Case Study Info

  • Case Study : WASM ALUMNI
  • Alumni Member : John Kelly
  • Category : 50th Anniversary

WASM took the opportunity to recognise some of its longest- standing alumni at the 2016 graduation ceremony. Among those honoured was retired surveyor and engineer, John Kelly, who rates his experience in Mongolia as a career highlight – and he’s still working on an underground gold mine in the Philippines. When retirement finally calls, John may well become the next Masterchef.

1. Where were you born and when?

I was born in Kalgoorlie in March 1943

2. When did you attend WASM?

I was at WASM from 1961 to 1966 inclusive.

3. What did you qualify in?


4. Where was you first job?

I joined Western Mining Corporation in its MacDonald street office from 1961 as a cadet draughtsman.

5. What was your best job?

My best job was probably at Mount Isa Mines from 1970. It was a great opportunity for professional development, and I was lucky to report to an excellent boss.

6. What was your career highlight?

Probably my input into the design of No 2 shaft for the OyuTolgoi project in Mongolia. This 10- metre diameter shaft system is a service and hoisting shaft and is a quantum leap ahead of existing shaft systems. It will have a 150-person main cage and a 10-person auxiliary cage. There will be a skip winding system which will hoist 54 tonne payload skips at 16.38mps from a depth of 1428m below collar, for production of 25,000TPD of copper/gold ore. I was engaged

by Ivanhoe Mines to oversee all aspects of engineering design, being done by McIntosh Engineering (now part of Santec) in their offices at North Bay in Canada and Phoenix In USA. There were many technical challenges with the project due to its size and complexity and the fact that the hoist tower would be constructed at a site where the temperature ranges from -40 to +40 degrees centigrade. Engineering design for No 2 Shaft was essentially completed in early 2009 while construction of the underground part of the project was put on hold pending an agreement with the Mongolian Government.

7. What are you doing now?

I am currently involved in an underground gold mine in the Philippines, initially sorting out the mine dewatering system.

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

I live in Perth with my wife, Margaret, and will celebrate 50 years of marriage later this year. We have a son Geoff, and daughters Peta and Samantha. We have seven grandchildren.

9. What do you plan to do when you retire?

I will continue to work on my golf handicap. I like cooking and will indulge my creative skills in the kitchen. Marg and I will continue to travel both overseas and in Australia. Our family continue to be a very important part of our lives.

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

The invitation to attend the 2016 Graduation ceremony in Kalgoorlie was indeed an honour. Marg and I were made to feel quite special during the day and evening activities. We caught up with some people we had not seen for a long time and also met many new people.