It takes a smart dog to find hidden treasures

Developing a Mining Project

What Project Managers Dream

Most organizations, especially mining companies are primarily organized to explorer for and operate projects.  Which is what they should be organized for, because those are the long term and revenue generating parts (while many wish the exploration was shorter).  There is another whole area vital to a successful project, which is relatively short term and requires skills and resources not really needed for the rest of the mine life; construction and development. 


Developing and constructing a new mining project requires certain functions needed to properly manage.

Project Management

·        Overall Management of Project

·        Management of project gated process

·        Development of scoping documents

·        Development and implementation of Project  Execution Plans

·        Management of cost estimates and schedules

·        Project reporting

Project Controls

·        Development and execution of cost control

·        Development and execution of CPM (critcal path method) scheduling

·        Project Controls analysis and reporting

·        Project Accounting and reporting

Field Engineering

·        Engineering Liaison

·        Problem solving / RFI (request for information) coordination

·        Construction Support

·        Problem solving

·        Materials Management (receiving, warehousing, issuing)

·        Equipment Preservation Management

·        Traffic and delivery (equipment, materials)

Procurement / Contracts

·        Material and equipment Procurement

·        Expediting

·        Back Charges and ODCs (overages and damages)

·        Claims prevention

·        Contracting

·        Contract Management of Change

Document Control

·        Document Management and Control

·        Field Audits of Contractor Documentation

·        Close-out Documentation

Construction Services

·        Constructability and construction planning

·        Construction Execution Management

·        Start-up and Pre-Commissioning Planning Support

·        Safety, Security, and Training Support

So how do you do these functions, this is where some of the differences for mining come in to play.  First is location, few mining projects are in or even near major metropolitan areas (Rio Tinto’s Kennicott and the Arizona copper operations are probably the biggest exceptions).    Developing the staff to supply these functions can become difficult. 


While some of the functions will turn into permanent staff positions, many will be around for a fairly short time.  This leads into how to provide these services and personnel.  There are several approaches that have worked.

Direct Hire Model

·        Using your own or third party services, directly hire the personnel need to support the project.

Staffing / Secondment Model

·        Provide Project Delivery professionals to augment client’s staff

·        Personnel becomes a part of client’s staff and takes direction from client

·        Very effective model for client’s resource leveling

·        Very effective model to bring in skills that client’s team needs

Embedded Project Management Model

·        Project Management located on site

·        Engineering and procurement  performed in onsite or in home office

·        Efficiencies  in PM knowledge of site and client’s staff

·        Efficiencies in PM knowledge and relationships in home office

EPCM Agency Model

·        Full EPCM services in an agency format

·        Task Force approach to Project Delivery

·        Complete team or augmentation of clients Project Delivery team

·        Responsible for the overall delivery of the project or function

·        Onsite Project Team Model

·        Staff housed on site performing Project Delivery for client

·        Efficiencies with having dedicated team with knowledge of facility and relationships with client

·        Consistency with long term staff

·        Overflow capacity support from home offices

Home Office Model

·        All Project Delivery services housed in Eichleay home office

·        Project Manager assigned to client

·        Efficiencies in using Project Delivery on an as needed basis

·        Cost savings in having no need to house, and keep Project Delivery team busy

·        Cost savings and efficiencies in ability to level resources and deliverables

Finding the best for you and your project takes careful consideration, and Smart Dog Mining would like to help and is ready to discuss them with you.


MIke Albrecht, P.E.

o   40+ years’ experience in the mining industry with strong mineral processing experience in precious metals, copper, industrial minerals, coal, and phosphate

o   Operational experience in precious metals, coal, and phosphate plus in petrochemicals.

o   Extensive experience performing studies and determining feasibility in the US and international (United States, Canada, Mexico, Ecuador, Columbia, Venezuela, Chile, China, India, Indonesia, and Greece).

o    E-mail: