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Service Awards

Ross Welsh

Ross Welsh


Ross started his career in 1963 as a Trainee Chemist with ACIRL in Ipswich working with Arthur LePage, Bruce Proudfoot and John Woolard. After completing an Industrial Chemistry course at QIT he transferred in late 1969 to the new ACIRL Laboratory and Pilot Preparation Plant in Rockhampton as Deputy Manager working with Dick Dunstone who was appointed Manager in 1970. During this time, the ACIRL facilities in Ipswich and Rockhampton were the major commercial laboratories in Queensland to treat the ever increasing number of borecores and bulk samples from the developing Bowen Basin Coalfield.

He attended the inaugural meeting of the Queensland Branch of the ACPS in January 1967 held at the Ipswich Bowls Club and has been a Member of the Society since then.  Ross first joined the QLD Branch Committee in 1982 and continued until 2002.  Ross was on the National Board in 1990 and 1991 and then again from 2000 to 2002.  He was also on the LOC for the 9th ACPS Conference which was held in Yeppoon in 2002.

Ross also co-ordinated many of the early CQ One-Day Symposia starting back in 1996 in Dysart and then in Emerald from 1997.  He was instrumental in growing the CQ membership in the late 1990'w and early 2000's and would personally call the majority of the plant managers and megallurgists in CQ to ensure that they were attending or sending people to the various technical meetings and other Society gatherings. 

In 1974, Ross accepted the position of Chief Chemist at Utah Development Company’s Saraji Mine. First coal was railed in September that year. His role was later expanded to include the position of Environmental Officer

The commercial world beckoned and Ross accepted a position with SGS in 1984, firstly as Manager of the Gladstone Laboratory and later as Queensland Operations Manager with responsibility for the superintending and exploration business for both the Mackay and Gladstone Facilities.

Ross returned to ACIRL in 1989 as Manager of the Rockhampton facility. Not long after that, ACIRL underwent a corporate restructure which saw the closure of the Rockhampton, Bellambi and North Ryde facilities and the expansion of the Maitland and Ipswich sites. He then took on the role of Business Development for ACIRL in Queensland working out of a Rockhampton Office and was responsible for the establishment of the Emerald Laboratory in 1991 and later the expansion of laboratory services at Moranbah and Blackwater. He was also involved in the in the establishment and commissioning of the ACTEST laboratories in Mackay and Gladstone.

Ross left ACIRL in 2001 to pursue a business opportunity which went nowhere fast (always listen to your wife – they do know more than you}. Anyway, later, after becoming creative in concrete technology, Ross made a foray into making and selling garden ornaments as well operating his own consulting business until the lure of coal again beckoned and he joined son Duncan in expanding and supporting his coal testing business; Preplab Testing Services in Rockhampton and later a Gladstone Operation.

Most of you know Ross Welsh as the guy who ran the QLD General Coal Preparation Course which he ran from 1998 up until 2011.  The courses became legendary, starting with only one course per year it soon became apparent that there was a great need for these courses as our industry began to expand and the knowledge and understanding of coal preparation principals were in demand.  Ross was soon running up to 9 courses a year predominantly in Rockhampton but also in Brisbane.  These courses have delivered unmeasurable value to our industry and each and every course would get a range of people from plant operators, process engineers, equipment suppliers and even geologists and mining engineers.  All of these participants were seeking to enhance their general coal preparation knowledge and the platform provided by the Society and delivered by Ross Welsh and his band of merry lecturers has ensured that the ACPS is seen as one of the premier providers of coal preparation training throughout the world.

Moving into retirement mode in 2015, Ross can now spend more time with his hobby - a keen interest in Model Steam Trains (5 inch gauge). Coal fired of course!!