Specialists

Mining3 provides a single entry point to access top researchers, engineers and industry experts in the mining industry. Resources and capabilities are sourced through our research partners which include CSIRO, Curtin University, QUT and The University of Queensland.

Dr Erik Isokangas

Program Director

Erik Isokangas is a specialist in mining process analysis, design, and the implementation of new technologies for current and future mining systems.

Skills and experience:

Erik is a Program Director at Mining3. He leads research in mine process modelling and simulation, integrated mine process design and implementation, and the development of technologies for future mining systems.

Erik previously worked for Metso, a global equipment supplier to the mining industry, most recently as the Director of In-pit Solutions supporting mining customers in the design and feasibility of in-pit crushing and conveying systems. Prior to this, he led a consulting team in Finland, focused on process integration and optimisation for mines in Europe, Russia, the Middle East, and Africa.

Erik also worked for Thiess, a major mining contractor, managing and developing new technologies to support mining operations, including productivity monitoring systems, modelling and simulation of complex mining operations, benchmarking, laser-scanning systems, and data visualisation.

Qualifications:

Erik holds a Bachelor Degree in Electrical Engineering and a Doctorate in Mineral Processing from the Julius Kruttschnitt Mineral Research Centre (JKMRC) at The University of Queensland.

LinkedIn profile:

Dr Erik Isokangas

Dr Thierry Peynot

Program Director

Thierry Peynot provides leadership and oversight for research associated with the advancement of robotics and autonomous systems in mining. Thierry is also Associate Professor and the Mining3 Chair in Robotics at QUT.

Skills and experience

Thierry joined Mining3 as Technology Leader in 2016 and is an Associate Professor within the Science and Engineering Faculty at QUT, where he has worked since 2014, first as Lecturer and then Senior Lecturer. Prior to that, he was a Research Fellow at the Australian Centre for Field Robotics, The University of Sydney.

Thierry is a robotics researcher with extensive experience in field robotics, multi-modal sensor fusion and resilient perception in challenging environments. Prior to his role at Mining3 he has led several research programs funded by both industry (in particular aerospace and defence, such as BAE Systems) and research organisations, developing and patenting robust, multi-sensor navigation technology that can function despite adverse environmental conditions.

He has also worked on space robotics projects at LAAS-CNRS in France and at NASA Ames Research Centre in California.

His current research interests focus on mobile robotics and autonomous systems in challenging environments such as mining, and include in particular: resilient perception, multimodal sensing, sensor data fusion, robotic vision, mapping and localisation, and terrain traversability estimation for unmanned ground vehicles.

Qualifications

Thierry holds an Engineering degree in Electrical Engineering and Automation, and a Masters degree in Automatic Systems which he undertook at the National Polytechnic Institute Toulouse, France (INPT). He received his PhD in Robotics from the University of Toulouse, France, where he was also an Associate Lecturer.

 

Dr Ewan Sellers

Program Director

Ewan Sellers is a specialist in rock mechanics with broad experience in numerical modelling, instrumentation, seismology and blasting.

Skills and experience:

Ewan is a Program Director of Mining3 as well as having an overarching role as the Research Director within the Mineral Resources division at CSIRO. 

He has worked in the mining industry for over 25 years focusing on hard rock mining.  His most recent role was as a Manager – Mine Process Solutions with JKTech in Brisbane. Ewan has led a similar research group in South Africa and worked as a consultant involved with improvements across the value chain in several mining companies.  

Qualifications:

PhD in Geomechanics from the University of Cape Town.

LinkedIn profile:

Dr Ewan Sellers

Dr Fernando Vieira

Program Director

Fernando Vieira is a Program Director of various applied research and technology innovation projects at Mining3.

Skills and experience:

Fernando joined Mining3 as a Program Director in February 2016. He leads research in rock cutting technologies, rock mass characterisations, fibre optic sensing technology and is the Program Coordinator for the CRC ORE Program 2: Separate.

For almost 30 years, Fernando has gained significant global mining experience with Rio Tinto, Anglo Gold Ashanti, the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and Anglo American in different regions including South Africa, Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Ghana and Australia.

In these roles he has managed production teams at mine operating sites, scientific teams at research centres such as the CSIR, and led technical assurance and engineering design teams for global mining companies.

Qualifications:

Masters in Science Mining Engineering from Porto University – Portugal, a PhD in Rock Mechanics from the University of the Witwatersrand – South Africa, an MBA from Fundação Getulio Vargas – Brazil and is currently an Associate Professor at the University of NSW.

LinkedIn profile:

Dr Fernando Vieira

 

Prof Gideon Chitombo

Technology Leader – Cave Mining

Gideon Chitombo is currently the Professor and Chair of minerals engagement at The University of Queensland’s Sustainable Minerals Institute.

His research is focused on mass underground metalliferous mining specifically using cave mining options, which are block or macroblock, panel, inclined and sublevel caving through applied international industry funded projects. Gideon has been involved in a number of renowned caving mining operations for extended periods including in Australia, South Africa and Chile.

He was appointed as an international advisory board member (Chairman) of a European Initiative (I2Mine) designed to focus on the technological challenges the European mining industry is currently and likely to face in the future including the exploitation of ever deeper deposits and the aspiration for an invisible, safe, zero impact mine. The project was being carried out by a consortium of 26 organisations from 10 European countries.

He was a 2012 recipient of a prestigious Australian’s Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (ATSE) Clunies Ross Award.

He is currently working with the mining industry to develop new knowledge and methodologies needed to effectively and safely apply cave mining methods at depths approaching 2000m or greater. The project designated as Cave Mining 2040 will be a series of four-year, milestone-driven industry collaboration and knowledge transfer, producing a paradigm shift in the application of cave-mining methods to increasingly deeper deposits.

Dr Sevda Dehkhoda

Technology Leader – Mechanical Fragmentation

Sevda Dehkhoda works on mechanised rock excavation and breakage technologies for hard rock mining.

Skills and experience:

Sevda’s research focuses on cutter/rock interaction and mechanics of rock failure in dynamically activated mechanical cutting tools and alternative breakage methods such as high-pressure water jet. She aims to reduce the energy required for breaking hard rocks, improving the efficiency and efficacy of the excavation machines.

With a diverse academic and professional background, Sevda has identified gaps in knowledge, developed potential technology solutions and led cutting edge research projects. Her unique capabilities include modelling of physical phenomena, developing testing programmes to capture key mechanisms, parameters and processes for evaluating novel technology options.

Sevda has also worked as a technical consultant in the area of rock engineering and geomechanics with highly reputed consulting and advisory firms for civil and mining industry in Australia and the Middle East. She has served as the secretary and interim chair of the Australian Geomechanics Society Queensland chapter.

Qualifications:

BSc (Mining Engineering), MSc (Mining Engineering), PhD (Mining Rock Fragmentation)

Additional representations:

  • National Committee member, Australian Geomechanics Society
  • Australia Liaison at the International Society for Rock Mechanics (2015-2019)
  • Member of Australian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
  • Member of the Institution of Engineers Australia, MIEAust

LinkedIn profile:

Dr Sevda Dehkhoda

Prof Anna Littleboy

Technology Leader – Sustainability through Technology

Anna Littleboy is a Technology Leader at Mining3 and a Research Director at the University of Queensland Sustainable Minerals Institute.

Skills and experience:

Anna specialises in sustainability to deliver a future for the minerals sector that uses less energy and water, produces fewer wastes and delivers shared value to communities.

Anna has worked on influential initiatives where science informs policy for a globally connected world. She is experienced at working directly with industry, State and Federal Governments and International Institutions to deliver game-changing technology and practices that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, mitigate environmental impact from the resources sector and develop trusting relationships between mining operations and their communities. Anna also established CSIRO Futures: a strategic foresight arm of CSIRO that now provides long-term trend analysis and scenarios to industry and Governments.

Anna has worked with various industry organisations from the resources sector (including Newmont, XStrata, Anglo American, Rio Tinto Iron Ore and BHP) and the Mining Equipment and Services Sector (for example Northern Project Consulting, Gekko Systems, Virtual Curtain Limited, Futureye, Reflexivity).

Previously Anna led the Commonwealth Science and Industry Research Organisations $17 million/year Resources and Sustainability programme, integrating more than 80 multidisciplinary staff including technologists with environmental and social scientists.

Qualifications:

Anna is a Fellow of the Minerals Institute, a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and a member of the Global Agenda Council on Responsible Minerals Development. She currently sits on the advisory board for a Federal Government growth initiative for the Mining Equipment, Technology and Services (METS) sector. She is a recipient of a CSIRO medal and a Strategic Award for Business Excellence and has authored several book chapters and articles in the field of global sustainability and mineral futures – including Our Future World, one of the most download CSIRO reports of all time.

LinkedIn profile:

Anna Littleboy

Karsten Hoehn

Technology Leader – Mine Sensing

Karsten Hoehn has a research background in physics and engineering.

Skills and experience:

Karsten has effectively led research activities to deliver high-value research outcomes for the metalliferous industry. His performance is evident in a number of important sensor-related research projects, which he led and where he achieved significant industrial impact, including projects for Rio Tinto, FMG, the DET CRC, Gold Fields and LKAB Wassara.

Karsten has extended the capability of the Mining Systems group through his research of fibre optic sensing for mining applications. He has originated new concepts for example on how to utilize optical fibres for strain sensing and developed designs for monitoring roof stability in underground mines using fibre optic sensors integrated in roof bolts. Other examples of novel fibre optic sensing capabilities he researched and developed include 3D shape characterisation and micro-seismic event detection.

Prof Michael Milford

Technology Leader – Automation

Michael Milford is a Technology Leader heading up Mining3’s Automation program.

Skills and experience:

Michael is a leading robotics researcher conducting interdisciplinary research between robotics, neuroscience and computer vision. His focus is developing new technologies in automation and robotics, with an emphasis on challenging environments, where current techniques fail such as all-weather, underground, anytime positioning for autonomous vehicles.

Michael holds the position of Professor at QUT, as well as Australian Research Council Future Fellow, Microsoft Research Faculty Fellow, and Chief Investigator at the Australian Centre for Robotic Vision.

Qualifications:

BE Mechanical and Space Engineering, PhD in Robotics both attained at The University of Queensland; Graduate Certificate in Academic Practice, QUT

LinkedIn profile:

Dr Michael Milford

Dr Italo Onederra

Technology Leader – Explosives and Blasting Engineering

Dr Italo Onederra has over 20 years of experience in the field of explosives engineering, blast design and analysis, performance monitoring and process optimisation.

Skills and experience:

Italo leads Mining3 projects focused on the development and implementation of advanced blast engineering technologies to enhance mining productivity. The current research focus is on novel explosive formulations, advanced sensors and monitoring techniques to quantify performance as well as modelling for blast design, analysis and continuous improvement.

His experience spans across applied R&D and expert consulting in projects involving several mining operations and associated clients in Australia, South America, Africa and Europe.

Italo was part of the team that developed JKSimBlast, a blast design and analysis software used by industry in over 35 countries and installed at more than 20 Universities around the world.

Over the years he has also developed a number of explosive rock breakage and fragmentation models applicable to both underground and open pit operations. Italo has published extensively in the area of blast design, analysis, monitoring and continuous improvement; and has been part of the Hybrid Stress Blasting Model (HSBM) research and validation team.

Italo is a senior lecturer at The School of Mechanical and Mining Engineering at the University of Queensland (UQ), and also Adjunct/Visiting Professor at the University of Chile.

Qualifications:

  • Bachelor of Engineering (Civil) with Honours from the University of Melbourne
  • Masters of Engineering Science and PhD from the University of Queensland.

 

Dr Dave Robinson

Technology Leader – In Situ Recovery and Processing

Dave Robinson spearheads the WA branch of Mining3 with expertise in hydrometallurgy, solution chemistry and processing.

Skills and experience:

David has nearly 30 years industry, research and management experience in base and precious metals hydrometallurgy in areas as diverse as mineral characterisation, geometallurgy and rheology, atmospheric and pressure leaching, solvent extraction and acid as well as bio-heap leaching. He has over 70 scientific publications and has held several patents for refining and separation of platinum group metals.

Dave has led major industry flow sheet development projects and significant research efforts. These include a focus on nickel laterite processing technology development and low-grade copper sulphide processing options. In addition, key technologies such as solvent extraction and electro-winning have been the focus of his R&D interests. He has also spent a considerable part of his career bridging the gap between industry needs and research establishment capabilities.

Dave’s most recent position was as Group Leader: Base and Precious Metals Processing, CSIRO Mineral Resources flagship and prior to joining CSIRO and Mining3 he spent 18 years working with Anglo Platinum and Anglo American in South Africa working on numerous operations including base and precious metal refineries.

Qualifications:

  • Bachelor of Science (Hons), Sheffield University (UK)
  • Master of Science at the University of the Witwatersrand (South Africa)
  • PhD at the University of South Africa
  • MBA at the University of Cape Town (South Africa)

LinkedIn Profile:

David Robinson

Prof Ernesto Villaescusa

Technology Leader – Deep Mining

Prof Ernesto Villaescusa has over 25 years of applied research experience and has worked with many mining companies to develop guidelines for effective underground mining leading to a safe and economical extraction of ore.

Skills and experience:

Through Mining3 Ernesto is undertaking research in deep excavation stability.

He has carried high level geological, mining and geotechnical reviews from a range of companies from medium scale (Penoles, Autlan in Mexico, Hochschild in Peru and Vedanta in Australia) to large corporations such as MIM Holdings, WMC Resources, Codelco Chile and BHP Billiton.

In addition, Ernesto has lead collaborative research efforts to identify, solve and successfully implement global solutions across entire organisations. Technology transfer from research outcomes and underground experiments has been a major focus. He ensures strong collaboration between mining partners and research funding providers to ensure projects remain relevant and valuable to the industry.

In 2004 he was appointed an industry Chair in Mining Rock Mechanics at WASM. The Chair is currently sponsored by Barrick, Goldfields, Barminco, Newcrest and Curtin University.

Qualifications:

Bachelor of Engineering (U.de Sonora), Masters of Science (Colorado School of Mines) and PhD from the University of Queensland.

Dihon Tadic

Principal Research Engineer – Mining Technology

Dihon Tadic has been working with Mining3 since 2000 and has led the Hard Rock and Surface Mining research program from 2012 to 2016.

Skills and experience:

Dihon now pilots a core body of applied research encompassing step-change initiatives towards continuous mechanical excavation systems and associated mine design, novel drilling technologies, rock mass characterisation systems, and sensing technologies for material detection and discrimination.

Dihon has played a key role in designing and developing novel drilling and rock breakage technologies.  These include blast hole drilling and automation tools, measurement-while-drilling technology, and water jet drilling and rock breaking systems for application in coal and hard rock mining.

Another primary research interest – and emerging focus area for Mining3 – is the development of technologies enabling material sorting and ore upgrading.  This applied research is a component of Mining3’s collaboration with CRC ORE, ultimately aiming to demonstrate integrated large-scale Grade Engineering technologies delivering significant upside to mining profitability.

Qualifications:

Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in Mining Engineering from the University of Queensland.

Dr Charlotte Sennersten

Technology Leader – 3D Systems

Charlotte Sennersten is an expert in 3D systems and has been working with 3D mine virtualisation and levels of UAV autonomy via cognitive architectures.

Skills and experience:

Charlotte is assigned to Mining3 from CSIRO Data61. Her work with the mining block model approach together with her former experience in 3D simulation and visualisation have resulted in the development of a data management platform for 3D indexation called VoxelNet. This system supports sensor data referencing, virtualisation and visualisation.

VoxelNet is 3D global agent-based system subdivided into hierarchical geolocated voxels. They can interchange and share data and information with one another. The voxels have an individual ID and can be queried. Their hierarchical organisation allows volumetric data to be scaled down to a molecular –as well as up to a universal level to support location of measurements and derived volumetric analytics.

Ongoing work aims to develop a full internet implementation of the VoxelNet that can support shared data sets and virtual worlds. Also, it is optimally everyone’s editor with analytics running in support of optimised operations across the value chain.

Qualifications:

Masters degree in Cognitive Science and a PhD in Computer Science

LinkedIn:

Dr Charlotte Sennersten

Enver Bajram

Project Leader – Electronics Engineer

Enver Bajram is an Electronic Systems Engineer and Project Leader with Mining3.

Skills and Experience:

Enver leads research in the field of Electrical and Embedded Systems design focusing on using high speed data capture techniques for analogue signal interpretation and analysis.Enver is currently leading a team of engineers in the research and development of an Electronic Spark Test (EST) apparatus as well as a Top Of Coal (TOC) Detection system for use in Rotary Air Blast (RAB) drill rigs.

He has over 15 years’ experience in the field of embedded systems and electrical/electronic systems design working in the field of Covert Surveillance Technologies for 10 years and then subsequently in the field of mining technologies for the last five years.

Having worked on many commercialised products as both an engineer and a project leader, Enver brings the experience of developing a system from concept to commercialised products to CRC Mining.

Qualifications:

Bachelor in Electrical and Computer Systems Engineering and a degree in Project Management from Queensland University of Technology.

Ivor Bryan

Director – Industry Engagement

Ivor has over 30 years’ experience in the mining industry in a variety of operational, project management and senior management roles. This includes 12 years in production and senior management roles at Olympic Dam in South Australia, project management of the Tampakan Copper project in the Philippines, and as Western Mining’s Group Wide Manager of Mining Technology.  He has also led multidisciplinary Project Management roles on mining projects both in Australia and overseas. More recently he established and managed a Technology advisory services company for 15 years for the mining industry before joining Mining3 and establishing a start-up company commercializing technology developed by WASM/Curtin University.