A Logan Lake man is one of very few in the world designing highly complicated mining circuits and similar equipment, and hopes to highlight the importance of the industry’s very direct impact on our lives.
Alex Doll of Alex G. Doll Consulting jokes that when he tells border security agents his source of employment, the responses to his incredibly niche answer are often confused.
“The formal term for what I’m doing is a consulting process engineer. I specialize in the conceptual design of mineral grinding circuits,” explained Doll.
“In a typical processing plant, like the one down the road at Highland Valley here, they’ve got these great big grinding mills. I am one of about half a dozen people in the world that chooses the dimensions and motor sizes of those mills.”
Doll’s consulting business is often contracted by larger companies looking to conceptualize and build new mines, or improve on current operations. The complex nature of many mining circuits requires many different areas of expertise, says Doll.
“It’s an onion with all these layers, and the deeper down you go, the more specialized the skills become. I work on about 50 projects a year, scattered all over the world.”
While his role is often producing a technical memorandum of his findings and recommendations, he is often out in the field at mining operations all over the world. Doll has spread the name and good reputation of BC’s mining community not just across Canada, but as far as Mexico, Chile, and Brazil.
He is currently working on multiple research projects, and despite the global nature of his work, utilizes resources close to home.
“There’s actually two labs in Kamloops that can do the tests that I need,” said Doll. “British Columbia is known globally as a source of mining expertise.”
Residing in Logan Lake, Doll knows directly the impacts mining has on small communities such as Merritt and Logan Lake.
“There’s a lot of jobs that are directly related to activities in BC ore bodies. There are two mineral deposits south of Merritt creating jobs, as well as Highland Valley, New Afton, and several exploration projects. These are middle-class and upper middle-class jobs and there are thousands of them.”
These jobs benefit the local economy greatly, enabling consumers to buy products and services throughout the community. These products and services need to come from somewhere, says Doll.
“If it can’t be grown, it’s got to be mined. People want products, and those products either come from resources that are mined or it can come from renewable resources. Everything tangible, every telephone you use and pen you pick up, has components that come from mining and oil extraction, as well as agriculture.”
Moving forward, Doll is focused on his numerous ongoing projects at mining operations all over the globe in partnership with fellow industry experts and mining companies. He is optimistic about the industry’s future, but warns that the province must tread carefully.
“The hard truth is that mining exploration requires access to vast quantities of land, but very little of it will ever be developed as a mine. You can only find usable ore bodies where they already exist. What’s important in a province like British Columbia is that we don’t cut off too much of the land base from mineral exploration.”