Specialists

Our people are drawn from many fields and backgrounds, from university researchers to experts in the mining industry and technology manufacturing. We have trained some of the most intelligent and capable industry-ready experts and researchers in mining today.

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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

 

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Dr Ewan Sellers

Program Director

Dr 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:

Ewan Sellers

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Stephen Fraser

Program Director

Stephen is a numerate geoscientist with over 30 years’ experience in exploration and mining.

Skills and experience:

Stephen is recognised, internationally, for his expertise in the integrated analysis of geoscience and mining data sets; and for his advocacy for the “Common Mine Model” (CMM). The vision of which is now being realised through the development of the ecosystem colloquially known as the “Internet of Mining Things”.

Other achievements include the development of a spatially enabled data-mining tool (SiroSOM) for the integrated analysis of complex geoscientific and mining-related data sets. The development of next-generation elemental logging tools using nuclear methods for both mining and exploration purposes

Current Research Interests:

  • Advocating for data and communications interoperability; and, equipment / software (“API”) standards within the mining technology ecosystem
  • Development and application of geosensing methods for in-situ characterization, and for process and equipment utilisation and optimisation
  • Integrated analysis and interpretation of disparate data sets for geoscientific, mining and processing applications

Stephen is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy and a member of the Australian Society of Exploration Geophysicists and the Association of Applied Geochemists. He has authored or co-authored over 260 publications, which include refereed papers, conference proceedings and client-initiated research, and consulting reports.

Stephen joined CSIRO as an Experimental Scientist in 1984. He was transitioned to CSIRO’s Research Scientist Functional Area in 1994, after managing a multi-million dollar, international, science off-sets initiative; contributing to three AMIRA projects, two of which he initiated and led; and significantly contributing to the organisation by his undertakings with the mining industry.

Qualifications:

B.Sc. Geology and Mineralogy (1st Class Honours) University of Qld, 1977. (Thesis Topic: The Structure and Stratigraphy of the Cameron River Area, near Mary Kathleen, North-West Queensland).

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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.

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Dihon Tadic

Principal Research Engineer – Mining Technology

13Dihon 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.

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Susan Grandone

Program Director

Susan Grandone manages excavation and dig technology equipment projects aimed at improving the bottom line for mining companies.

Skills and experience:

Susan joined Mining3 as a Program Director in 2015. Over the past 10 years, Susan has gained significant hands-on operations experiencFreeport-McMoRan, Barrick, Rio Tinto and other global mining companies. She has over 20+ years of experience leading multi-cultural teams, conducting scientific research, and delivering mega- capital projects and complex scientific studies in mining, industrial, and manufacturing sectors.

Previously Susan worked with CRCMining in 2003 as a Work Area Leader. In this role she led research projects which investigated ODC hard rock cutting technology, monitoring whilst drilling/rock recognition technologies, and optimisation of dig, load and haul practices.

With a lifetime of mining industry experience, Susan brings experience in research, project management, inventing and patenting technology and commercialisation.

Qualifications:
MBA 4.0 GPA – University of Phoenix 2010
Certified Six Sigma Black Belt (Caterpillar), 2002
Project Management (Ernst and Young) 1998
BS – Geology 3.7 GPA – Illinois State University, 1990

LinkedIn Profile:

Susan Grandone

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Erik Isokangas

Technology Leader – Mining Process

Erik Isokangas provides expertise in mining process analysis, design, and the implementation of new technologies for current and future mining systems.

Skills and experience:

Erik joined Mining3 in March 2017 as a Technology Leader . He provides research capability in the fields of mine process modelling, complex simulation, integrated mine process design and implementation, and future mining systems. 

He previously worked for Metso, a global equipment supplier to the mining industry, most recently as the Director for In-pit Solutions. In this role, he developed a new solution-oriented business around IPCC (in-pit crushing and conveying) systems; developing IPCC concept plans and pre-feasibility studies for customers and technology roadmaps. Prior to this role, he led a consulting team in Metso, Finland, focused on process integration and optimisation (mine-to-mill) studies for mines in Europe, Russia, Middle East & Africa.

Erik has also worked for Thiess, a major mining contractor, managing and developing a number of new technologies to support mining operations, including equipment productivity monitoring systems, complex modelling and simulation solutions, benchmarking, leading-edge survey technologies, and data visualisation.

Qualifications:

Erik holds a Bachelor degree in Electrical Engineering (Computer Systems) and a Doctorate in Mineral Processing from the Julius Kruttschnitt Mineral Research Centre (JKMRC) at the University of Queensland. He is also a member of the AusIMM.

LinkedIn profile:

Erik Isokangas

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Dr Italo Onederra

Technology Leader – Explosives and blasting engineer

Dr Italo Onderra has over 17 years of experience in the areas of rock breakage, excavation engineering and mining geomechanics.

Skills and experience:

Italo leads Mining3 projects focused on the development and implementation of advanced blasting engineering technologies to enhance mining productivity. Research currently focuses on novel explosive formulations, advanced sensors and monitoring techniques to quantify performance; as well as advanced modelling for blast design, analysis and continuous improvement.

His experience spans across applied research and development, and consulting projects involving several mining operations and associated clients in Australia, South America, Africa and Europe. He 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. He 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.

The HSBM is a new explosive rock interaction model developed over the last 10 years as part of an industry-sponsored international project.

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.

 

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Dr Sevda Dehkhoda

Technology Leader – Mechanical Fragmentation

Dr 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

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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.

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Dr Charlotte Sennersten

3D System Researcher

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

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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.

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Miguel Araos

Project Leader – Explosives Engineer

Miguel Araos has more than 20 years of experience in the area of ammonium nitrate-based explosives for the mining industry (ANFO, emulsions and water gels).

Skills and experience:

Miguel’s experience covers formulations (emulsifiers, gassing sensitisation), detonation properties, safety, manufacturing, delivery systems, process safety, risk assessments (HAZOP, Bow tie, etc.) auditing and regulatory compliance. Based on his technical knowledge in ammonium nitrate-based explosives, solid chemistry and physic principles, he designed this new explosive based on hydrogen peroxide.

He commenced his PhD research project at The University of Queensland in 2012 to investigate the detonation properties of a novel mining explosive formulation to eliminate nitrogen oxide fumes. His research is supported by Mining3 with funding from ACARP.

Qualifications:

Bachelor of Science (Chemistry) from University of Chile, a Master of Science (Physical Chemistry) from University of Sydney and is a PhD student at The University of Queensland.

LinkedIn profile:

Miguel Araos

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Dr Ali Soofastaei

Data Scientist

Dr Ali Soofastaei’s research field is on developing innovative models based on Artificial Intelligence (AI) methods to increase productivity, energy efficiency and reducing total cost of mining operations.

Within the past fifteen years, Dr Soofastaei has performed a variety of research in both academic and industrial environments. He has developed an in-depth knowledge in Energy Efficiency Opportunities, Value Engineering and data analysis.

Skills and experience:

Ali has experience in research, development, project management, leadership, entrepreneurship, commercialisation and business development in mining, oil and gas industries for more than 10 years. In this period of time, he has collaborated with a network of first class researchers and companies around the world.

He has completed 15 research projects and published the achievements of these projects in 42 journal and conference papers. He has three patents and two developed software packages.

Qualifications:

PhD graduate at the School of Mechanical and Mining Engineering, The University of Queensland, Australia.
Project Management Professional (PMP), certified by Project Management Institute (PMI), USA.

LinkedIn Profile:

Ali Soofastaei

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Edward Prochon

Project Leader – Drilling technologies

Edward Prochon is an Electrical Engineer and Research Project Leader at Mining3.

Edward leads research projects involving high tech drilling technologies for coal seam drilling, through the earth communications, and coal seam gas flow analysis using Distributed Temperature Sensing.

Edward leads an Advanced Logging Tool project. The aim of this project is to develop a Measurement Whilst Drilling (MWD) tool and geological survey tools for the Underground In-Seam (UIS) drilling industry.

These tools will improve a coal mining company’s ability to achieve sustained higher productivity.  Unplanned longwall delays will be reduced by mapping roof, floor and dykes, and achieve more reliable pre-mining drainage by drilling straighter holes.

Edward presented an overview of Advanced Logging Tool project at the combined ACARP and Bowen Basin Geologist Group meeting at Central Queensland University in 2014 and Longwall conference in the Hunter Valley in October 2015.

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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.