Life of Mine Planning

MEC Mining was engaged by ASX listed company operating an open cut mine in Scandinavia to undertake a full review of their deposit and to produce a Life of Mine (LOM). The goal was a plan that was to be both sustainable and achievable whilst maximising economical mining reserves and confidence. MEC produced a plan with the following strengths: 

  • Developed a solid Life of Mine Plan for the client and with much better understanding of risks in realising this plan. 
  • Supplied an understanding of the economic feasibility and ultimate pit limits of all pits across their tenement. 
  • Nameplate Production achieved consistently for the majority of the LOM plan and mine life increased to CY40 
  • Crusher move postponed significantly deferring US$16M in capital. 
  • LOM Plan achieved with the existing digger fleet, negating requirements for major CAPEX associated with fleet upgrades. 
  • The LOM Plan ore supply aligned with mining and mill/processing plant capacities 

Continuous Improvement

A major multinational mining company was seeking assistance with improving the mines performance due to pressures resulting from low commodities prices. MEC supplied an experienced Principal Mining Engineer to audit the sites performance and work with the management team to develop a strategy to improve the sites performance. This review resulted in a multi-pronged strategy to target:

  • Implementing productivity improvement projects
  • Improving mining planning systems, skills and culture
  • Developing more effective engagement between operations and mine planning

MEC supplied a team to assist the companies own employees make the changes. The key to the success of the project was the engagement and involvement of the workforce in the improvement projects. The project team identified and implemented significant improvement projects across the three key areas.

Bringing Realism to Feasibility Studies

With the experience gained from a variety of different mining backgrounds and a good mix of operational and planning experience MEC is able to provide a holistic and common sense approach to feasibility studies. By assessing the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats presented by various mining scenarios, the team is able to differentiate between what could be achieved and what will be achieved.  This in turn produces best practice mining solutions, produces real world outcomes and provides a high degree of confidence in all projects undertaken for ours clients. 

This process of applying realistic evaluations to Life of Mine Plans (LOM) was utilised by MEC at an iron ore mine in Scandinavia where impracticable costs were used to create an optimised pit. By drawing on the pool of knowledge at MEC an updated pit shell was developed which when scheduled removed significant ore gaps within the LOM.

Agile advisory services

Our Mining Advisory Team is agile and cover a broad range of projects for our clients. One day you could be on-site conducting Mine Audits or Mine Project Reviews and the next day you could be back in the office working on a Due Diligence Study or Mining Project Evaluation. But no matter what your assignment it, MEC Mining has an engrained focus on leveraging the combined knowledge of our team to deliver quality outcomes.

With a team comprised of some of the best Mine Planning Engineers, Resource Geologists and Geotechnical Engineers that Australia has to offer, the collaborative project approach has proven itself as a successful tool for Business Improvement and providing Value Engineering for our clients. 

Be Prepared: Coal Mining in a Post-Covid World

This webinar, focusing on coal in Australia, is a timely opportunity to provide mining leaders with a perspective on the evolving situation.

Aside from the human tragedy created by the coronavirus pandemic, the global economy has been rocked. The volatility of the markets has seen stocks plummet and the short to medium term outlook is highly uncertain.

In the midst of all this upheaval, the mining industry in Australia has done an incredible job staying operational. But it is now time to start preparing for the future.

This Webinar, focusing on coal in Australia, is a timely opportunity to provide mining leaders with a perspective on the evolving situation, future implications for the global coal market and ways the industry can adapt to the changing market conditions.


Mark Gresswell – Commodity Insights

Mark has over 20 years’ experience as a resource and energy consultant in Australia, New Zealand, Europe and the United States, including 5 years as a coal market analyst for Rio Tinto and 10 years as a coal market consultant.

Mark’s significant coal market experience includes global market analysis of both coking and thermal coal markets, coal marketing, country studies, pricing forecasts, demand and supply modelling, strategic analysis and asset/market due diligence for asset transactions.

Mark has built and led international consulting teams in the mining sector, and delivered strategic country coal studies on China, India, SE Asia, Indonesia and Canada for international mining, investment and infrastructure clients. He is a regular speaker at international coal market events.

James Cooney – MEC Advisory

With two decades of experience working with contract miners, mine owners and as a consultant, James specialises in long-term and life-of-mine planning; equipment selection; cost estimation; and financial analysis, including due diligence assessments in support of mergers and acquisitions.

Since re-joining MEC in 2017 as Principal Mining Engineer, James has undertaken a diverse array of Advisory roles, supporting clients as Competent Person for JORC Reserve estimation, conducting project reviews of international coal and metalliferous operations, undertaking Due Diligence in support of a major resource acquisition, and more recently providing strategic support to a Tier-1 mining house through their life-of-mine planning process. James leads the MEC Advisory team from MEC Mining’s Brisbane Office.

Steve Dyson – Deloitte Consulting

Steve heads the Transformation and Operations practice in Queensland for Deloitte and has 25 years’ experience in senior leadership roles.

Over his career Steve has been involved in a number of industry and business transformations across energy and resources, utilities, transport and manufacturing industries and has been involved in a number of award winning transformations.

Steve’s primary experience is in mining operations transformation and spans everything from establishing digital mining techniques and integrated mine planning through to DILO productivity studies and asset efficiency reviews for both high performing assets and distressed or end of life assets.

Steve’s experience spans across Australia, China, Japan, Korea, UK and Europe and USA and he has identified, facilitated and led improvements across a variety of organizations. Within Australia he has worked with a number of Clients including; Rio Tinto, BMA, Vale, Peabody, Anglo Coal, Newcrest, Aurizon and others.

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COVID and Investment

Since the onset of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the world has changed dramatically and at a significant pace. The world economy has been severely impacted and stock markets have seen substantial falls. The short to medium-term outlook is very uncertain. The impact of COVID on the market and our lives makes a decision regarding future investment difficult.

The impact of the pandemic on company turnover and earnings means many companies will have urgent funding needs, however, those with cash and liquidity will see opportunities emerge. The stock market decline and deteriorating economic conditions will provide a range of attractive opportunities to pick up companies at much lower valuations. The key is to determine the point where the markets have stabilized, and sensible conversations can be had about valuation.

It’s is currently a high-risk time in the investment cycle to be investing, however, there will be opportunities. The economic and social uncertainty and the likely prospect of a recession make proceeding with acquisition and investment opportunities a tough call. Fortune often favours the brave and during the mining downturn from 2012 to 2016 numerous deals were completed that strongly favoured the buyer:

  • Rio Tinto sells Bengalla stake to New Hope
  • Glencore and Bloomfield acquire Vale’s Integra coal mine
  • Western Areas acquire Glencore nickel operations
  • Barrick Gold sells Cowal Gold mine

Some might look back now and consider they did not move quickly or hard enough as the industry rebounded from those difficult times. The second half of 2020 and into 2021 may provide a similar opportunity.

How do investor groups position themselves to make the most of the opportunities that will be presented to them? The first step and most critical step is identifying the potential targets early and start the vendor assessment and due diligence process.

The MEC Advisory team has experienced mining team across a broad range of commodities that encompasses both underground and open-pit mining. We have close affiliations with other groups that allow us to access complementary skills as required. MEC can provide investor groups with a complete ‘one-stop’ technical due diligence on a mining project whether it is in operation or still progressing through the feasibility stages. For those mining projects seeking funding, MEC can also advise and assist them in the work required to position their mining projects where it will be most attractive to investor groups.

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Business Improvement: how to make it happen

MEC Advisory’s team provides technical and management advisory services to the mining industry that can assist companies which have been adversely impacted by the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Business and operational improvement audits are among the many technical services offered to the resources sector by MEC Advisory. We utilise our real-world experience coupled with deep domain knowledge to bring solutions to miners to embed operational improvements and to implement long term improvements to production and cost structures.

The company offers corporate strategy development and reviews, including organisational design and development, as well as organisational restructuring. MEC’s other key services cover the technical and financial valuation of mining projects (including due diligence); mining investment and transaction advisory; project management and planning; operational improvement; contracts and contractor management strategies.

Our Advisory team consists of industry veterans who provide a broad range of skills and experience. Strategic partnerships and/or associates are on hand to assist companies in areas that do not form part of MEC’s core business. MEC Mining offers commodity experience in coal, gold, copper, lead, zinc, silver, iron ore, and manganese, among others.

Mine truck on a mine site

Contract Mining: What’s your Style?

There are many scenarios that might result in a mine owner looking for assistance from a contract miner.  Choosing the right contracting strategy can be something of a mine-field (see what I did there?), depending not only upon the project objectives the mine owner is trying to achieve. But also, a mix of other considerations such as: operating experience; in house capability (or “bench strength”); resources (people and equipment); attitude to risk; geographic location; and financial capacity – to name just a few.  Often the timing around engagement of a mining Contractor is a critical consideration as well.

Continue reading “Contract Mining: What’s your Style?”