Robert S. Dowdell
Consulting Mining Engineer

 
 
B.Sc (Mining Engineering; Hons 2.1)  Ph.D (Rock Mechanics)
University of Newcastle upon Tyne 1962 - 1968
Chartered Mining Engineer, MIMMM, Euro Engineer
 
Residing in Newcastle, England and Nerja, Andalucia, Spain
0044 7872 502 380 or 0034 620 511 069

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With over 40 years of practical experience in underground and open pit mining for copper, lead, zinc, gold, silver and diamonds, Bob has acquired a very strong technical background.  He worked for 19 years with Cominco in Canada, Spain and South Africa and later with Geevor and CMD, becoming an independent consultant in 1991. Besides being strong technically, Bob has also received financial training as a mining analyst. He has been a technical director of several companies.

Strengths:- mine planning/budgets, selection of cost effective mining methods, estimations and auditing of operating costs, analysis of capital costs and infrastructure for new and expansion projects.

  • Mining project evaluations through financial analysis. Strategic planning to select optimum case.  43-101's.
  • Due diligence and scoping/feasibility studies. Looking for innovative solutions to challenging mining situations.
  • A strong overall knowledge of the mining industry
  • Able to converse in Spanish, and lately picked up a little Portuguese.
CONSULTING MINING ENGINEER since 1991

Aura Minerals inc, Brazil and Honduras. (2013 ongoing)  Assisting in the re-opening of the Pau-a-Pique undeground gold mine (Avoca mining) in Brazil.  Mine design and planning of the Ernesto deposit, also undergound gold (drift and fill mining proposed).  In Honduras, Aura operate an open pit heap leach gold mine, and an updated life-of-mine plan is in progress.

Starboard Global, Spain.  (2014 ongoing)  Retained to evaluate the re-opening of two tin-tungsten underground mines in Galicia, Spain.

Solid Resources, Spain. (2013)  Co-authored with Adam Wheeler a 43-101 Technical Report on the Alberta I (Presqueiras) tantalum-tin-lithium pegmatite dyke deposit in Galicia.

Aura Minerals Inc, Mexico. (2013 to date)  Aura placed the Aranzazu Cu-Au underground mine at Concepción del Oro in Zacatecas State, on care and maintenance in December 2014, assisted in the new feasibility study and planned re-opening.  

Arbiodo Project, Chile. (2012) Arbiodo is a green field iodine/sodium nitrate project in the Atacama Desert. During 2011 it was extensively drilled to develop measured and indicated resources. Engaged to prepare a pre-feasibility study and financial analysis. This project, which shows a very favourable return on investment, is currently "for sale" as it is not a core business for the present owner.

Great Panther Silver, Guanajuato, Mexico (2011 and 2012) Retained to provide underground mine planning services/supervision. Preparation of 1 year development and production forecasts.

Platina Resources Limited (2011 to 2013)  Providing preliminary economic analysis and pre-feasibility studies for Platina's two main projects, the Skaergaard PGM layered intrusive in Greenland, and the Owendale platinum-scandium laterite deposit in NSW, Australia.

Orvana Minerals Corp, Asturias, Spain. (2010 to 2012) In 2009, Orvana acquired 100% of the El Valle-Boinas/Carlos gold mine, which was formerly operated by Rio Narcea Gold Mines. Retained, along with Adam Wheeler, consulting mining engineer, to complete a mining plan and calculate the mining reserves for a bankable 43-101 technical report (co authors).  Based on this report Orvana was able to raise funds and develop the mine to production.  During 2012, there was an ongoing consulting relationship with the company.

Alluvial Gold. Ghana (2008 and 2009). Advised on the development of an alluvial gold mining operation in Ghana for a private client.

Black Angel Mining Ltd, Greenland (2005 to 2013) Ex-Director and technical advisor. 100% owned by Angel Mining plc. After many geological and mining studies and additional exploration drilling, efforts to raise financing to re-open this mine were not successful.  Ownership of the licences has since passed to another company.

In 2009 Angel Mining purchased the Nalunaq gold mine in southern Greenland. This mine was re-opened on a modest scale by building a gravity/leach process plant inside the mine allowing doré to be made on site. Previous operators incurred high costs by shipping ore to Europe/Canada for processing.  Involved with the initial appraisal to purchase and subsequent re-opening.  This mine was closed in 2013.

Volcan Compania Minera S.A.A., Peru (1997 to 2012) In 1997 advised the Volcan board of directors in their successful purchase from Centromin of the San Cristobal and Andaychagua lead-zinc-silver mines for $127M. Again in 1999, Volcan successfully acquired the Cerro de Pasco lead-zinc mines for $ 62M. Formed a small group of engineers and geologists to undertake the internal 'due diligence' studies and subsequently to assist Volcan in the management and planning of these operations. In year 2000, Volcan privately acquired Chungar's Animon mine, and consequently became one of the largest zinc mining companies in the world.  About 6 months a year were spent with Volcan, mainly on short and long term planning, but also as a general consultant. Since 2007, several technical visits have been made to advise on major projects, the last being in 2017.

Atacama Minerals Chile (2005 to 2012)  Atacama mines 'caliche' in the Atacama desert to produce Iodine. Together with Adam Wheeler, completed NI 43-101 resource and reserve statements for 2005, 2006 and 2007. Also prepared financial models incorporating future sodium sulphate and potassium nitrate production, which was used for bank presentations. Recently, a more efficient agitation leach plant has been built with the intention of replacing the traditional heap leaching methods. Prepared financial analyses (2009, 2010 and 2011) of the many operating alternatives. 

Alexander Mining plc. Argentina (2007 and 2008) Completed open pit mine planning and detailed cash flow analyses at their Leon Project in Salta Province, Argentina.  Analysis of feasibility studies to find the optimum throughput for various CapEx investments.  The Leon Project is a copper oxide open pit and heap leach to produce copper cathodes via an SX-EW plant.  An unusual aspect of this project is the use of ammonia as the leaching agent.

North Atlantic Natural Resources, Sweden (2004 to 2006), subsequently Lundin Mining. Prepared detailed life-of-mine plans and production schedules for NAN's underground copper-zinc Storliden Mine in Northern Sweden. The mine was small but high grade, and was mined by different variations of cut and fill mining. 

In January 2005 an independent valuation of both the Zinkgruvan and Storliden mines was completed for stockbrokers in Stockholm who were retained to give a 'fairness opinion' for the independent shareholders of NAN.

Compania Minera Atacocha S.A., Peru (1997, 2000, 2004 and 2007) Retained on four occasions to give advice on the mining operations, mine planning and other matters relating to the Atacocha lead-zinc-silver mine in Peru. Atacocha at that time produced about 120,000 tonnes per month of copper-lead-zinc-silver ores from the multi-vein underground mine.

Hambledon Mining Limited, Kazakhstan (2003) Together with Adam Wheeler, designed and planned the layouts for a new mine at Sekisovskoye. This comprised detailed mine planning and costing for a 500,000 tonne per year underground gold mine using cut-and-fill and skrinkage stoping.

Picobello, Galicia, Spain (1998). Designed and calculated costs for open pit mining at this andalucite deposit. Included selection of suitable tailings disposal sites.

ZCCM, Zambia (1997). Worked with MRDI in the valuation of the Nchanga and Nkana Divisions, comprising open pit and underground mining of copper-cobalt ores. Represented ZCCM in discussions with various parties to privatise these operations.

Bougrine Mine, Tunisia (1997). Completed a valuation of this mothballed lead-zinc mine, however, the client failed to achieve a successful purchase in the subsequent auction.

Nelson Gold Corp, Tajikistan (1995-1996). Manager, Taror Gold Project.  Verification of Soviet geological data for a bankable feasibility study, requiring underground development and sampling.  Underground and open pit mine planning, using Datamine.  Later, represented Nelson Gold in the technical assessment of a bankable feasibility study undertaken by Bateman, for the Jilau gold heap leach project.

Lonrho Plc, former USSR. (1994). Valuation, with a view to purchase, of a producing antimony mine in Tajikistan, and evaluation of potential gold mines in Kirgizstan and Tajikistan.

ZCCM, Zambia (1993-1994). Year long assignment for consultants MRDI, on behalf of the World Bank, in Zambia to plan the future of the Mufulira copper mine, which recommended a major change of mining method from open stoping to mining with backfill.  This was expected to solve the geotechnical problems at depth.

Glencar Explorations Ltd, Hungary (1991). Pre-investment financial evaluation and technical review of the Hungarian State Uranium Mining Company.  The underground mines at Pecs required modernising and the assignment involved calculating the financial restructuring capital needed.

Renasa Exploration, Spain (1992). Evaluation and financial presentation of plans for the development of a new underground lead-zinc mine.  In connection with this project, visited the Ukraine to evaluate the use of Russian shaft sinking contractors.

PT Panen Antam Emas, Indonesia (1991-1992). Relief General Manager of the Chikandong underground gold mine which was under development on the Island of Java.

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Technical Director, GEEVOR PLC 1988 - 1991

Responsible for the technical management of the company's various metalliferous mining projects.  These included

Re-opening the Geevor tin mine in Cornwall, UK, which operated successfully for two years from Jan 1988 to Feb 1990, producing approx. 60 tonnes tin per month at the lowest costs ever achieved.  Eventually, closure of the mine was inevitable, in the face of continuing low tin prices, and the dewatering pumps were turned off in May 1990.

Construction of a gold treatment plant in Ecuador to treat run-of-mine ores and mill tailings.  This project was later sold as part of the Geevor plan for survival in 1990.

Norquest Resources (VSE), had acquired various properties in Canada, USA, and Costa Rica, and Geevor was appointed as operator.  As technical director, became responsible for these projects, including the Crown gold mine in Arizona, which produced for about a year before closing due to a lack of economic reserves.  The Canadian properties were all gold prospects, some of which were drilled but without a major success.  Geevor bought into the Costa Rican venture, through funding expenditures on exploration.

Exploration drilling of the San Martin open pit gold deposit in Costa Rica.  This property was an exploration success and was subsequently acquired by Ariel Resources.

Resigned from Geevor to pursue a career as an independent consultant.

Managing Director, CAMBRIAN MINERAL DEVELOPMENTS LTD 1987 - 1988
Established this newly formed joint venture, between the Robertson Group of the UK and SNC Engineering of Montreal, to provide mining / processing consultancy and plant construction services.  Major projects included

  • A potash - gypsum reaction process to make potassium sulphate and barium chloride on behalf of the New Brunswick government.  Laboratory scale trials were successful and pilot trials were pending.
  • Plans to build a concentrator for New Butte Mining Plc, who were at the time planning to re-open the old copper-lead-zinc-silver mines in Butte, Montana.
  • Advising Geevor plc in its plans to re-open the Geevor tin mine in Cornwall.

Resigned from Cambrian to join Geevor.

COMINCO LTD 1968 - 1987
In London 1980 - 1987
Cominco, headquartered in Vancouver, Canada, managed its international businesses through main subsidiary offices. London was one such office.

  • As Technical Director, Cominco Europe Limited, was mainly responsible for the operational planning of the two lead-zinc mines in Spain, Rubiales and Troya, the Black Angel lead-zinc mine in Greenland and the Hondeklip Bay alluvial diamond mine in South Africa, including the preparation of one, five and ten year business plans, forecasts and budgets.
  • Negotiated the technical details of a $25 million non-recourse, project loan for the Troya mine.  Also co-ordinated a $40 million guaranteed loan for the Rubiales mine.  These were with Canadian banks.
  • In conjunction with our joint venture partners, Trans Hex of Cape Town, planned and designed the successful South African alluvial diamond mine at Hondeklip Bay.  Board Director.
  • Deputised as Mine Superintendent of the Black Angel lead-zinc mine in Greenland during 1985. This was an underground trackless room and pillar operation.  Personally instigated a project to install a photometric ore sorter in the mine to upgrade mill feed, which was a technical success.
  • Cominco's technical representative at the Tara lead-zinc mine in Ireland and alternative board director.
  • Undertook many technical and financial studies as Cominco Europe looked for new business opportunities.
  • Cominco Europe also ran a large exploration group in Belgium and several evaluations were conducted on the more promising projects.

Teck assumed control of Cominco in 1987 and closed the London office as part of the new management regime. Although offered another position in Vancouver, for family reasons it was decided to stay in the UK.

In Spain 1975 - 1979
Cominco Ltd had controlling ownership of the local Spanish company Exminesa

Senior Mining Engineer at the Rubiales and Troya lead-zinc mines. Together with Jim Drake, planned the successful introduction of VCR (vertical crater retreat) mining at Rubiales, the first 100% application in the world.  Directly responsible for the introduction of the cemented hydraulic backfill system along with the design and installation of the cable bolting support method.  Visited mines in Australia and Canada to become familiar with the latest ground support techniques.

Supervised the initial feasibility study for the Troya mine, with work at Bechtel's Montreal office.

Supervised the underground ramp development at Troya, in order to test the ground conditions and obtain operating parameters for the final feasibility study.

Evaluated several other mining opportunities for various commodities throughout Spain. Including a detailed assessment of the Riocin lead-zinc mine and other assets held by Real Compañia Asturienne.

In Canada 1968 - 1974

Mining Analyst (1972-1974) for Cominco's exploration division, Vancouver Head Office.  Attended the Colorado School of Mines to learn financial analysis techniques.  Evaluated many projects and opportunities including the Tara mine in Ireland, which at the time was being delineated by diamond drilling, but Cominco's attempted take-over only resulted in obtaining about 25% of the stock. Among many other interesting evaluations were porphyry copper mining opportunities in Chile and the lead zinc deposits of Bathurst Norse Mines in NWT, Canada.

Mining Engineer (1971-1972) at the Polaris lead-zinc mine on Little Cornwallis Island in the Canadian arctic. Built the first mining camp and supervised the underground ramp development, contracted to J S Redpath, and diamond drilling etc to assess the practicality of mining in permafrost. The decline established a world record for the rate of advance of a -20% ramp, averaging 44 ft per day for 3 months, without missing a round. A +40% combined lead zinc sample of 5,000 tonnes was shipped to Montreal for metallurgical testing.

Mining Engineer (1970-1971) at the Pinchi Lake mercury mine near Fort St James, BC, Canada. Open pit and underground trackless mining (cut-and-fill) at 750 tpd, using hydraulic deslimed tailings as backfill. The small open pit only operated in the summer.

Senior Rock Mechanics Engineer (1968-1970) at the Sullivan lead-zinc mine, Kimberley, BC, Canada.  This was a large underground mine at 10,000 tpd.  Supervised a 5-man department, measuring pillar stresses to determine an appropriate sequence of extraction and generally advising the mine planning department on geotechnical matters.  Member of the National Canadian Advisory Committee on Rock Mechanics.

Job experience while at University included working as a miner at the Groverake fluorspar mine in Weardale, County Durham, and as a miner at a highly mechanised underground limestone mine in Norway.  Post-graduate thesis was entitled "Strata Movements Above a Longwall Face in the Vicinity of a Large Fault", and comprised taking many extensometer and stress measurements in old coal seams as a longwall face passed beneath. The site for this work was under the North Sea at the Vane Tempest Colliery, Seaham Harbour, County Durham and the project lasted 3 years.

Born in Altrincham, Manchester and attended school in Stockport.  Queen's scout.  Played lacrosse for Offerton.

 

 

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