Spotlight on our Team – Paul Blackney

Meet Paul Blackney, our highly respected Executive Consultant, bringing an exceptional wealth of experience to the table! With more than 40 years of technical and operational expertise in geology, Paul has been an invaluable resource geology consultant for more than three decades. We sat down with Paul to learn more about his journey and what inspires him at Snowden Optiro.

Q: Can you tell us a bit about yourself? And what inspired you to join Snowden Optiro?

Paul: I’m a Victorian by birth and lived on King Island in Bass Strait during my teenage years before completing all my tertiary education in Tasmania. I started my mining industry career at the beginning of 1983 as a graduate mine and exploration geologist with Hamersley Iron based at Paraburdoo. The contrast between a Tasmanian and Pilbara summer was profound! Paraburdoo shade temperatures hover around 42C in summer, whereas anything exceeding 25C was considered a heat wave where I lived in Tasmania! I met my future wife in Paraburdoo, and we have two sons who are in their mid/late 20’s, both with careers in IT.

My interests were clearly developing into the more numerically focused roles of geological tasks, and in early 1989, I saw a position advertised for a ‘Senior Resource Geologist’ with a consulting firm called Snowden and Associates. I applied, got the job, and found myself to be the fifth company employee preceded only by Viv Snowden, Christine Standing, Sharon Williams, and Phil Snowden. I started with Snowden in mid-1989, which means I’ve been consulting for over 30 years.

Q: What is your current role at Snowden Optiro?

Paul: I’m one of the ‘Executive Consultants’, which has something to do with my no-hair/grey hair status and 40+ years of ‘industry experience’!

Q: What does your typical day at work look like?

Paul: A typical day is project-oriented, which could entail the creation of a Mineral Resource estimate (MRE), supervising others building an MRE, delivery of a technical training course, or undertaking a technical audit of a project for M&A related due diligence.

Q: What do you like most about your job?

Paul: Dealing with the practical technical challenges relating to MRE (if this is not aligned with a tight timeline!)

Q: What is the most challenging part of your work and how do you deal with it?

Paul: Staying within budget in terms of time and cost while maintaining quality has always been the biggest challenge, especially when juggling multiple projects. One measure of success as a consultant is when a client treats you like a member of their company.

Q: What are your interests outside of work?

Paul: I used to be a very keen scuba diver and trained up to dive master level before learning to fly in the mid-1990s. The flying displaced the diving, and a few years after completing my private pilot’s license, I learnt that it was possible to build a full-size aircraft from a kit – for some reason, this seemed like a good idea and led to me building a two-seat aircraft called a Van’s RV-6 in my spare time over an eight-year period, mainly in the garage at home. I did the first flight in my plane in 2008, and I’ve now logged just over 1,000 hours total flying time. This includes several trips across Australia and a reasonable amount of formation flying. If the weather’s nice down south, my wife and I will fly down to Augusta for lunch, about 1.25 hours flying each way cruising at around 280 km/h.

I’ve also got a developing interest in astrophotography, which I’ve been learning about for a little over a year.

Thank you, Paul, for taking the time to share your experiences and insights with us. Wishing you continued success in your role as an Executive Consultant at Snowden Optiro!

Paul Blackney – Australia Day 2020

Join us in celebrating Paul’s incredible journey and the invaluable contributions he has made to our team and clients over the years! Stay tuned for more spotlights on our amazing team members.

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