Mining in Mudgee: A boy scout, a dream and booming success

TOP TEAM: The O'Ryan Geospatial crew includes Peter, Linda, Andrew, Rob and business partners Phillip and David. Photos: Supplied
TOP TEAM: The O'Ryan Geospatial crew includes Peter, Linda, Andrew, Rob and business partners Phillip and David. Photos: Supplied

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Surveyors are almost as rare as hens teeth in the western region and David Ryan can not understand why.

Mr Ryan, together with his business partner Phillip Orr, runs O’Ryan Geospatial out of Mudgee.

As a young boy scout in Trangie, David loved exploring the outdoors, armed with maps and a compass. Really, nothing much has changed today – except technology.

“We have an amazing amount of technology that we work with including robotic total stations, high end GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System) and drones,” he said.

“We get to go out into the bush and find the original survey marks which were put in when the land was alienated from the crown in the 1880s and we retrace their footsteps. Then we get to come back and draft and draw this information up.

“It’s a really good mix of rugged field work, (and I mean rugged, we are walking along the ridges of the mountains down onto the plains), history (we look at plans that were drafted in 1880, and technology (we compute the data that we have sourced using a range of software programs which are pretty awesome to deal with).

“If you were a boy scout or girl guide when you were a kid, and just loved that bush stuff, let me tell you surveying is the job. It doesn’t get much better,” he said.

Beginning his working life in pastoral houses selling rural merchandise, Mr Ryan always harboured the dream of being a surveyor, so in 2007 he packed up his family, moved to Toowoomba and began study for a Bachelor of Spatial Science Technology.

The moved paid dividends because business – like the mining industry and local region  – is booming.

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  • O’Ryan Geospatial 

Mr Ryan returned to Mudgee in 2012 to predominantly serve the mining industry, and in 2017 O’Ryan Geospatial was born with registered cadastral surveyor Phillip Orr coming on board. 

After 18 months in business O’Ryan Geospatial continues to expand, employing a team of six, including trainee surveyor Andrew.

BUILDING: O'Ryan Geospatial has employed Andrew as a trainee surveyor to keep valuable skills in the bush.

BUILDING: O'Ryan Geospatial has employed Andrew as a trainee surveyor to keep valuable skills in the bush.

“At the moment in our region, from Lithgow, Mudgee down to West Wyalong and out to Cobar – which is sort of the Central West mining region – there’s a need for seven mining surveyors right now. And they can’t get anyone,” he said. “So, to keep these surveying skills in the bush we are going to have to grow these guys from within.”

A passionate proponent of the mining industry, Mr Ryan said Mudgee is home to high quality personnel.

“We have some of the best industry operators within our region. They are focussed on high-end mining practices, striving for world’s best practice in Mudgee,” he said. 

“Pulling the technology in from global, multinational resource companies, we get to work with their systems, processes and practices, and that makes for some fantastic work environments.

“Some projects we get to work on are as good as any you’ll get anywhere in the mining industry, including building infrastructure, unmanned aerial vehicle work and setting out rehabilitation for the after-mining process,” Mr Ryan said.