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Pioneering pays off

The pioneering commitment of Ausdrill Limited’s group exploration drilling consultant David Stevens to the evolution of the exploration drilling industry in Australia and overseas has been recognised through the award of an Order of Australia – the first honour of its kind bestowed in the industry.

David Stevens, 64, was made a Member in the General Division of the Order of Australia in the recent Queen’s Birthday honours list “for service to the exploration drilling industry in Australia, particularly through professional associations, and in the development of safety guidelines and training”.

The award highlights his lifetime commitment to the exploration drilling industry. It began when, at the age of seventeen in 1953, he started as a cadet geologist with the Mt Lyell Mining and Railway Company in Queenstown, Tasmania.

His subsequent career is a veritable kaleidoscope of countries and experiences, from the outback of WA to the deserts of Saudi Arabia, from Brazil to Northern Rhodesia, from South Australia to Iran, from Botswana to Chile, including a number of important landmarks in the evolution of the drilling industry itself.

Ausdrill managing director Ray Taylor said the award was a recognition of the efforts of one of the pioneers of the exploration drilling industry.

“Through his career, David really put the drilling industry on the map, both in Australia and overseas, and, in that time, has made an enormous contribution to the growth and credibility of the industry, particularly in the areas of safety and professional development,” Mr Taylor said.

“We are fortunate to have the benefit of his experience and advice at Ausdrill, where he has made an enormous contribution since joining in 1994.”

Mr Stevens, who has been group exploration drilling consultant for Ausdrill since 1997, is an Honorary Life Member of the Australian Drilling Industry Association and has played a key role in a number of industry development and training bodies, including ADIA, and CMC TAFE.

He has lectured at the University of WA, Curtin University and Kalgoorlie School of Mines, presented numerous technical papers and authored a number of key industry and safety training handbooks for the drilling industry.

Highlights of his career have included the establishment of one of Australia’s largest fleets of drilling rigs for Seltrust Mining (later BP Minerals), the development of the first RAB rig in the early 1970s and the establishment of Drilling World Training Centre in the mid-1980s.

In his early career, Mr Stevens moved from Tasmania to Northern Rhodesia as a surface diamond driller in 1957, later moving to the Nchanga Consolidated Copper Mines as an underground diamond driller until 1961, when he returned to Australia with the ‘Big Australian’ – drilling on the Iron Range at Whyalla in South Australia and later at Koolyanobbing.

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