Ruth Allington - Mind the gaps! Transforming the value of multidisciplinary risk assessments...
Updated: May 31
Mind the gaps! Transforming the value of multidisciplinary risk assessments through dialogue and joined up thinking
In this talk, I’d like to share some of my personal experience of the value of acquiring, developing and applying ‘soft’ professional skills such as problem definition, communication and facilitation, and dispute resolution/dispute avoidance alongside technical and scientific expertise in the successful whole life design of quarries and open pit mines.
I am absolutely persuaded that their deployment alongside and as part of the technical work contributes at least as much to achieving the essential balance depicted in Fig 1 between key groups of ‘Modifying Factors’ than the most impressive expertise, academic pedigree, or the most complex analysis.
Fig 1. The balance to be achieved in an effective quarry design process
Throughout the project life-cycle, deployment of a team including all relevant disciplines at the right skill and experience levels, at the right times, is clearly fundamental to ensuring achievement of the holistic and iterative approach depicted in Fig. 1, but is not enough on its own. Effective processes, structures, governance and cultures need to be in place to ensure that the project risks associated with the gaps, overlaps and interrelationships between the relevant technical disciplines are successfully recognised and managed as the detailed studies proceed. This entails challenging and avoiding tendencies to work in ‘silos’. Without care for the gaps, overlaps and interfaces throughout the project life-cycle (especially at the early stages), there is a danger of missing catastrophic down-side risks and failing to capitalise on ‘win-win’ opportunities.
The talk will present a tried and tested process model for managing the quarry design process whilst ‘minding the gaps’ and will highlight the relevance of this approach to larger mining projects with much longer project time-scales and more entrenched disciplinary ‘silos’.
 CRIRSCO International reporting template for exploration results, mineral resources and mineral reserves (http://www.crirsco.com/template.asp)
 Based on figures in A Quarry Design Handbook, 2014 (GWP Consultants LLP and David Jarvis Associates – free to download at https://gwp.uk.com/publications-and-research/a-quarry-design-handbook)
Slides are available below:
Ruth Allington has more than 38 years of experience as a consultant to the construction raw materials sector, specialising in the evaluation of resources and reserves and in the responsible design of quarries and pits to recover them. In addition to her BSc and MSc degrees, she also has an MBA, and she is a qualified commercial and community mediator and facilitator and experienced expert witness.
She is committed to promoting the highest professional standards amongst geologists and others involved in the application of geoscience, particularly through the promotion of professional titles such as CGeol, and EurGeol, and has served on the Council of the Geological Society of London and is a past President of the European Federation of Geologists. For many years, she has been a member of the Pan European Reserves and Resources Reporting Committee (PERC).
She is passionate about promoting ‘joined up thinking’ and encouraging collaborative approaches to problem definition, problem solving and dispute resolution based on effective communication and co-operation between the wide range of professional disciplines involved in quarry design, planning and management, and also in facilitating effective communication between the public and operators or developers (and their advisors).
Allington Collaborative Problem Solving Ltd,Oxfordshire, United Kingdom.
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