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Enthalpy at the Mines and Money Conference, London 2015

Mines and Money

Enthalpy staff will be attending the Mines and Money 2015 Conference November 30th – 4th December, London. Please contact enquiries@enthalpy.com.au for more information.

For more information about the conference, please visit:

Mines and Money is the leading international event series for capital-raising and mining investment, where investors and developers come together to network, hear market analysis, compare investment options and share knowledge.

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Project Evaluation 2016

Neil Cusworth and Don Hunter


Recent project failures have put into question the use and relevance of benchmarking and also independent reviews, forcing a rethink of traditional processes and procedures.

With cost estimates and schedules dramatically varying from lows seen around the global financial crises, to peaks experienced in the recent mining boom, benchmarking has ranged between essential to misleading.
Profound shifts are now underway in future project delivery strategies, which will need to be addressed in terms of changes to cost plus “EPCM” strategies and their market drivers.

Peer reviews performed over the last decade have, in hindsight, ranged from failures in not preventing wrong projects proceeding to, in some cases, successfully ensuring Owners did not proceed with doomed investments.
It has been recognised by Owners and Engineers that neither the traditional benchmarking, nor independent reviews, or a combination of both, are now absolutely assured of producing reliable forecasts of project outcomes.

To be of value, benchmarking now needs to recognise highly volatile responses of the engineering and construction industry to the current and future markets for their services. A cost model is proposed of the capital costs and schedules of projects, able to be used to reflect changes in market forces over the life of a project.

Independent peer reviews need to become both realistic of past and current outcomes and more aware of predicting impacts of future dynamic markets, if the conclusions are to be of value.

By around mid-2015 the commodity cycle is forecast to be at the bottom, so ensuring benchmarking and independent reviews evolve into reliable and transparent processes becomes even more important. This can only be achieved with more transparent and analytical benchmarking, and business orientated independent peer reviews, that both recognise and can calculate the impacts of dynamic markets.

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Neil Cusworth | Non-Executive Chairman & Senior Associate

Neil Cusworth

Neil Cusworth | Non-Executive Chairman & Senior Associate

As Founder and Non-Executive Chairman, Neil has a Project Management Engineering career spanning almost 40 years. As a result of his extensive experience, Neil Cusworth is often called in to conduct specialist reviews of studies and projects for Australian and international mining companies.

Neil has worked extensively and globally on assignments as a Project Manager – Director and has undertaken a variety of specialist advisory assignments since 1996 providing ‘best practice’ systems and procedures for multinational corporations. BHP Minerals, Falconbridge, Billiton Plc and BHP Billiton, Codelco, Stanwell Corporation and Barrick Gold have incorporated these systems into their corporate processes, and continue to utilise them.

Neil is an experienced Project Manager in the resource sector with exposure in minerals, oil and gas and industrial building sectors.

Significant projects worked on have included: the Moline Gold Mine, Gordonstone Coal Mine, Queensland Magnesia, Sale of the Gladstone Power Station, Magnesium Metal Projects, Alumbrera Copper Gold Project in Argentina, Anaconda Nickel Project, and the Tenke Fungurume Copper Cobalt Project.

A Mechanical Engineer by training, with multi-discipline skills and an orientation towards commercial and project control aspects of the mining, resource and industrial sectors, Neil is a Fellow of the Australasian Institute of Mining & Metallurgy and a Member of the Institution of Engineers.

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Where have projects gone horribly wrong?

As part of the London Mines and Money conference at Enthalpy’s UK launch Neil Cusworth presented “Why, for the last decade, did the international Mining sector deliver so many bad projects – and importantly how can we stop history repeating itself”.

This article explores project mistakes and how to prevent them.

Since the boom in commodity prices and the rush to develop and construct new mining projects to meet demands for products, many projects have been analysed and stated to be failures.

Enthalpy has been involved in delivering a range of mining projects or conducting reviews of studies and projects over the last 25 years. We have also been involved in conducting many post project reviews.

Most of the public dialogue and particularly “Management consultants” point to cost and schedule overruns as indicators of project mistakes. But is this dialogue correct?

And what are the causes of the project failures?

Can these failures be prevented or do investors have to learn to live with the reality of risks in the mining industry?

So if a project fails to be robust enough to withstand swings in commodity prices or cannot deliver the product tonnages forecast, or suffers exchange rate changes then capital costs overrunning and schedule delays will be just minor issues.

Click on the link below to download a copy

Presentation – Goodenough College – EEU – Dec2015 Rev D