About
Our Specialty

Global Mine Design Ltd (GMD) focuses on the optimisation of operational mine designs and planning schedules.  Our specialty is the incorporation of site-specific geoscience data into mine design and planning processes so that production decisions are made with an understanding of how current and potential future ground conditions may impact the desired outcome.

Our aim is to give you the confidence to continually adapt your life of mine strategy to match evolving ground conditions and changing production demands.  Our work incorporates all available data, rather than creating a fixed design or schedule that is only focused on one component such as revenue without due consideration of risk.  The result is a mine design or plan that is maximised for long-term safe, responsible and economic production.

Our Approach

At GMD, our skill and expertise lie in providing mine designs and planning solutions that identify and mitigate site-specific production risks.  Typical risks may include the onset of damaging seismic activity with expensive rehab work due to an un-optimised extraction sequence, or significant ground failures with production loss due to large-scale structures.  By incorporating geoscience data into the mine design and planning processes, our approach offers significant operational benefits to our clients in terms of improved schedule reliability, increased revenue and reduced production costs. 

Our philosophy is to:

  1. utilise all available ground characterisation data to improve mining performance and drive production-based decision making
  2. communicate our interpretation of data trends in a manner that is easy to understand and adopt within the overall mine planning process

We always aim to raise our Client’s confidence in their mine plan by accounting for inherent uncertainties that may expose potential production risks.  GMD personnel all come from operational roles, having developed their skills working as site-based mine engineers and scientists in challenging ground conditions around the world.  These experiences have fundamentally influenced how GMD operates and how we combine data from different technical disciplines in our approach to mine design and planning. 

Our approach advocates the use of as much data as possible, from as many sources as possible, but we have the skills necessary to filter these many streams of data down to critical risk factors.  Good characterisation of ground conditions is essential, and the types of data that we typically use include:

  • modern survey (e.g. LiDAR and photogrammetry)
  • ground monitoring (e.g. quantitative seismology, extensometer, reference photography, etc.)
  • numerical modelling (e.g. various elastic and inelastic codes)

Our experience of managing and working within high-stress and seismic environments has led us to develop a wide-range of analytical tools to characterise dynamic site conditions.  These data allow us to understand the current ground behaviour and investigate how conditions may evolve over the current mine plan. 

Once we’ve highlighted when and where key operational challenges may occur, we devise alternative options that lower risk but maintain a production focus.  Our mine plan solutions use the industry-leading Deswik® suite of mine planning software to ensure alignment with site data formats.  Our specialists also advise and facilitate ongoing monitoring and auditing protocols to validate and support ongoing mine design and planning decisions. 

Creating a mining strategy that properly accounts for site conditions offers huge benefits to long-term mine planning and design.  Ground control matters can be forecast with increased certainty, and secondary mine areas can be prepared in advance to maintain production rates through challenging production conditions.  Our forecasting of site conditions throughout the life of mine plan results in higher production rates, which directly improves the net benefit to the site or project. 

Our History

Global Mine Design Ltd was incorporated in 2013, in London, UK.  At the foundation of the company is a passion to understand ground behaviour in engineering environments, but it is our focus on operational mine design that sets us apart.

GMD solutions rely heavily on three distinct skillsets:

  1. analysis of geological, geotechnical, and geophysical (mine-seismic) data
  2. planning of complex orebody extraction strategies
  3. communication of critical factors and potential impacts in an easy to understand manner

GMD has always been a technologically-driven company that uses, develops and promotes new technology across all of our work.  The interests of our team have led GMD to:

  • become experts at quantitative interpretation of complex data from the many different monitoring systems found in modern mines
  • pioneer integration of previously isolated datasets, such as seismic data in numerical models, in order to improve forecasting
  • become involved in industry initiatives designed to improve inter-operability and data transfer between geoscience datasets
  • develop mine planning processes that better utilise geoscience data to create realistic mine plans and improve overall mining performance
Working With You

Our goal is always to deliver safe, responsible and economic mine plans and designs.  GMD personnel originally developed their skills while working in site-based operational roles and so are intuitively able to understand challenges faced at client sites.  Our collective experiences enable us to work alongside site personnel more effectively and to transfer skills that deliver a reliable mining strategy optimised using site-specific data. 

Examples of how we regularly assist clients improve and maximise their use of data in their mine design process include:

  • ongoing support to mine technical services personnel
  • training to maximise the use of existing monitoring system data in mine design
  • expert reviews on mine designs and plans
  • creation of protocols for working in high stress/seismic conditions
  • design and cost-benefit analyses of monitoring system installation and expansions
  • quantitative interpretation of complex monitoring system data
  • design of static and dynamic ground support systems
  • creation of Ground Control Management Plans (GCMP) and Trigger Action Response Plans (TARP)
  • audits of mine designs, ongoing excavation conditions and performance, and management systems

We also support client feasibility-stage studies for new mines and expansions of existing mines.  Recent examples include:

  • geotechnical appraisals for mine expansion studies
  • economic optimisation studies exploring new orebody regions
  • design of new ore-handling infrastructure
  • creation of ore-handling management systems utilising ground monitoring data

Case studies highlighting some of our work are given in the Learning section.

Our People
Phil Earl - Technical Director and Chief Engineer

Phil Earl

Phil is a geotechnical engineer with over 20 years of post-graduate experience. His interests centre on the application of geomechanics, including applied seismology, to mine design and planning. Phil established Global Mine Design in 2013 in order to concentrate on developing tools and techniques that allow mine site personnel to make educated decisions on the state of their orebody when production planning.

Prior to this, as a graduate from Camborne School of Mines, and Western Australia School of Mines, Phil held operational roles on large civil engineering projects across the UK and Ireland, and mine sites in Australia and Canada. For his last employer, Phil travelled extensively throughout the company mines in North and Central America to share his geomechanics knowledge, developing a reputation for challenging historical routines through the use of advanced data analysis. His achievements in this field later won him and his team an Excellence Award for advancing the company's strategic objectives in improved economic mine planning.

Brian Wissent - Principal Mining Engineer

Brian is a Professional Engineer registered in the Canadian Province of Ontario with over ten years of hard rock mining engineering experience. Brian graduated from Dalhousie University in 2007 with a BEng in Mineral Resource Engineering. Upon graduation he worked at David Bell and Williams Mines, within the Hemlo mining camp in Northern Ontario, Canada. He has also worked at Goldcorp - Musselwhite Mine and US Gypsum - Little Narrows Mine.

Brian specializes in mine design and planning and has specific expertise in cut-off grade analysis, Life of Mine scheduling, reserve and resource estimations, mining method selection and optimization. Brian also has experience with design, procurement and installation of underground seismic monitoring systems and the integration of seismic data into mine design. Brian has worked on underground backfill research projects, which included instrumenting stopes during pastefill pours to measure the in-situ backfill strength, reducing binder content through the use of admixtures and designing cemented rock fill delivery systems.

Nicola Wilton - Business Support and Copy Editor

Nicola initially trained as a Hydrogeologist, starting her career with the UK environmental regulation agency.  Holding an undergraduate degree from Camborne School of Mines and a postgraduate degree in Hydrogeology from Reading University, Nicola later took hydrogeological contract work in Africa before moving to Perth, Australia in 2005 where she worked as a hydrogeological consultant on large-scale mining projects.

 In 2008, Nicola moved within her company to set up a new office based in Sydney, New South Wales.  This experience exposed Nicola to business skills and in 2011 she moved to Canada to work for Barrick Gold as Business Support Analyst.  Managing a capital budget of around $50M she liaised between corporate  and site management, and advised site personnel on supply chain and accounting issues. 

As well as providing project administration and business support to GMD, Nicola is a qualified proofreader and member of the UK Society for Editors and Proofreaders (SfEP) specialising in the review of scientific and technical documents.

Stephanie Green - Designer

Stephanie is a Senior Designer with over 12 years experience in the publishing industry. Stephanie became Circulation Director of an international publishing house at the tender age of 23, always first to get stuck in and work until a job is done.

Having worked in a variety of roles from production, marketing, to design and printing. She has that rare combination of artistic talent, marketing know-how and broad business experience.

Currently Director at Stephanie Green Graphic Design, working with a variety of clients within the engineering industry.

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