Q & A with Elexon Mining’s Dylan Whiteman

Elexon is a pioneer in electronically measuring ore recovery to assist underground mines in improving their extraction performance. Elexon’s mining solutions are used globally with clients across Australia and around the globe – including mines in Canada, Indonesia, Chile, Sweden and the USA. Dylan Whiteman, the Project Manager for Elexon Mining’s Smart Marker System and Cave Tracker System, talks about his role and the innovative technology used by these products.

What does your role at Elexon entail?
As the project manager I am responsible for delivering Elexon’s new projects to our clients on time and within budget.

It is very challenging to develop innovative electronic solutions for underground mines, as it involves equal measures of research and development. This requires the team to work very closely with mining companies and their mine sites, to trial the new technologies and products, which we are developing.

My work ranges from system requirements specification and architecture design to project financing, as well as planning and recruitment. The role extends to the first sales of new systems where the benefits, performance and installation details are discussed with new clients.

What do you enjoy most about your job?
It would have to be the challenging nature of underground monitoring. What we are doing has never been done before in the mining industry – so it is very exciting.

We are helping to provide answers to fundamental questions about underground rock-flow and ore-recovery. No one has been able to answer these questions before.

How does the technology Elexon creates differ from similar products available on the market? What makes it unique?
The products we develop, are unique. There are no other products for the mass mining industry, which are capable of being buried deep underground and tracked in real time over many years to measure ore flow and recovery.

There really is no other company that can do what we do.

How can the solutions Elexon is creating assist resource companies improve the way in which they operate?
Our solutions offer improvements to the mining industry in the areas of safety, ore recovery, process control and efficiency.

Miners are of course already very safety conscious, but the ability to monitor underground ore movement during production helps to further improve the level of safety. One example is by being able to monitor cave propagation on a day-by-day basis.

Improvements to ore recovery are being brought about by the ability to observe how the ore is actually flowing during extraction.

If ore is not moving as predicted it becomes possible to change draw or blast strategies. We can then observe how these changes have affected the ore flow. This offers mine managers and operators a level of process control that has never been available before.

Essentially our products offer a set of eyes into the mine.

Which resource companies are currently using Elexon’s technology?
Companies currently using our technology include, Newcrest, Rio Tinto, BHP Billiton, LKAB and Xstrata at various locations around the world. We are also in discussions with other resource companies that are interested in our products.

What do you enjoy doing if not working on Elexon’s unique technology solutions for the mining industry?
I enjoy music and spending time with my young family. I also enjoy hiking – but our young ones are a little too small for this yet!

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