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Deswik User Conference 2018: Technology change experts head speaker lineup

julio 9, 2018

Technology is constantly changing the nature of mining processes and people remain a vital contributor to the successful implementation and management of complex production systems.

Two experts on technology and change management, Dr. Sidney Dekker and Mr. Alex Henderson, will be heading the lineup for the Deswik User Conference 2018, to be held on the Gold Coast from November 6 to 8.

Focused on the processes and learnings required to deliver improved mine planning, the conference provides attendees with the opportunity to learn the benefits of applying the latest technology and techniques to solve real-world mining problems.

As keynote speaker at the Deswik User Conference, Dr. Dekker will be discussing safety, complex systems and the seduction of techno-optimism.

Dr. Dekker has won worldwide acclaim for his groundbreaking work in human factors and system safety, in which he taught at Lund University in Sweden. During his time as professor at Lund, he also became a Boeing 737 pilot working out of Copenhagen. Currently, Dr. Dekker heads Griffith University’s Safety Science Innovation Lab.

“When it comes to getting complex technical systems to work, it often seems as if people are the weakest link,” Dr. Dekker said.

“We see them as a problem to control, and impose more compliance demands, surveillance and bureaucracy to keep a lid on the mess people might otherwise make. When that doesn’t work, we turn to new technology and automation to get rid of people altogether.”

Using his experience in other industries, especially commercial aviation, Dr. Dekker will explore the complexity of drifting into failure; how new technology changes human work rather than replacing it; and, how people create resilience within a patchwork of technologies, procedures, and production pressures.

Deswik has also announced special guest Mr. Henderson, president of Alex Henderson Consulting Inc, who will use the example of the Chelopech mine in Bulgaria to explain the implementation of step-change technology in underground hardrock mines.

Mr. Henderson has over 30 years experience in the mining industry, having transitioned from miner, to engineering, mine manager and project manager. His previous roles have included Vale’s General Manager in Underground Mining and Technology and General Manager for Mines and Mills Technology Services for the base metals North Atlantic operations.

“The purpose of my Step Change Process is to engage employees, at all levels of the organization, in the design for implementation of a new mining system that will use appropriate technology to at least double the key value drivers for the operation or project,” Mr. Henderson said.

“Technologies exist today that will enable a step-change in underground hard rock mining but we have not re-engineered our mining processes and re-designed our mines to take full advantage of these technologies.”

The aim of the Deswik User Conference is to provide a platform to learn, connect and exchange ideas with other mining professionals and gain practical insights and takeaways from their collective experiences. Over 20 case studies from real-world applications and examples of technology in use will be presented during the conference, with further speakers announced over the upcoming weeks.

Attendees will have the opportunity to take part in mentoring sessions throughout the conference and are encouraged to bring their data to receive personalized assistance. AusIMM Chartered members are also able to claim up to 24 hours of Professional Development for attending.

Early bird tickets are available until July 31. For further information or to register for the conference, visit