Interview Series: Chris Jones
Based in our Perth office and a Mining Engineer with experience working in open pit and underground operations throughout Australia, Africa and Europe, Chris recently returned to Perth after spending the last 9 years living and working in several countries in Africa, primarily based in South Africa. He’s excited to help our clients solve the diverse challenges they’re facing in their various operations.
Can you explain some of the challenges you consult to your clients on in a few sentences and how you help them improve?
One of the more common challenges I have come across is assisting clients with re-developing a life of mine plan for a project. While the majority of mines have a robust life of mine plan developed at the beginning of the mines life, unexpected changes to metal prices, geotechnical conditions or production requirements can result in changes that make the initial life of mine plan no longer achievable. This results in many short term plans that attempt to ‘get back on track’ to the initial plan when the better response is to step back and evaluate the strategic plan of the asset and how best to develop it for the remainder of the mine life. Re-evaluating the life of mine plan allows the shorter term planning to focus on developing the asset rather than short term gains to achieve a plan which is no longer realistic.
What inspired your career in Mine Engineering & Consulting?
While I had always planned to study some for of engineering, I was encouraged to try mining by a relative who had worked in the industry for several years. I was interested in the potential to work around the world and at a variety of projects. While I have spent time working onsite, I prefer the challenges and variety of consulting on different projects.
What is the most satisfying aspect of your role?
It is satisfying to come up with solutions for mines that are experiencing problems due to unforeseen circumstances and producing designs and plans that allow the project to return to a safe and profitable state.
You’ve recently returned from living in several countries in Africa for over 9 years – what have you seen and what impressions have you come away with?
Working throughout Africa has left many memorable impressions from passing elephants on the drive to work in the morning in Botswana to flying into the jungle in Central Africa or the desert in Northern Africa. The common theme from the vastly different places throughout Africa was the requirement to work together with the local communities to develop sustainable projects that were successful for both the local community and the companies involved.
What are your best memories from starting out on mine sites over 10 years ago?
Some of my best memories have come from the large variety of people and cultures that I have had the opportunity to work with over the years. After starting out initially working in the Pilbara, WA, I never expected I would have had the opportunity to travel so far and wide around the world.
Fun fact: He’s lived in Australia, South Africa, Botswana, Mali AND Ukraine.
Connect with Chris on LinkedIn.
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