Risk-Based Design and Management of Open Pit Slopes Workshop

29 October 2021 | Online and in-person | Perth, Western Australia

Within the mining community, geotechnical risk is often underappreciated, sometimes ignored and seldom properly quantified. The uncertainty and variability that engineers need to deal with necessitate a rigorous process of quantification or, in the very least, robustly qualifying likelihoods and consequences. The aim of this workshop is to provide a forum to discuss the methods used to design for geotechnical risk and those used to manage these risks; to identify shortcomings; and to close the gap between the state-of-the-art and the state-of-practice.

Professor Phil Dight
Professor 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.

Presenters include:

Dr Stephan Arndt
Senior Industry Process Consultant, GEOVIA
Dassault Systèmes

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 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.

Michael Dunn
Principal Geotechnical Engineer
Debswana Diamond Company

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, Evolution Mining and SRK Consulting. 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.

Mark Fowler
Managing Director

Mark is a principal engineering geologist and director of Pells Sullivan Meynink. Mark’s primary areas of practise are open pit and underground geomechanics and pore pressure assessments for large mining and civil projects that has included the development of a detailed knowledge of geomechanics monitoring and stress testing. On graduation from his undergraduate honours degree in 1994, majoring in Engineering Geology, Mark commenced his career as an engineering geologist with McMahon Associates, Sydney. Mark joined Pells Sullivan Meynink in 1998. In 2002 Mark completed a Masters of Geotechnical Engineering at the University of New South Wales, where he currently lectures part time to the schools of Mining and Civil engineering at post graduate level. Mark has worked on over 50 major mining projects across Australia, Asia, Africa and the Unites States of America, including a number of very large and technically challenging projects including Olympic dam Open pit expansion and in the geothermal conditions at Lihir Gold Mine.

David Gaudreau
Director Mining
Newmont Australia

Presentation title: How to determine the minimal number of specimens required for laboratory testing of rock properties and support the classification of rock mass domains

David has over two decades of mining, geotechnical and mine production management experience. He 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 in September 2017 as Director Mining for the Australian region.

Julian Venter
Manager Geotechnical Engineering
AngloGold Ashanti

Julian graduated from the University of Pretoria (UP) in 2000 with a Bachelor in Civil Engineering. Subsequently he obtained Master 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 in Mineral Economics from Curtin University in 2017. He started his working career with SRK Consulting in Johannesburg in 2002 where he gained a well-rounded geotechnical exposure to a variety of problems including open pit and underground mining and construction. For geotechnical risk work carried out at SRK he was co-recipient of the SAIMM Gold medal in 2007 and also co-recipient of the ARMA Award for Applied Rock Mechanics Research in 2009. In 2008 Julian and his family moved to Tom Price in Australia where he joined Rio Tinto’s Tom Price Iron Ore mine as senior geotechnical engineer. In 2016 Julian started with AngloGold Ashanti as geotechnical manager for the Continental Africa Region. Throughout his career Julian has served on open pit design teams in roles including: contributor, technical lead, project manager, project director and third party reviewer for more than 200 open pits and cut backs. Based on this experience he has become a champion of rigorous data based design processes based on a proper understanding of risk.

Dr Felicia Weir

Felicia is a principal engineering geologist of Pells Sullivan Meynink, with over 12 years’ experience in her field. Felicia joined PSM after completing her PhD in Geomorphology. Felicia’s primary areas of practice include engineering geology, 3D geotechnical models and stability assessments for open cut mining.
Felicia enjoys a spectrum of projects from short life operations to large scale pits in complex risk settings. The development of accurate ground models and appropriate slope designs is her greatest pleasure. With recent work as Acting Geotechnical Superintendent at Ok Tedi Mine she has a good appreciation of the challenges faced in operations.
Felicia has worked on numerous major mining projects across Australia, Asia and Africa, including a number of large and technically challenging projects including Olympic Dam Open Pit Expansion, Ok Tedi operations and design in geothermal conditions at Lihir Gold Mine.