Case Study Info

  • Case Study : WASM ALUMNI
  • Alumni Member : Doug Marshall
  • Category : 50th Anniversary

WASM took the opportunity to recognize some of its longest- standing alumni at the 2016 graduation ceremony. Among those honoured was retired engineer Doug Marshall who had an outstanding career with WMC and was part of the exciting of the Kampalda nickel boom.

We asked Doug about his career and what he’s up to now.

1. Where were you born and when?

Kalgoorlie, November 1942.

2. When did you attend WASM?


3. What did you qualify as?


4. Where was you first job?

I began as a cadet in the engineering drawing office with Western Mining Corporation on McDonald St, opposite the School of Mines. I began part time studies at the school in 1958.

5. What was your best job?

I was the project manager for Roxby Management Services with WMC Resources Ltd between 1985-1989. I was responsible for engineering, development and construction of the Olympic Dam operations including mine, metallurgical, plant, township, power, water, roads and services on a greenfields site for an operation with an initial production of 50,000 tonnes per annum of copper and associated uranium, gold and silver.

6. Tell me about the boom time of the Kambalda nickel find?

I was working in the McDonald St office. Next door to us

was the loading dock used by geologists. One day there was great excitement with the unloading of a ute filled with core samples from diamond drilling at Kambalda. Some back-of- envelope calculations were done that compared the value of nickel percentages to the historic pennyweight/ton gold yardstick. Those calculations held and it was on.

WMC swung into action to get into nickel production in record time by harnessing people, plant and equipment from previous operations like the Silver Lake head frame and winder that came from Bullfinch via Victoria and air compressors from Bullfinch that were brought in from Coolgardie.

7. Can you tell me about your experience and achievements at WMC?

I was very fortunate to have gotten a job straight from high school and given an opportunity as a cadet to pursue further studies to become engineer with an exciting company which grew into an Australian resource major.

The McDonald St office was gold and exploration focused initially, but played a big role in broader projects.

These including the engineering associated with the Darling range bauxite exploration that later led to Alcoa becoming the major alumina producer in WA; the engineering for Australia’s first iron ore export project at Koolanooka/ Geraldton and, closer to home, the reopening of Mt Charlotte which incorporated innovative mining with diesel equipment.

After graduation, I went into operations at GMK then became the Senior Project Engineer/Construction Engineer for the Kalgoorlie Nickel Smelter.

Chief Engineer positions followed at KNS, KNO and KNR before I became involved in the Olympic Dam project.

I returned to WA as general manager of the WMC Engineering Services and was responsible for Group EPCM, project development, technology and consulting services.

Major project involvements included Mt Keith Nickel, Leinster expansion, KNS and KNR upgrades, Nifty Copper, and Olympic Dam optimisations.

In 1994, I went to Adelaide as WMC’s Manager Development and Technology Copper Uranium Division.

I was responsible for the preparation of feasibility studies and pursuing project financial and environmental approvals for the expansion of Olympic Dam from 85,000tpa to 200,000tpa copper production.

In 1997, I became Divisional Manager Major Project Copper Uranium. I was the client representative during engineering and construction of this major expansion and then responsible for the planning and execution of start-up and project completion and remedial works to achieve nameplate production. This completed 43 years with a great company.

8. What was your last role before you retired?

Before permanent retirement I took consulting assignments for various clients in reviews of operations and capital projects within the mining industry.

9. Where do you live now and what family do you have?

I live in Adelaide with my wife Barbara. I have four sons, she has two children and between us we have seven grandchildren.

10.    What are your retirement hobbies?

I enjoy cycling and golf. I was a competitive cyclist from an early age and represented WA in the late 50s. I had to give up racing after a bad accident in 2005, but still ride for fitness. I took up golf after retirement – it’s great for fresh air and social company.

11.    How you feel about your WASM 50th anniversary honour?

It was great to catch up with fellow old graduates, to share stories and to see how the school facilities have improved. It’s good to see new graduates continuing the proud traditions of the school.