Maja Mining Ltd Managing Director and Principal Consultant Malcolm Titley began his career in the mining industry in 1981 - the same year Maptek was founded.
The University of Cape Town Geology and Chemistry graduate’s experience has in ways mirrored the evolution of Maptek as they both worked at the vanguard of using computers in mining.
Malcolm says that when he started his first job in Australia in 1981 there were limited computer facilities.
‘At that stage there were a few mainframes around and some very small PC-style terminals,’ he says.
‘I started my career in iron ore with Hamersley Iron and we developed one of the first geology databases using an accounting system because we wanted to be able to store the data and share the data across departments.
‘Then we developed what was called a ‘computer-assisted zone plan process’ where we created an ore reserve and grade control program for iron ore that blended geology and mine planning using Fortran code and aided by plotters and digitisers. This actually worked very well and was in a way a predecessor to block modelling.’
Having worked as a Computer Geologist at Telfer Gold Mine, Malcolm moved to a similar role at Metana Minerals in 1989 before returning to Hamersley Iron.
‘That was where the fun started with Maptek.
‘We had a very complex iron ore deposit with a number of dolerite dykes and sills running through it and we needed to model these sills in 3D and incorporate them into the block model.
‘I worked with a couple of Vulcan developers in Perth and together we sat down and planned how we were going to wireframe these deposits and integrate the results into our block modelling software.
‘It was a great process and Maptek was extremely supportive and creative in engineering improvements to streamline the process.’
Having witnessed huge advances in software and associated mining technology, Malcolm cites being able to help rescue the fortunes of the Placer Dome Granny Smith resource as a career highlight.
‘We inherited an operation that, unfortunately, was in the red and we were given six months to turn it around.
‘Luckily I had an exceptional general manager and we built an exceptional team of people.
‘We did a lot of innovative things to turn that around, to save cash costs and to improve recovery of gold, but the key thing was the people.
‘At the end of the day it's people who drive these processes and I think that's where the fun is in the industry.’
Malcolm says Maptek and its people have served the industry exceptionally well over the past four decades.
‘I’d just like to congratulate Maptek on being involved and continuing to be a leader in the mining industry.
‘I see them continuing to grow and diversify their software within the industry and I wish them success in continuing with that good work and being valuable contributors to our industry.’
Watch the full interview here.