60 Seconds with Thonno Marshall

Maptek Thonno Marshall

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 installment of 60 Seconds With, we’ll get to know Thonno Marshall out of our Johannesburg office.

The quick hitters:

Position: BlastLogic Product Specialist Mining Engineer
Joined Maptek: 01 December 2017
Where am I from? Kwazulu Natal, South Africa

Behind the expertise

As a more recent member of the Maptek community, how are you finding life at Maptek so far?

Joining Maptek has been such a great experience. It is very motivating to work with positive, driven people. I thoroughly enjoy engagements with fellow Maptek colleagues because of their efforts and the insights that they share.

What made you want to become a Mining Engineer?

Mining has become a Marshall family tradition, and so I followed suit. From a young age, I had always been more inclined to the engineering way of life. And after starting off in the mining industry as an underground miner, it became my goal to pursue the adventure of becoming a mining engineer.

You’re heavily involved in blasting, how is technology changing the drill and blast process in your opinion?

Drill and blast practices are the make or break of a mine’s downstream processes. The mining industry has been starved of accurate, historical drill and blast performance data. With the new developments in technology that enable near-real time tracking of compliance to design, we are seeing a big movement towards more proactive decision making. I feel there is a shift in the culture developing, with more accountability being taken to correct behaviour and manage drilling and blasting in a more controlled fashion.

If you weren’t in mining, what do you think you’d be doing?

I would most certainly be doing something related to music and playing guitar. Although, I would probably not have been as successful.

What do you like most about your job?

Engaging with new challenges. In the BlastLogic space, this is not in short supply! Each mining operation is different, and drill and blast has such a huge impact on downstream processes. I never get bored of working with our customers and demonstrating ways in which they can use BlastLogic to test, simulate and optimise individual steps in the blasting process.

What do you do outside of Maptek?

More recently, I have taken a liking to exercise and fitness and I spend many a weekend hiking. I enjoy spending time out on the farm with my family and, on occasion, with time off, I thoroughly enjoy a Scuba diving trip.

Do you have any key lessons you’ve learned in your career that you’d like to share?

Always maintain an open mind in accepting faults and errors you have made and see these endeavours as opportunities to improve. There is no substitute for hard work.

How do you see mining developing in the future?

In my opinion, we can’t overestimate the importance of real-time data.

Over the past few years, we’ve developed technologies such as PerfectDig, BlastLogic and Sentry that enable mining operations to use real-time data as a means to become much more reactive and nimble. These technologies allow them for example, to simulate different scenarios and to fix or avoid mistakes and risks much more quickly than they previously could. Let’s take PerfectDig for instance, our customers can use real-time survey data to check design conformance, such as overdig or underdig on a particular bench-section. In cases of underdig, they can quickly inform the excavator to return to a particular bench, rather than leaving thousands of tonnes of valuable ore. I definitely see the trend of real-time data continuing.

What’s your favourite Maptek product?

BlastLogic, but I am also enthusiastic about PointStudio and our laser scanners. They’re just such a versatile combination, with applications across the entire mine. Geologists can use fresh scan data to create more representative geological models. Surveyors can quickly get volumetric data for stockpiles or recently excavated benches. Geotechs can gauge risk by monitoring slope stability and identifying discontinuities. The list goes on and on.

Any last tips for our readers?

Never stagnate, always seek to learn and be proactive to change.

I strongly recommend our customers to take advantage of Maptek learning resources. As they get better at using Vulcan for example, they’ll find more and more ways in which it can help them in their work. I would point our customers in the direction of our webinars, bite-size videos and of course, our Online Training facility, which they can access if they are registered on the users area.


Joseph Sykes
Marketing Manager EMEA
February 14, 2019

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