Jeff Whittle-min

Jeff Whittle

Whittle Consulting founder, Jeff Whittle (93), died peacefully on February 5, 2024. He recognized the need for optimization software in mining and offered to write an open pit optimizer program for Newmont, based on the Lerchs-Grossmann algorithm. When Newmont declined to commit funding to what they considered such a risky project, Jeff with the support of his wife, Ruth, decided to write it himself.

In 1983, Whittle stepped out on his own and wrote the first commercially available implementation of the Lerchs-Grossmann algorithm, which was practical to use on the computers of the day.

This was Three-D, which he and Ruth licensed to mining companies as Fortran source code.

In 1984, they established Whittle Programming. Over the next 16 years, Jeff developed a series of mining optimization software packages. These were successfully marketed and sold by Ruth to mining companies and consultancies all around the world. In 2000, Jeff and Ruth sold their business to Gemcom in Canada. This Whittle package of programs remains an industry standard today.

At around the same time, Jeff began work on multi-pit mine scheduling optimization software. His ongoing development of this software resulted in the Prober series of optimization tools used today by Whittle Consulting.

For almost 40 years, Whittle excelled at developing computer software which revolutionized mine design, strategic mine planning, and most specifically, the ability to optimize the efficiency and net present value of the most complex mining projects. Whittle coined the term, Enterprise Optimization, which is now common in mining industry parlance.

In 2018, Whittle was named an Officer in the General Division of the Order of Australia (AO) in recognition of his distinguished service to the information technology sector and the mining industry.