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

Enver Bajram

Technology Leader - Mine Electronics

Enver Bajram has worked for the last 15 years as an Electronics Design Engineer in the military, law enforcement and now mining.

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. He 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.

Enver 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 Mining3.

Qualifications:

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

LinkedIn:

Enver Bajram

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.

Gideon’s 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. He has been involved in a number of renowned caving mining operations for extended periods including in Australia, South Africa and Chile.

Gideon 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.

Gideon 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.

Qualifications:

  • PhD, The University of Queensland
  • MSc, University of Colorado
  • BSc, University of Colorado

LinkedIn:

Gideon Chitombo

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

Isaac Dzakpata

Senior Mining Engineer

Isaac Dzakpata is a Senior Mining Engineer at Mining3 with exposure to both open pit and underground operations.

Skills and experience:

Isaac has over 14 years experience in open pit and underground mining across three major continents. He has extensive knowledge in mine design and scheduling, capital and operating cost budgeting, mine operational optimisation, and improvement implementation. Isaac has expert knowledge of mining equipment application with a recent focus on continuous mining systems and high capacity hard rock cutting in both surface and underground environments.

Qualifications: 

Isaac is currently completing his doctorate at The University of Queensland, titled “Determining the Impact of Mine Design Parameters on the Effective Utilisation of Fully Mobile In-Pit Crushing and Conveying Systems.”

LinkedIn profile:

Isaac Dzakpata

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 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

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

Prof Rachel Parker

Technology Leader - Business Systems

Rachel Parker leads a team of researchers who work with Mining3 members to identify the mechanisms needed to support the realisation of the market value from new technologies using business and social science techniques.

Rachel’s team utilises evidence-based research to analyse business culture and industry-level dynamics to better understand the factors impeding and supporting technology innovation in a business or across the mining industry. The team co-develop, with industry, the management, business and workforce solutions which will support technology transformation in the mining sector.

Skills and experience:

Rachel is the Director of the Centre for Mining Equipment Technology and Services Business Innovation (CMBI) at Queensland University of Technology (QUT). She also leads the Transforming Innovation Systems research platform for QUT’s Institute for Future Environments.

Rachel has developed a multi-disciplinary program of research on industrial innovation which focuses on the business and social-system processes which affect technology uptake and diffusion, predominantly in engineering-based industries. Her research seeks to better understand the drivers and bottlenecks to the creation of industrial opportunities and market value around new technologies. She leads a team of researchers with expertise in managing human behaviour, business strategy and social systems to support technology-based industrial transformation. The CMBI team has experience working with firms across a range of industry sectors including mining, METS, construction, agri-business and manufacturing.

Rachel’s research has important public policy implications and she has worked closely with government and industry associations to influence policy discussions around the development of technology-intensive economic activities in Australia. In July 2015 Rachel appeared as an expert witness before the Senate Economic References Committee inquiry into Australia’s innovation system.

Rachel has led a major program of research on industrial innovation as Chief Investigator on over $8million of both competitive and commercial grants.

Rachel provided QUT leadership of the successful 2015 bid to host the METS Industry Growth Centre at QUT, partnering with Mining3 (formally CRCMining), CRCOre, CSIRO, Queensland Chief Scientist, Queensland Department of Science, Information Technology and Innovation, Department of Natural Resources and Mines, Trade & Investment Queensland.

Qualifications:

  • Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Laws (Honours)
  • PhD in Industrial Innovation
  • Graduate Certification in Education (Higher Education).

Served as Assistant Dean Research, QUT Business School; and Dean Research Development in the Division of Research and Commercialisation at QUT.

LinkedIn profile:

Prof Rachel Parker

Dr Ruslan Puscasu

Technology Leader - Rock Mass Analytics

Dr Ruslan Pascasu is the Mining3 Technology Leader for Rock Mass Engineering, focussing on mining and allied technology for safe, efficient, eco-friendly and economic mineral extraction.

Skills and experience:

Ruslan’s research interests span a diverse and multi-disciplinary range of topics including – but not limited to – fundamental physics, applied engineering and business. Much of his work has been focused on improving the understanding, design and performance of mining operations mainly through the application of sound geomechanics and geotechnical principles, integrating sensing technologies, data science, and economic evaluation.

With his broad R&D experience and exposure across several industries, Ruslan is adept at delivering strategic, technology-driven transformations across the various facets of mining. He has developed projects for major global mining operators and METS, particularly in underground mass mining/cave mining environments. Ruslan continues to deliver value through establishing and mentoring teams of technologists, building strong relationships, and identifying and responding to ambiguity, risk and uncertainty in complex systems.

Ruslan aims to find innovative ways to deliver minerals faster, smarter and at a reduced cost, while demonstrating how rock masses can be broken, controlled and tracked more intelligently through the connection of extraction technologies, automated systems and data analysis.

Qualifications:

  • PhD in Physics from the Swinburne University of Technology
  • Graduate Diploma in Economics from the International Institute of Management

Ruslan serves as a reviewer of prestigious journals and Chairs the IEEE Computer Society Queensland. He is a member of AusIMM and senior member of IEEE.

LinkedIn profile

Dr Ruslan Pascasu:

Rajiv Shekhar

Technology Leader - Intrinsic Safety

Rajiv Shekhar specialises in applying interdisciplinary modelling and experimental techniques to explosion protection challenges in mining.

Skills and experience:

From 2014-2018, Rajiv was a researcher at the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB), Germany’s national metrology institute and a world authority in explosion safety research. In this role, he worked on a scientific approach for predicting explosion risks due to electrical sparking in hazardous areas, focussing on applications of intrinsically safe (IS) systems. Prior to this, he held various roles in Mining3’s surface and underground coal-related research projects.

Rajiv is now the Principal Researcher on Mining3’s Electronic Spark Tester (EST) project.

Qualifications:

  • Bachelor of Engineering (Hons) in Electrical Engineering
  • PhD (approved – awaiting conferral)

LinkedIn profile:

Rajiv Shekhar

Prof Sam Spearing

Technology Leader - Geotechnical

Sam Spearing is a Technology Leader at Mining3 and the Director of Science and Engineering at Curtin University.

Skills and experience:

Sam has extensive experience in all aspects of underground mining, having visited over 60 countries for mining-related assignments. His skills and experience transverse a broad range of topics including:

  • Innovation and commercialisation
  • Education, training and upskilling
  • Cooperative research and problem-solving
  • Instrumentation and real-time monitoring
  • Risk management,  regulation, safety and auditing
  • Underground mine and excavation design
  • Geotechnical and geosciences work
  • Support design
  • Tailings disposal and management

Qualifications:

  • PhD Technical University of Silesia, Poland
  • MSc (Civil Engineering) University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa
  • BSc (Mining Engineering) University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa

LinkedIn profile:

Sam Spearing

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.

Prof Roger Thompson

Technology Leader - Haul Road Technology

Roger Thompson is both a Technology Leader at Mining3 and Professor at Curtin University.

Skills and experience:

Roger has more than 25 years of industry and academic experience, with over 20 years in the field of surface mine haul road design, construction and management. He has undertaken numerous research and consulting assignments, centred on surface mining transportation and provision, rehabilitation or improved design and management of open-pit, strip, terrace and quarry-mining haul roads across Africa, Australia, Asia, Europe, North and South America.

Following a number of years in mining production to qualify as a Mine Manager, in 1991, Roger took up a post as Senior Lecturer, and from 2003, the post of Professor of Mining Engineering, at the University of Pretoria.

In 2000, he was a guest researcher at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health – Spokane Research Laboratory (USA) and was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship for further study in the United States with both NIOSH and Colorado School of Mines in 2001.

Roger is currently a Professor of Mining Engineering at Curtin University WA School of Mines, Kalgoorlie.

Qualifications:

  • Bsc(Hons) (Mining), MSc(Mining) – Camborne School of Mines
  • PhD through the Department of Civil Engineering – University of Pretoria

LinkedIn profile:

Roger Thompson

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.

Dr Paul Wilson

Technology Leader - Data Analytics and Senior Electrical Engineer

Paul is an electrical and control systems engineer with 50 years of experience across a wide range of industries

Skills and experience:

Paul has led design teams in industrial software development and process control systems in plants as diverse as ammonia, water and sewerage, steel, foodstuffs, and for ten years in mining, mineral processing plants and bulk materials handling.

Paul’s primary focus at Mining3 is the fibre optic distributed sensing technology. He is the lead researcher behind the highly successful acoustic sensing for conveyor belt monitoring project currently undergoing trials on several mine sites.  Paul has been responsible for establishing a Mining3 patent covering the data processing and automated pattern recognition.

Qualifications:

Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering, a Master’s degree in Dynamic Systems Modelling and a PhD researching machine learning for data analysis.  Paul has served for 18 years as a senior lecturer in instrumentation and control at the Queensland Unversity of Technology, Brisbane.

LinkedIn profile:

Dr Paul Wilson