Obituary – Neil Oswald Liddell CEng MIMMM

Mineral Processing & Extractive Metallurgy Division
2 Aug 2016

Obituary – Neil Oswald Liddell BSc CEng MIMMM 1950–2016

It is with great sadness that the passing of Neil Liddell is reported. Neil was a mining engineer proficient in underground and open pit mines. His experience spanned operations, projects, consultancy and corporate level appointments.

Neil had an interesting early life, being born in the USA and then spending time between school in England and family in Shanghai. His family temporarily relocated to Malaya, where he also went to school, and they eventually settled in Wales. He played rugby for Newport and was in selection for the Welsh under-21 team when he injured his shoulder and did not play again.

Neil read Mining Engineering at Leeds University, UK, graduating in 1974. He then started on a long and varied career in the industry. His first appointment was with Anglo American in South Africa. He moved to Bamangwato Concessions Ltd, Botswana, in 1978 where he was a member of the mine rescue team. Neil joined Shell Coal South Africa in 1980, providing technical expertise to a number of important surface and underground projects, including secondment to Rand Mines’ head office as Shell’s Engineer. He then transferred to Shell Coal International in London as Senior Mining Engineer, with worldwide responsibilities providing assistance in production and safety to the group’s international operations. In 1988, Neil returned to Shell Minerals in South Africa as Senior Mining Engineer at the Pering Mine open pit.

Neil then joined Costain International Mining as on-site Manager of Mine Planning and Engineering at Amlohri, India, a modern opencast high tonnage coal mine. In 1994, he worked with SNC Lavalin providing on-site expertise to copper and base-metal projects in Iran, Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Neil joined International Mining Consultants in 1995, leading many important projects throughout the world. This embraced strategic planning and due diligence studies for coal, base and precious metal operations and projects. Assignments included the detailed mine planning for the Barapukuria underground coal mine project in Bangladesh, and he continued to manage the construction at the project site for two-and-a-half years. He worked on privatisations and projects assessments following the opening up of the Commonwealth of Independent States economies. Neil evaluated a major multi-mineral Indonesian mining group for flotation on the Australian Stock Exchange and managed a World Bank project to restructure the mine planning and design operations of Coal India Ltd. He led the team providing the input for the successful launching of Kazakhmys on the London Stock Exchange.

In June 2007, Neil joined European Goldfields Limited as Senior Mining Engineer responsible for all mining related aspects of the company’s mines and projects in Greece and Romania. Neil ensured that the highest standards of mine safety were adopted. He spent extended periods at the company’s Stratoni Mine in Greece, and left in 2012 when the company was taken over by Eldorado Gold Incorporated.

Neil was highly respected and well-liked by his colleagues. His determination and toughness was exemplified by his seven-year battle with pancreatic cancer, to which he eventually succumbed, and through which he continued to work. Condolences go to his wife Melpo. Neil was a loving father to son Kier and daughter Thalia. Neil and Kier shared a common passion for rebuilding classic Italian sport cars, having just put back on the road a 1971 Lancia Fulvia. Kier and his wife Elspeth have two children, Austin and Felicity, whom, together with Thalia and husband Ed, are providing support to Melpo at this difficult time.

Tony Francis CEng FIMMM