Christopher N. Hatton PE
Senior Vice President I, Geotechnical Engineer - WSP
Keynote presentation: EoR Terms of Reference - Prenuptial Bliss to Family Legacy
Keynote summary: An Owner's Engagement to an Engineer of Record initiates a vital and supportive relationship within the governance rubric. A prelude to the harmonious joining of idyllic partners; till death do us part.
The Terms of Reference for the Engineer of Record is the foundational prenuptial agreement launching our doting couple into wedded bliss. It identifies and defines the vows, providing the charter defining responsibilities, setting performance expectations, and identifying obligations between the mine owner and the Engineer of Record (aka, the fam).
As with any marriage, money, lawyers, and other human elements can complicate the relationship, and the Terms of Reference establish a consistent guidance framework and pre-negotiated approaches to handling relationship performance issues when things get spicy.
Guidance for developing a Terms of Reference is provided and comprises 19 relational categories for consideration before you “put a ring on their finger”. Challenges facing the industry are presented: is the room for a “plus one” (Designer of Record)? What about Legacy planning? Examples of real-world issues are discussed, including reflection on future challenges.
Christopher N. Hatton, MS, PE, is a Senior Vice President I, Geotechnical Engineer, and Technical Fellow with the Lakewood, Colorado, USA Office of WSP. Mr. Hatton entered the engineering consulting industry in the early 1980s and has compiled 35 years of continuous diversified heavy civil and environmental professional engineering experience. He has and continues to serve as the Engineer of Record (EoR), project manager, and technical lead for evaluating, designing, and constructing new, active, and closed tailing storage facilities (TSFs) worldwide.
Chris has spent much of his 35 years of experience evaluating, implementing, and constructing designs at closed TSFs worldwide. He understands the balance between geotechnical stability, surface water management, and establishing environmentally sustainable inert landforms while considering post-closure operation and maintenance costs. His approach considers alignment with ESG sustainability principles and climate transition. His closure experience includes the reclamation of over 10,000 acres of tailing with an estimated volume of over 2 billion tons.
Chris was a codeveloper of a state-of-the-art stewardship program to reduce owners’ risks in the design, operation, and closure of TSFs. This outstanding program, conceived in 1994, has been continuously implemented and improved to address the complex stewardship challenges of TSFs worldwide. The program is designed to train operations personnel in properly constructing TSFs and provides the framework for evaluating, prioritizing, and implementing risk reduction strategies. This stewardship program has been successfully implemented at over 30 base and precious-metal mines worldwide. Mr. Hatton has trained more than 1,200 tailing operators and inspected over 10 billion tons of tailings covering over 50,000 acres.
Mr. Hatton is a founding member of the USSD/CDA EoR Committee dedicated to establishing the state of the practice for the EoR. This includes conducting training (numerous recent engagements) and advocating for and defining the role of the EoR consistent with industry standards, such as GISTM, CDA, MAC, ANCOLD, ICMM, ICOLD, GBA, and others. Chris is also an active contributor to multiple Tailings Review Boards for world-class mining companies.
Chris co-authored three chapters of SME’s Tailings Management Handbook: A Life-Cycle Approach. First Edition (2022) was a co-author for the Geo-Professional Business Association (GBA) Guidance for EoR and is a continuous contributor to other industry cornerstone documents.