Around the world in 30 years
In September 2010, Kinross acquired the Chirano mine in Ghana. The mine is situated on the Bibiani gold belt, and the company expects to exploit 11 gold deposits spread along a 10-kilometre strike length. The site had open pit mines, but today the focus is underground. Solid Ground spoke with Richard McMahon, who has worked in the mining industry for more than 30 years.
WHAT ATTRACTED YOU TO MINING?
When I was a young guy, mining was the thing to get into. That’s where the money was. There was also the opportunity to travel. After working in Ontario, I had the chance to go to Kyrgyzstan, and after that I had the travel bug. Mining has taken me to Vietnam, Mongolia, Baffin Island and Northwest Territories in Canada. Now it’s brought me here, to Ghana.
WHAT’S YOUR ROLE AT CHIRANO?
I’m the underground mobile maintenance superintendent. My whole career has been in maintenance, and although I’ve worked some in milling and some open pit, I’d say 80 percent of my career has been spent underground. I think it’s important to find what you enjoy doing and what you’re good at, and always strive to improve, which is why I’ve almost always worked in underground mines.
WHAT’S THE CURRENT OUTLOOK FOR CHIRANO?
We’ve come a long way performance-wise. They had an open pit here for years that recently closed, so we’re completely focused on the underground mine now. We’re constantly exploring, and the life of the mine is two or three years at this point, so hopefully we’ll find some more that will allow us to continue. The environment and people here are great.
HOW HAS SANDVIK HELPED IMPROVE OPERATIONS?
When we took over, the equipment needed some tender, loving care, and we needed to do some rebuilding.
Title: Underground mobile maintenance superintendent
Hobbies: Jogging (completed second half-marathon in 2017 in Toronto), rollerblading, fishing, hunting and riding
Family: Married 30 years; one daughter who’s married
Background: Raised in a small community in northern Ontario
I got in touch with Sandvik to see how they could help, and they’ve done a couple of units for us now. It’s been working out, and we formed a bond that way. They ramped production up here, and as the equipment was old, the breakdowns and maintenance were taking longer and longer.