60 seconds with Sarah Barker


Sarah Barker – ‘The mining industry should be harnessing all that data to close the loop, making this data available to staff and breaking down the walls between departments.’

We work with some awesome people here at Maptek. Each person brings a unique insight, dynamic background, and loads of expertise to their role and team. What better way to highlight these individuals than to have them answer a few quick questions so that you can get to know them?

Welcome to the 60 Seconds With blog series.

In this month’s instalment of 60 Seconds With, we’ll get to know Sarah Barker, Technical Services Manager in our Edinburgh office.

The quick hitters:

Position: Technical Services Manager
Background/expertise: Underground and open pit metalliferous Mine Planning, Operations and Scheduling
Years of mining experience: 10
Joined Maptek: 2014

Behind the expertise

What got you into mining?

I like to say that I was going to be a Geologist until I learnt that, as an engineer, I could drive big trucks and blow things up. In reality, though, I was drawn to the problem solving aspect of engineering and the challenges associated with underground mine planning. Not to mention the global opportunities that the mining industry provides.

Why did you join Maptek?

All my mining career to date had centred around North West Queensland, in planning and operations.  I loved the opportunity to see more of the global mining industry and really help clients apply our solutions to their unique situations and get the most out of their Mine Planning teams, software, and deposit.

What do you do outside of Maptek?

I love walking the hills of Scotland and enjoying most of what the Scottish weather can throw at me. And when the weather gets to be a bit too much, I can generally be found in a cosy pub playing tunes with friends, or perusing their whisky collection.

What do you like most about your job?

Meeting so many people from vastly different backgrounds, experiences, and cultures to my own, and bonding over a mutual desire to solve a specific problem. And making sure that our customers get the best that they can from their resources.

What’s the most useful thing you’ve learned recently?

I’ve recently started familiarising myself in greater depth with PointStudio and getting a better grip on the reporting capabilities available within the package. The Design Conformance functionality would have been really handy when I worked on site for end of month stope reconciliation and performance meetings.

It’s really important to have access to as much data as possible to ensure we can learn from past performance and apply those learnings going forward.

How do you see mining developing in the future?

There are so many different variables in mining.  From the various aspects for staff to plan, optimise, and execute, to the long chain from mine to mill to customer within which their roles sit.

Blinkers need to be removed and people need to gain a better understanding of how their job impacts the larger value chain; how planning and geology can be better integrated and understood in Operations, how operational results can be fed back into the mine planning process, the impact drill and blast design will have on mill performance and recovery for example.

The data is there to access and the mining industry should be harnessing all that data to close the loop, making this data available to staff and breaking down the walls between departments.

What’s your favourite Maptek product? And do you have a tip for our readers?

Vulcan would be my all time favourite Maptek product as there is just so much that it can do. But I think the practical capabilities of PerfectDig can’t be overlooked. The ability to combine scan data, photographs, and design into an augmented reality environment for the rapid evaluation of Operations conformance to design has the potential to save sites time and money and identify potential safety issues.

I have a couple simple tips that I like to go through every time I’m on site training. For example, in Vulcan, you have the ability to overlay a triangulation with its slope, coloured using a specific legend. This is really handy if your orebody dip changes along strike and this in turn influences the mining method required for extraction.

Joseph Sykes
Marketing Manager EMEA
March 14, 2019

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