60 seconds with Allan Kerridge

This month’s instalment of our 60 seconds with blog series introduces Allan Kerridge from Maptek Brisbane.

The quick hitters

Position: Mining Engineer – Mine Planning
Background/expertise: Surface Coal Mine Planning
Years of mining experience: 16 Years
Joined Maptek: 2016

Behind the expertise

What got you into mining?
I was fascinated with the scale of everything. Everything seemed huge, from the size of the mine to the tonnages they moved every day.

Why did you decide to join Maptek?
Computers and software have always interested me. Designing software tools that make people’s lives easier and more productive is very satisfying. Maptek is the perfect place to combine my mining experience with my interest in software.

What do you like most about your job?
Combining feedback from users, and trying to come up with new tools that elegantly solve their problems. The process of working with our programmers to bring the ideas to reality, and then iterating through improvements until we have something that is intuitive to use, and works smoothly.

What major projects have you been working on recently?
I’ve just completed writing the functionality that helps our customers to model the physical and chemical properties in their stratigraphic deposits and apply the output across various mine planning and scheduling tasks. In addition I’ve been helping to ensure the new short term Epoch tools in Evolution are ready for the coal market. These were released in Version 6 in October.

The latest version of Evolution delivers improvements for multi-element cutoff grade optimisation, capital expenditure decisions, setup and reporting.

What key lessons learnt in your career would you like to share?
Take the time to learn new things (including software), and experiment with different ideas. It can be hard to do, but it generally pays off in the long run – one day you will be faced with a problem, and your experiments will provide the answer.

What do you think is the next big thing in mining technology?
Automation and AI has already made huge inroads into the industry. The next step will be more generic AI that can understand all the information being collected, and start to recommend decisions that take into account more factors than a person could reasonably hope to. This will require a mindshift for engineers, who generally hate the idea of a black box making decisions that can’t be checked or understood.

Read how a new Maptek geological domain modelling process employing machine learning delivers accurate shapes and volumes in a much shorter time.

What’s your favourite Maptek product?
Evolution. It offers the traditional scheduling tools that we are all used to. At the same time, the use of Genetic Algorithms is a unique and powerful approach to scheduling, which can solve problems that up to this point have been impossible, or impractical to solve.

Any tips for our readers?
Read the release notes for software updates as we’re always introducing new features to make your job a whole lot easier.

Allan Kerridge
Mining Engineer – Mine Planning
December 5, 2019

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