others around the globe that I had never even thought of. It’s because of those experiences that I ensure I keep an open mind when approaching new projects because any assumptions can limit your ability to see the bigger picture.

Q: What are your best memories from starting out on mine sites over 10 years ago?

Absolutely my first day on a mine site, which happened to be Gold Fields’ St Ives camp. I remember being taken for a tour of the largest pit they had at the time and being utterly awestruck at the size and scale of the mine and machinery. It was then that I knew I was part of something very special and that there was so much more to see and experience.

Q: Who inspires you from your field and why?

I’ve had the pleasure of working with so many brilliant minds that I wouldn’t risk naming them here for the fear of omitting someone. I would like to make one special mention which must go to Jacqui Coombes, who was my first true introduction to the world of geostatistics and has continued to support my growth.

Q: What’s a fun fact about you?

My mineral collection consists of sets of dice, each set carved from a different mineral.

Connect with Anthony on LinkedIn.

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