He graduated in 1961 with a BSc degree in Mining Engineering from the Royal School of Mines, London, UK. Following this he went to Australia and obtained a position as a miner at the Peko mine in the Northern Territory. He later went to work for Mt Isa Mines Ltd as a contract miner and shaft sinker and was involved in the sinking of the K57 shaft. This was followed by a position as mining engineer for the Zinc Corporation in Broken Hill, where he undertook a variety of mine surveying and planning activities. In 1963 he moved to the USA and worked as a shift boss at the Climax Molybdenum mine in Colorado and then moved to Canada to work at Cominco's Sullivan mine as a mine engineer and research engineer.
In 1966 he attended Stanford University and obtained an MS degree in Mineral Management and then moved to Butte, Montana, where he was a mine planning engineer with the Anaconda company until he accepted an Associate Professor position at the Mackay School of Mines, Reno, Nevada in 1968. Currently, he is Professor of Mining Engineering and has the responsibility of teaching a number of courses including Mine Environmental Control, which covers most aspects of the underground working environment.
During his time at the MSM he has had the opportunity to design a new mine environment laboratory to help him teach and demonstrate the principles of mine ventilation and air conditioning. This 2500 sq ft facility is probably one of the best laboratories of its kind in the country. It has a wind tunnel, three variable speed axial fans and two centrifugal fans, an extensive duct system, a Foster Miller spray cooler, refrigeration, cooling tower, and air psychrometry demonstration units, a diesel engine test unit, and other smaller ventilation test equipment. In addition, there is a wide variety of ventilation measurement instrumentation both digital and analogue, several computers for ventilation network simulation, and a computer controlled model mine ventilation system. This laboratory has been used, not only for teaching, but for many research projects ranging from underground booster fans and controlled recirculation, to measurement of friction factor and thermal rock parameters. More recently he collaborated with the Desert Research Institute in a project dealing with the source apportionment of diesel exhaust emissions in an underground mine.
He obtained his Ph.D. in Mining Engineering from the University of London, he developed and tested a method for the insitu measurement of the thermal conductivity and diffusivity of rock. He is a member of the SME, CIMM, IMM, AIMM, a Fellow of the MVSSA, and a P.E. in Nevada. In addition to the Mackay School of Mines he has also taught a number of courses at the RSM, UK, Stanford University, and the Otago School of Mines in New Zealand. In 1979, he organized the Second International Mine Ventilation Congress in Reno, and in 1985 the Second US Mine Ventilation Symposium. He was privileged to work with the late Dr. Howard Hartman to help establish the Underground Ventilation Committee within the SME, which he chaired in 1986. More recently he was placed on the board of the Mine Ventilation Society of South Africa to represent North and South America. He has published widely on his mine ventilation research activity and has presented papers at many of the US Mine Ventilation Symposiums and International Mine Ventilation Congresses.
Two years ago he started an email discussion group called "mineventilation" which now has about 400 members from around the world. This is proving to be a most successful way to exchange information on a whole variety of aspects of the underground mining environment. He hopes that when he retires he can find someone to maintain this invaluable service for mine ventilation engineers. Looking to the future he feels that there are three important issues that need to be addressed to ensure a strong worldwide mine ventilation community. Firstly, the development of a global certification process for mine ventilation engineers and accompanying requirements for mines to employ such an individual at an underground mine. Secondly, to establish a worldwide Mine Ventilation Society and Journal, with local affiliation, to ensure a healthy and progressive exchange of ideas and technology on mine ventilation and the organization of conferences into the indefinite future. Thirdly, that appropriate steps are taken to ensure that university-led research in mine ventilation and associated topics takes place at a sufficient level to ensure that there are available new well-trained and experienced faculty to teach the topic at universities. This latter issue is especially important in the US, where many of the faculty teaching the topic are close to retirement.
He feels that the health and safety of the underground miner is of paramount importance and a noble cause for a mining engineer. He is convinced that if an underground mine maintains high standards of health and safety, even beyond statutory regulations, the economic benefits in terms of improved production, with less accidents and absenteeism more than pay for the cost of implementing the standards. He hopes that mining companies will take a pro-active position in this regard and be ahead of the regulations rather then playing catch up.
In conclusion he feels that, in terms of mine ventilation, it is important to think globally while maintaining the flexibility to adjust for local conditions. Parochial thinking and attitudes should be a thing of the past, and he hopes that the mine ventilation community will embrace such a concept.