Technical fundi Tony O’Neill, who put his imprimatur on game-changing technology during his short spell in South Africa, has been appointed with immediate effect to the board of Anglo American as an executive director, less than two years after taking over the company’s technology, business performance and safety responsibilities. O’Neill, who joined Anglo as group director technical in September 2013 after seeing to AngloGold Ashanti’s new mechanical-cutting mining technology passing its tests at the TauTona mine, is currently a director of Anglo American Platinum, where most platinum ounces produced in the next ten years will come from mechanised mining, and Kumba Iron Ore, where major mine rejigging has had to take place in line with falling prices.
He postulates increased mining productivity through a stable operating model facilitated by technology and the implementation of “disruptive technologies that can change the game”.
Anglo chairperson Sir John Parker described O’Neill’s technical experience as being fundamental to Anglo’s operational turnaround in the last 18 months.
“His appointment to the board signals our commitment to engineering excellence,” Parker added. Before leaving AngloGold, O’Neill replaced cautious optimism with confident rhetoric when he pronounced the company’s new automated approach as “a game changer for all the mines with similar orebodies”.
Strong early advancement of the technology, which puts an end to blasting, creates people less stopes and allows year-round, around-the-clock continuous mining that returns the focus back on to revenue, was taken from 2010 by a team in which former AngloGold Ashanti senior VP technical and now Dassault Systèmes executive Mike MacFarlane played a major role.
The new AngloGold technology targets mining all the gold, only the gold, all the time by putting an end to 40% of the precious metal being left behind in pillars, dilution rising as high as 200% and mining taking place during only 75% of the available shifts.
BY: MARTIN CREAMER CREAMER MEDIA EDITOR
Edited by: Creamer Media Reporter
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