Through a dedicated career with Glencore, Archie Macpherson has ascended the ranks from Vacation Student to his current role as Senior Mine Planning Engineer, with amazing career opportunities that have taken him from Mount Isa Mines (MIM) to Glencore's Kidd Mine in Canada.
Archie's first encounter with Glencore was at MIM as a Vacation Student in 2010, where he says he enjoyed the 'vibe' and the challenging work that was offered.
Archie officially began his career with us in 2011 as a Graduate Mining Engineer at George Fisher Mine (GFM), completing his first 12 months on the surface as a Drill & Blast Engineer. Over the next year, Archie gained important underground operational experience before returning to work on the surface to contribute to developing GFM's Strategic Business Group.
The strategic group was the first to complete budget and Life of Mine schedules using sophisticated software packages such as Mine 24D, Studio 5DP and eventually, Deswik. They also implemented MSO; a stope optimising tool used to create reserve shapes quickly and run multiple budget scenarios using different price assumptions, stope geometries and mining methods. This work vastly improved the efficiency and accuracy in the planning process.
Before long, Archie was given the opportunity to act as the Senior of Medium to Long Term Projects at GFM. During this time, he was selected to participate in the International Secondment Program for Zinc Assets Australia. Through the program, Archie was seconded to Kidd Operations in Timmins, Ontario for 15 months as an Operational/Project Engineer.
During his secondment, a new set of experiences and work challenges presented themselves, taking Archie from the scorching 40 degree temperatures of outback Australia to the freezing minus 40 degree temperatures of Canada.
Archie says the vast differences in climate between GFM and Kidd Mine pose interesting challenges for both mines.
"Kidd Mine is three kilometres deep and to combat high temperatures at depth, Kidd draws air through an 'ice stope' to cool the lower mine in the summer. Alternatively, in the winter measures are taken to heat the upper portions of the ramp to mitigate the formation of icicles, fog and icy road conditions," says Archie.
When Archie first arrived at Kidd Mine they were beginning to integrate their long-term EPS model into the short term scheduling space. Drawing on his experience at GFM, he shared his knowledge to assist with the process and iron out a lot of the kinks early on. Before Archie left, Kidd Mine was using EPS for all short term scheduling and breaking it down weekly, in a format suitable for the operational end users.
Archie's role at Kidd Mine saw him responsible for the coordination and execution of the weekly plan. He also worked on a few projects such as improvements to the utilisation and efficiency of the automated loader fleet, improvements to the ramp and key transfer roadways, as well as, the drilling and installation of a 250 metre ceramic lined paste hole.
Archie says Kidd is a very successful mine which is now in its 50th year of operation.
"Kidd Mine have developed processes and systems which optimise the extraction of their orebody which is constantly becoming more and more difficult at depth, a lot of which can also be applied at GFM.
"In a constantly evolving industry we must always question why we do things a certain way and challenge the status quo with new ideas and innovation. This experience has put me in a good position to ask these questions."
Archie says living and working in another country was an amazing experience. Within the first few weeks of arriving he took up ice hockey and played one and a half seasons with the Kidd Mine team.
"I was absolutely terrible at the start but by the time I finished I was crashing into the boards much less often, although by Canadian standards I was still very bad!"
Archie's partner Aleace and their black Labrador, Ava also joined him on this once-in-a-life-time adventure and regularly made the most of the outdoor activities on offer, including snowboarding, curling, ice-fishing, cross country skiing and snow mobiling.
Looking ahead, Archie hopes to build on his learnings from Kidd Mine and continue working to refine his trade and further develop his leadership skills.
From his start as a Vacation Student, Archie has already achieved a lot in his short career with us to date. Through his career with Glencore, Archie hopes to continue taking on new challenges and opportunities, and work towards his next goal to progress further up the Management ranks.