30 November 2010

Australian and international mining industry experts will discuss how to improve mine risk management practices in a forum at The University of Queensland (UQ) today (Tuesday, 30 November 2010).

UQ’s Minerals Industry Safety and Health Centre (MISHC) is hosting the forum titled “Effective Risk Management in 2010: An Australian Minerals Industry Perspective”.

Forum organiser, Associate Professor Philipp Kirsch, said the value of risk management and the need to regularly re-assess risks in mining would be discussed.

“This forum will look at how site level risk management and corporate risk management combine to help improve the business,” Mr Kirsch said.

“Panelists will be asked to share recent developments and discuss moving risk management theory and application forward to improve risk management practices in the minerals industry.”

Mr Kirsch said risks were not static and there were many examples in the Australian minerals industry of fluctuating corporate risks and operational hazards.

“In some cases, threats or hazards that were initially assessed to be a moderate risk increase to higher risk levels, even catastrophic levels,” Mr Kirsch said.

“If risk assessments are not reviewed after these changes, controls become inadequate and losses occur. “

Mr Kirsch said most mines have a documented Safety Health Management System (SHMS) that on paper meets the requirements of legislation.

“However, the key to improving the safety of mines is for the workforce to have an active understanding and involvement with their site’s SHMS,” he said.

“The most perfectly written procedures are useless without an understanding of how to implement and apply them into every task within the mine.

“A safe mine and mine culture does not happen by accident, it takes planning, effort, team participation and continual review.”

World leader in the development and implementation of risk management practices in the minerals industry and MISCH director, Professor Jim Joy, will facilitate the forum.

Forum speakers will include Erik Mather (Managing Director of Regnan); Tony Macko (Corporate Secretary of Centennial Coal); John Summer (Chief Risk Advisor for Rio Tinto); Martin Webb (Vice President Risk at BHP Billiton); John Hempenstall (Chief Risk Officer of Centennial Coal); and Peter Wilkinson (risk management consultant).

For more information and to register to attend the forum go to the website http://www.dyadem.com/riskconference/

Media: Assoc Professor Philipp Kirsch (0488 797 977 or p.kirsch@uq.edu.au) or Kathy Grube at UQ Communications (0418 524 297, k.grube@uq.edu.au)