Farewell to a Mining Industry Pioneer

Jeff Whittle, a trailblazer in the mining industry, peacefully passed away on February 5, 2024, at the age of 93. With a career spanning several decades, Whittle made significant contributions that revolutionized mine design and strategic planning.

Whittle’s mining journey began in 1979 when he joined Newmont Australia, later known as Newcrest, as a contractor. Inspired by a theoretical paper by IBM researchers Lerchs and Grossmann, published in 1965, Whittle recognized the potential for optimizing cash flow from open-cut mines. Though the algorithm described in the paper was not commercially available, Whittle took it upon himself to write an open-pit optimizer program based on the Lerchs-Grossmann algorithm.

Despite Newmont’s reluctance to fund such a risky endeavor, Whittle, with his wife Ruth’s unwavering support, persevered. In 1983, he developed the first commercially available implementation of the algorithm, known as “Three-D.” This software revolutionized mine optimization and became the industry standard toolkit.

In addition to his groundbreaking work on Three-D, Whittle embarked on the development of multi-pit mine scheduling optimization software. This led to the creation of the Prober series, which is still widely used by Whittle Consulting today.

Whittle’s innovative contributions to the mining industry earned him recognition and accolades. In 2018, he was appointed an Officer in the General Division of the Order of Australia (AO) for his distinguished service to the information technology sector and the mining industry.

Beyond his professional achievements, Whittle was a devoted husband, father, and grandfather. He leaves behind his wife Ruth, six children, and twelve grandchildren.

Whittle’s legacy extends beyond the mining industry. In the late 1960s, he developed a standardized scoring system for the Higher School Certificate (HSC), making all subjects equally difficult. This system eventually evolved into the current VCE scoring system.

As we bid farewell to Jeff Whittle, we honor his profound contributions and celebrate his remarkable life. His vision and passion for enterprise optimization continue to shape the mining industry to this day.

FAQ Section:

1. Who was Jeff Whittle?
– Jeff Whittle was a trailblazer in the mining industry who made significant contributions in mine design and strategic planning.

2. When did Jeff Whittle pass away?
– Jeff Whittle peacefully passed away on February 5, 2024, at the age of 93.

3. What were Whittle’s major contributions to the mining industry?
– Whittle developed the first commercially available implementation of the Lerchs-Grossmann algorithm, known as “Three-D,” which revolutionized mine optimization and became the industry standard toolkit. He also created the Prober series of software for multi-pit mine scheduling optimization.

4. What recognition did Jeff Whittle receive for his contributions?
– In 2018, Jeff Whittle was appointed an Officer in the General Division of the Order of Australia (AO) for his distinguished service to the information technology sector and the mining industry.

5. Was Jeff Whittle involved in other areas apart from mining?
– Yes, Jeff Whittle also developed a standardized scoring system for the Higher School Certificate (HSC), which later evolved into the current VCE scoring system.

6. Who is Jeff Whittle survived by?
– Jeff Whittle is survived by his wife Ruth, six children, and twelve grandchildren.

Definitions:

– Open-cut mines: This refers to a type of mining operation where minerals are extracted from the surface of the earth, typically in large open pits.

– Optimization: In the context of mining, optimization refers to the process of maximizing the efficiency, productivity, and profitability of mining operations.

– Algorithm: An algorithm is a set of instructions or rules used to solve a specific problem or perform a specific task.

Suggested related links:
Newcrest
Whittle Consulting