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MEI Online: General Minerals Engineering: Latest News: October 7th 2002

:: New Business Practice Looks Set To Emerge In Metals Industry  

A new mineral industry-based research project looks set to turn a challenging yet tedious and often inaccurate account-keeping activity into a proactive business practice based on an enhanced metal balancing process, according to JKMRC Technical Director Dr Rob Morrison. He said the project also aimed at producing a set of industry-wide standards.

In an effort to overcome traditional shortcomings in this area, AMIRA International has teamed up with the University of Queensland’s Julius Kruttschnitt Mineral Research Centre on the collaborative research project P754 aimed at developing standards and tools for metal balancing, reconciliation and reporting from mine resource to final product.

Dr Morrison who developed and conceived the P754 project said recent reports on corporate governance indicated emerging investor concerns that traditional semi-qualitative metal accounting practices provided insufficient confidence and transparency. He said P754 would build on existing JKMRC modelling and database technology to transform the metal accounting process from a costly and time consuming corporate encumbrance into a profit centre. “The project will work with sponsors from operating companies through to financial institutions to reach a degree of consensus regarding measurement, data analysis and reporting," he said.

Dr Morrison will provide technical management for the project, while AMIRA’s Johannesburg-based research coordinator Mr Richard Beck will facilitate sponsoring arrangements. Mr Beck said metal balancing combines a broad range of technical areas with which even the most expert engineers may not be fully familiar. “Forecasting in the metal accounting process is relatively imprecise, especially when compared to similar procedures in other industries."

He said the project outcomes would enable sponsoring companies to improve the credibility and transparency of metal accounting and the reconciliation reporting process. “The benefits of this project will be to reduce corporate governance concerns and use metal accounting to identify opportunities to improve operational efficiencies and profitability of operations."

Richard Beck
AMIRA's Johannesburg-based research coordinator Mr Richard Beck

Additional input into the project will come from institutions in South Africa and Canada, with much of the initial site work being conducted in those two countries, as well as Australia.

Mr Beck said AMIRA P754 would build on existing measurement technology to ‘attack the problems’ with current metal accounting and reconciliation practices in the minerals industry.

The key objectives of the proposed project are to:

  • significantly improve the credibility of metal accounting from deposit to saleable product
  • lead to the development of an agreed industry standard at corporate governance level
  • develop guidelines for metal accounting, data collection and analysis, reporting and audit
  • produce a data analysis toolbox which provides go/no go testing for metal balance data
  • develop and train engineers to become expert in metal balancing and reporting.

Mr Beck said these objectives would be addressed by a collaborative industry approach, providing sponsors with significant leverage on their research and development funds.



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Richard Beck
AMIRA International
+27 1146 51068

Dr Rob Morrison
JKMRC Technical Director
+61 7 3365 5888

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