Australian Organising Committee


Peter Andrews

VP and Group Head of Geotechnical, Gold Fields Australia Pty Ltd

Peter has over 20 years of experience in the mining industry in both operating and consulting capacities. He has a broad range of experience with specific expertise in soil and rock mechanics in the geotechnical engineering field.  Over this period, he has obtained international industry experience, having worked on a number of large open pit operations in Australia, New Guinea, Zambia, Ghana, and South America in material types ranging from weak sediments to hard rock environments. He specialises in geotechnical optimisation to extract additional value from operating pits.


Dr Stephan Arndt

Portfolio Senior Technical Manager, Dassault Systèmes, GEOVIA

Stephan has over 25 years’ experience in advanced simulation methods in applications of rock mechanics, seismicity, discrete fracture networks, coupled multi-physics simulations, fracture mechanics and constitutive models. His research interests include emerging technologies in geomechanics; cross-industry synergies; scalability of modelling methods; integration of machine learning and optimisation; better quantification of risk under uncertainty; and using high performance computing, visualisation and virtual reality in decision making. Stephan has extensive consulting experience in the mining sector consulting for major mining projects in Australia and overseas.


Professor Phil Dight

Slope Stability 2020 Symposium Chair

Professor of Geotechnical Engineering, Australian Centre for Geomechanics

Phil has been involved with the development and design of ground support for mining applications since 1975. Phil joined the ACG in 2008 and has since been working on stress memory effects in rocks, ground support applications, slope stability problems (including the use of microseismicity to understand failure mechanisms), and 3D rock properties. In 2017, Phil commenced a four year MRIWA project aimed at investigating the issues of strainburst vulnerability in underground mines.


Michael Dunn

Michael has 25 years’ mining geotechnical engineering experience in operational, corporate and consulting roles. He has experience in South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia, Ghana and the USA, covering a range of deep to near surface underground mining methods and small to large open pits. Michael has held several senior roles at AngloGold Ashanti, Newmont and SRK Consulting. In November 2015, he joined Evolution Mining as the Group Manager – Geotechnical and was responsible for providing geotechnical oversight and guidance for several underground and open pit operations and tailings storage facilities. Michael has a strong interest in the geotechnical design process, especially with respect to understanding geotechnical uncertainty and managing geotechnical risk. Michael is a Fellow and Chartered Professional of the AusIMM and has published 28 technical papers.


Dr Marc Elmouttie

Research Scientist, CSIRO Energy

Marc is a senior research scientist at the CSIRO and leads the mine site characterisation and imaging team. He is a physicist with 15 years experience in researching and developing technologies for both mineral exploration and mining. The team’s research has been funded by coal and metalliferous mining companies and current research areas include 3D imaging, borehole logging and other sensing technologies, structural analysis algorithms and geotechnical analysis algorithms for stability analysis in surface and underground excavations. Marc’s research areas include quantifying uncertainty of structural analysis, modelling and monitoring of fractured rock systems for slope stability and other geotechnical analyses.


David Gaudreau

Director Mining, Newmont Australia

David has over two decades of mining, geotechnical and mine production management experience.  He has serviced sites and projects in Australia, Canada, Indonesia, China, Laos and India. He was involved in several projects spanning diverse geographical areas for surface and underground operations, ranging from conceptual studies to mine closure planning and execution. David has had leadership roles in mine operations management, geotechnical engineering, technical services management as well as consulting.  He joined Newmont Australia in September 2017 as Director Mining for the Australian region.


Jon Hall

Consulting Hydrogeologist, AQ2 Pty Ltd

Jon is a hydrogeologist with over 30 years’ consulting experience in water resources management for the mining industry throughout Australia and internationally. Prior to establishing Aquaterra in 1998, he was a mine geologist in South Australia and a hydrogeologist with the Geological Survey of Western Australia, before commencing his consulting career with Australian Groundwater Consultants. Jon went on to lead the mine water management services group at RPS, who acquired Aquaterra in 2010. Jon’s consulting career has largely been associated with mine water management including water supply, dewatering, integrated mine water management, environmental approvals and mine closure planning. Helping mining companies to develop and implement practical solutions for mine dewatering and depressurisation issues has been a particular focus for Jon over the last ten years.


Christian Holland

Principal Geotechnical Engineer, BHP

Christian joined MMG in 2013 as a Geotechnical Specialist with Group Technical Services (GTS) before being appointed as Principal Geotechnical Engineer (Mining) in 2015. The current role with MMG sees him working with Geotechnical personnel at all of MMG’s open pit and underground operations to provide guidance and support on operational geotechnical challenges whilst also providing analysis and recommendations for MROR, projects and M+A tasks. Christian is the MMG Fatal Risk Standard – Ground Control subject matter expert. As an early adopter of new technologies within his discipline, Christian is working with a number of internal and external groups to evaluate thermal imagery, seismic tomography and drone technology for geotechnical applications within MMG.
Prior to joining MMG he worked for AngloGold Ashanti, BHP Billiton, Placer Dome, Harmony Gold and WMC at numerous underground and open pit operations across Australia and Africa. This has allowed Christian to experience and work on challenging ground conditions and backfill requirements across diverse commodities, mining methods and cultures.


Paul Maconochie

Director, GeoTeck Solutions Pty Ltd

Paul is an independent consultant whose experience includes civil and mining engineering projects throughout Australasia. He has had a particular engagement with PNG where he has been involved with most of the major open pit mines. A stint at CSIRO saw him in the team that produced a prototype of the Sirovision photogrammetry based mapping tool and work with the Mine Site Rehabilitation Research Program. Currently, his practice is focused on stability of open pit coal mines.


Dr Sanjive Narendranathan

Principal Mining Geotechnical Engineer, GHD Pty Ltd

Sanjive is a chartered mining professional and a fellow of the Institute of Engineers Australia, he has over 15 years’ experience in the field of mining geomechanics. His operational experience includes responsibility for ground control at KCGM’s Super Pit and Mt Charlotte (underground) operations, where he undertook a number of applied research projects on topics such as final wall blasting techniques for open pit batters underlain by historic underground workings and underground support design requirements in high stress conditions. He spent ten years as a consulting engineer with Coffey Mining (seven years) and the Infra Tech Group (three years), where he undertook a number of geotechnical designs and feasibility studies for clients such as Rio Tinto, BHP, Barrick and Newmont, for projects across of number of commodities in Australia, Asia and Africa. He has also been called upon to provide expert technical and forensic advice on a number of sensitive cases involving geotechnical engineering issues and disputes for firms such as Clayton UTZ and Minter Ellison’s.
He spent one year with the mining regulator in Victoria, as a geotechnical advisor, where he was responsible for providing advice to the office of State Resources Minister on Victorian mine and quarry stability requirements. In early 2018 he joined GHD as technical director (mining) geotechnical engineering, and is focused on the closure related stability considerations for brown coal mines in the Latrobe Valley region of Victoria.


Marnie Pascoe

Chief Advisor Major Hazards, Rio Tinto

With more than 25 years of experience in the mining industry, Marnie is a specialist rock mechanics engineer. Marnie commenced her geotechnical career in 1991 at WMC’s Kambalda and St Ives mines as a geotechnical geologist. From 1994 to 1998, Marnie was a geotechnical geologist at the Cannington Mine for BHP World Minerals and from 1998 to 2003 Marnie was a senior geotechnical geologist at AMC. Marnie was was Superintendent Mine Geotechnical at BHP Billiton’s Olympic Dam from 2003 and from 2006 Marnie was Principal Engineer/Team Leader Mining Technology for BHP Billiton Global Technology. She joined AMC’s UK office in 2009 as the Principal Geotechnical Engineer and then Geotechnical Manager and Director, dealing with operations in Europe, Central Asia, Africa, and Australia. Marnie joined Rio Tinto in 2017 to head the global geotechnical discipline across the Group.


Erin Sweeney

MEC Mining

Erin has more than fifteen years’ experience in mining, geotech engineering and geology. She graduated with Honours at the University of Wollongong in early 2004 and completed a Masters in Mining Engineering in 2011 from UNSW. Erin’s career has spanned across multiple commodities and has ranged from site based operational roles, to consultant and corporate roles through Anglo Coal, BMA, Mining One, MMG, and now Newcrest. Erin joined Newcrest Mining Ltd in 2016 in a corporate Geotechnical Engineering role and was then at Telfer in the position of Technical Services Superintendent of the Open Pit operations. She has a strong background in geotechnical risk management in operations, slope stability evaluations and geotechnical feasibility studies.


Julian Venter

Manager Geotechnical Engineering, Anglogold Ashanti Limited

Julian graduated from the University of Pretoria (UP) in 2000 with a Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering. Subsequently he obtained Master’s degrees in Geotechnical Engineering from UP in 2004, a Graduate Diploma in Rock Mechanics from the University of the Witwatersrand in 2007 followed by an MBa and a Master’s degree in Mineral Economics from Curtin University in 2017. He started his career as a Consultant for SRK Consulting in Johannesburg in 2002 where he gained a well-rounded geotechnical exposure to a variety of problems including open pits, underground and construction. For geotechnical risk work carried out at SRK he was co-recipient of the SAIMM Gold medal in 2007 for work on geotechnical risk and also co-recipient of the ARMA Award for Applied Rock Mechanics Research in 2009. In 2008 Julian joined Rio Tinto’s Tom Price Iron Ore mine as Senior Geotechnical Engineer accountable for Tom Price and for a time Marandoo and Brockman 2 operations. After carrying out further roles in Rio Tinto in Mine Planning, Technical Services Superintendent at Tom Price, Technical Serves Superintendent at Brockman 2 and Geotechnical Superintendent for the East Pilbara, he left Rio Tinto in 2015 to join SRG Limited as National Manager Geotechnical Engineering. In 2016 Julian started with AngloGold Ashanti as Geotechnical Manager for the Continental Africa Region. A position he still holds. Throughout his career Julian has been a champion of using risk based design in geotechnical engineering.


Diane Walker

Principal Geotechnical Engineer, SRK Consulting Pty Ltd, Australia

Diane graduated in 1996 with a MSc in Engineering Geology, and has over 20 years experience working in geotechnical engineering.  Her principal area of expertise is slope design for open pit mines, and also geotechnical characterisation for underground operations and mining infrastructure projects.  She has undertaken feasibility studies, support to operations, technical reviews and due diligence studies. She has worked in a range of commodities including iron ore, gold, copper porphyry, nickel and uranium; in geological environments including saprolite, soft rock and anisotropic rock; with incorporation of hydrogeology and structural geology inputs.  She has a particular focus on understanding the geological control on rock mass properties. She has undertaken several secondments on site and at mine head offices, working on technical and management aspects of geotechnical studies.


Owen Watson

Principal Geotechnical Engineer, Newmont Australia, Australia

Owen has 20 years’ mining industry experience gained in consulting and operational roles. He joined Newmont Goldcorp Australia as principal geotechnical engineer in 2017, providing support to the Australia region operations at Tanami, Boddington and KCGM. Prior to joining Newmont Goldcorp Australia, Owen was a geotechnical consultant with AMC Consultants in their Melbourne and Vancouver offices, before joining the Perth team where he was geotechnical manager and principal consultant. Owen’s primary expertise is in rock mechanics applied to underground and open pit mines. His experience covers all geotechnical aspects of mining studies from concept to definitive feasibility and implementation, for projects both in Australia and internationally. He graduated from RMIT in 1998 with a Bachelor of Engineering (Geological), and completed a Master’s degree in Mining Geomechanics at UNSW in 2011.



Dr Felicia Weir

Principal Engineering Geologist, PSM, Australia

Felicia has been involved with the geotechnical modelling and design of open pit mines for the past ten years. Major projects she has worked on include Mt Isa Open Pit, the Olympic Dam Expansion project, Lihir and most recently operations at Ok Tedi. She is highly experienced in borehole televiewer interpretation, development of geotechnical models (structural and rock mass), including 3D modelling in Vulcan, and slope stability analysis and design. Felicia’s recent work has included discrete fracture network modelling for use in both open pit mining and tunnel design.