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Justin Rowntree




Mining with Principles - how our collective action on nature can contribute to the ambitions of the Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF)


As stewards of the minerals and metals that are critical to sustainable development and decarbonisation, our industry has a responsibility to lead from the front and minimise the impact of operations on the environment and the communities where we operate. ICMM member companies have committed to operating according to 10 mining principles and 39 performance expectations. While these commitments drive leadership, action, and innovation for sustainable development, they are not the ceiling of our ambition.

Nature loss and ecosystem collapse is an undeniable threat to people and the planet, affecting human wellbeing and environmental health in every country on every continent. ICMM and our member companies are already taking steps to address this global challenge and contribute towards a world in which nature is more healthy, abundant, and resilient. In this presentation, we will explore some of the initiatives that ICMM and our member companies are implementing and of the critical role that the mining and metals sector can play in supporting the ambitions of the Global Biodiversity Framework (agreed at COP 15 in December 2022).

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Steve Holmes

First Majestic Silver Corp.


Geoscience:  The Foundation of Mining


A prominent CEO in the mining industry once told me “Exploration geologists create value.  Everyone else involved in mining is a value detractor.”  While this statement sounds catchy, the fact is that it takes a village of expertise to profitably extract minerals and metals in the mining industry, and exploration and geoscientists play a crucial role in this.

As a mining engineer with a business background, I have seen firsthand on many applications, from North and South America, Australia, Indonesia, and Eastern Europe what can happen when the geoscience work is not done well.  Understanding the macro and local geology through mapping, sampling, surveys and ultimately drilling, leads to the R&R models mine planners and mining engineers depend on to optimize mine designs, capacity, layouts, methods, production, and costs.  Understanding the geometallurgy and the minerals and ores can have enormous impacts on the processing selection and design, and ultimately the large-scale, long-term investments companies, and investors, must make in successfully developing and managing mining businesses.  This includes final closure and reclamation, which is an essential part of the modern mining business cycle.

Good geoscience, applied correctly, gives engineers the right information to make good decisions on mining operations and drives the final success or failure of a mining venture.  It’s like charting a long journey from exploration to production and economic success in the minerals industry.  If you get the start of the trip mostly right, you usually end up in a good place, delivering on the results you promised to your stakeholders.  But if the geoscience is poorly understood and presented, mistakes will be compounded dramatically, enough so to potentially ruin the project, and in some cases destroy the company.

In the world of mining, strong geoscience builds the foundation from which engineers and smart business leaders can drive value for everyone invested in the success of the mine.  In this presentation I present some classic examples of excellence in geoscience and the resulting business benefits and include some failures which had dramatically negative results for those involved.


Christopher Mark, Ph.D., P.E.

Mine Safety & Health Administration (MSHA)


The Road to Zero: The Fifty-Year Effort to Eliminate Roof Fall Fatalities from US Underground Coal Mines


Sixty years ago underground coal mining was the most hazardous job in the United States.  Roof falls were a big part of the problem.  They killed about 100 miners every year, more than all other causes put together.  Fast forward half a century to 2016, and the first year ever with zero roof fall fatalities.  Just three miners were killed by roof falls during the following six years. How was this historic goal achieved?  This presentation will start with a modern analysis of the causes of the roof fall fatalities in 1968.  Then it follows the reductions over time by category, using snapshots of the fatalities occurring in subsequent decades.  Along the way it evaluates the influence of the regulatory environment, changing mining methods, and better ground control technology.  The paper shows that in 1968 more than half of roof fall fatalities at large mines were attributable to an inadequate safety culture. The immediate effect of the 1969 Coal Mine Health and Safety Act was to reduce the riskiest activities, like needlessly going under unsupported roof.  Other hazards, like large roof falls, required technological developments before they were brought under control.  Roof Control Plans, which the US Bureau of Mines had been advocating since the 1920’s, also played a significant role throughout the process.  With fatal roof falls largely eliminated, current efforts are focused on preventing fatal rib falls, which in recent years have remained stubbornly high.  Continuing to reduce the numbers of non-fatal ground fall injuries and large, non-injury roof falls are also priorities.

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David Williams

The University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia


Meeting the Tailings Management Challenges


Due to the unacceptably high rate of catastrophic failures, tailings dams represent the single most significant risk to the mining industry.  Unlike open pits and underground operations that fail internally, the release of tailings from surface facilities reports downstream, threatening people, infrastructure, and the environment.  As a result, mining companies must engage effectively with all stakeholders and embrace their concerns through improved practices and commitment to preserving the social and environmental aspects of the regions in which they operate.  At the same time, mining companies must also remain profitable and reward their owners, shareholders, employees, and the community.  This represents a considerable challenge to the mining sector, given that the future will see the massive increase in commodity demand, which results in more tailings being generated.  The mining industry’s responses to these challenges will be presented, including improved governance, consideration of alternative tailings management technologies, reduced tailings production, and increased tailings re-processing and potential re-use.

Andrea Rutley​



How Geophysics has a Role to Play in Supporting a Sustainable Mining Industry


In January 2016, the seventeen Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) of the United Nations’ (UN) 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, officially came into force.  It is the intent of the UN, that the SDGs provide a “shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future” and that “the Sustainable Development Goals are a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and improve the lives and prospects of everyone, everywhere.”  


The UN defined a Decade of Action, and our journey within the decade is rapidly accelerating as we increase our focus on Sustainability within the global mining industry.  Sustainability is no longer an addendum to how we operate, but it is an expectation that all global resource companies should be leading in Sustainability. As Resource Professionals, we are ideally placed to guide and support sustainable resource exploration and environmental management through innovation and technology.

Geophysics has had an enduring influence on society and has demonstrated its ability to grow and adapt to a variety of challenges.  As a science, the term “geophysics” was first used in Germany in the mid 1800’s.  Since then, geophysics has been a key contributor to society being applied in world wars, it has endured commodity cycles and changing community expectations and has seen a rapid acceleration of technology.  Geophysics has been part of the sciences that attempt to unravel how we humans interact with the planet from water to energy, mineral resources, and natural hazard management and is an invaluable discipline to assist in integrating sustainability into the mining life cycle.

Dr. Corinne Unger

The University of Queensland, Business School


A spectrum of Closure Outcomes from Managing Enviro-Social Risks over the Life of Mine

Only when I wrestled with the limitations of risk assessment frameworks for mining operations did I realise that they were all directed toward mitigating unwanted events and in doing so overlooked the process whereby enviro-social risks develop over the whole life of a mine. This prompted me to advance from earth science to social science to learn how to research and explain these risk organising processes that come together under the broad concept of mine closure. This comprises a set of activities carried out throughout the life of mine to manage risks that develop collectively, slowly and inconspicuously over long durations. This paper presents a spectrum of ways of managing these enviro-social (insidious) risks with divergent outcomes from i) leading practice creating beneficial post mining uses, to ii) worst practice that leaves persistent negative mining legacies. ‘Leading practice’ insidious risk management (IRM) for mine closure creates safe, stable and non-polluting landforms of waste materials, backfilled into pits or in purpose-built above-ground landforms, remediated/ reclaimed to support life (e.g., ecosystems), or healthy pit lakes with carefully managed groundwater rebound supporting sustainable and agreed post-mining uses; decommissioned or repurposed infrastructure; together with communities having a say in the landforms and uses so they can reconnect culturally with mined lands and  return to old livelihoods or find a role in new livelihoods. There is also potential to find new value in wastes to extend the life of mines and reduce liabilities. At the other end of the spectrum catastrophic outcomes result from inadequate closure and may include: large unfunded liabilities at the end of mine life, companies selling mines for $1 to smaller entities who underestimate the closure risks, partial reclamation leaving persistent impacts to be managed in perpetuity by others, abandonment of environmental obligations and mining-dependent communities. While the latter are increasingly less common as regulations catch up over the last decade, globally there remain a significant number of mining legacy sites that require intervention. Importantly, while the outcome of mine closure is relatively obvious, the IRM process that accomplishes this, is not. Thus, this presentation will explain the eight main activities carried out during IRM and show how differently each are carried out within the spectrum of ways. Understanding this process supplements our understanding of risk management that is directed toward preventing or mitigating an unwanted event. The two dimensions of risk – process and outcome - go hand in hand, but the crucial influence of the social organising process of risk management that leads to different outcomes has not been well understood or even examined until now. Hence, I explain how practitioners, including geoscientists, interact with; colleagues and other professionals, regulators, environments and mine features, plus communities over the life of a mine to produce leading practice outcomes (or the opposite). Increasingly investors and markets are urging higher sustainability standards. This keynote urges integration of disciplinary fields and a longitudinal perspective of mining that reflects upon past activities and standards and creates a more sustainable future.


Hamid Maleki, PhD, PE

Maleki Technologies, Inc. (MTI)


Review of Coal Burst Mechanics and Control Measures in Three Major United States Coal Fields


This presentation reviews a study conducted by MTI for ACARP to assist Angelo-American operations with better understanding of coal burst mechanics and control based on U.S. practical experience, investigations, and inspections in three major U.S. Coal Fields over the past five decades. The study examined both nonviolent and burst prone case studies to identify contributing risk factors and addressed failure mechanisms for major US coal fields in Utah, Colorado, and Kentucky, which have diverse characteristics.


To investigate the mechanics of coal burst, we have used a multi-pronged approach. First, field measurements in three mines from East Mountain, Utah, are complemented with finite-difference stress analyses to address the importance of horizontal stress in coal pillar mechanics of violent failure. Second, we have reviewed computational procedures for estimating seismicity resulting from slip along geological discontinuities, as these measurements point to seismicity being the trigger mechanism for violent failure of marginally stable structures. This joint-slip seismicity mechanism agrees with the more recent improved re-examination of MIS data from the Crandall Canyon Mine, Utah by University of Utah Third, we have applied a hybrid statistical-analytical methodology for identifying significant factors affecting coal burst. It utilizes data from 30 case studies including those from Utah, Colorado, Kentucky, and other Eastern U.S. mines providing predictive capability for the entire United States coal fields . The statistical method reinforces comprehensive field measurements from Utah/Kentucky mines and points to strata rigidity, joint spacings and horizontal stress field as significant factors affecting damage resulting from coal bursts. This provides practical capabilities for identifying operations of higher risk using a rigidity-cavability variable.


Overall, the study provides valuable insights into the mechanics and risk factors associated with coal bursts in major U.S. coal fields. By utilizing a multi-pronged approach that incorporates both field measurements and statistical- analytical calculations, the study offers practical capabilities for identifying operations of higher risk and improving coal burst control.


Roger Griffiths

Orica Limited


Orebody Intelligence for Improved Mining Efficiency

Subsurface measurements provide critical insight into orebody properties. However, the common mining industry practice of using a single value for each property to represent the multiple million kilograms of rock in a typical grade block is insufficient given the complexity of real-world geology. Improved orebody intelligence allows more efficient extraction and processing with associated improvement in mine economics. The recently announced Digital Solutions business within Orica brings a new generation of sensors and digital capabilities to the mining industry. Wireline-conveyed measurements such as downhole imaging, borehole magnetic resonance and elemental spectroscopy are complemented by while-drilling measurements such as rock hardness and natural gamma ray. Blast design packages leverage this information to inform explosive loading and predict fragmentation and ore movement outcomes. By acquiring subsequent surface measurements of actual blast movement and fragment size, a feedback loop is created allowing continuous improvement in extraction operations. A digital twin of the comminution circuit can subsequently use the fragment size distribution and physical properties of the feedstock to predict mill performance. Monitoring actual mill performance provides a second feedback loop through which mill performance can be optimized either by changing upstream parameters such as fragment size, or stockpile blending, or by changing the operating characteristics of the mill itself. Acquiring a statistically meaningful representation of the orebody before extraction is key to improving the recovery process.

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Dr. Len Drury

Aqua Rock Konsultants (ARK)


Challenges of Hydrogeology in Mine Development and Operation


During mine development and operation, there is usually too much or not enough groundwater. Both options are good for the hydrogeological profession. This may require development water supply borefields, mine dewatering, slope depressurisation, numerical modelling, Managed Aquifer Injection (in-situ mining, reducing regional hydrogeological impact, wastewater management), community consultation and local and international court representation. Due to outstanding professionalism and management skills of most mining companies it is usually a pleasure to work with them, however, there are exceptions.


Examples of hydrogeological studies will be given for major open cut and underground mining projects in Australia, Bangladesh, Kazakhstan, Philippines and Saudi Arabia. Current ARK mine consultancies will not be presented.


The Hydrogeologist is usually one of the first professionals to arrive on a potential mineral exploration site. When working internationally the Consultant needs to understand the political, religious and ethnicity of the working environment. A simple job may be enlargened to major projects status with some simple strategies under respect and professional excellence. These essential professional standards will be presented during the presentation.

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Peter Goerke-Mallet

Technische Hochschule Georg Agricola University  


The German Coal Industry and its Knowledge of the Relationship Between Ground Water and Ground Movements


The German coal industry consists of two different branches that face different challenges in terms of ground water-induced ground movements. This is caused by previous underground hard coal mining and current open pit lignite mining. The production of hard coal stopped in 2018. In Germany’s hard coal regions, the Ruhr and Saar areas, ground water rebound is on its way. Lignite mining is still ongoing with a production rate of some 130 million tons (2022). Nearly half of the production is from the Rhenish region. The hard coal mining industry mined coalbeds within solid rock, overlaid by a sedimentary cap rock. Dewatering of the cap rock has caused measureable subsidence at the surface. The water rebound now causes an uplift. Lignite mining in the Rhenish region takes place in sedimentary formations that carry multiple ground water horizons. Open pit mining requires long-term dewatering around the mines. This causes ground movements at the surface. Once the pits are reclaimed, the ground water table is allowed to rise again, causing reverse ground movements. The correlation between ground movements and ground water is crucial especially near tectonic faults, creating a risk of damage of buildings and infrastructure. In a series of projects at the Post-Mining Research Center of Technische Hochschule Georg Agricola in Bochum (THGA), researchers observe and evaluate these ground movements and changes in ground water levels. From these studies, THGA is able to predict future subsidence and mitigation measures. Scientifically sound monitoring efforts are crucial for early warnings, risk-management, and communications with stakeholders. Researchers also use data from the European Ground Motion Service (EGMS) and the German Monitoring Service (Bodenbewegungsdienst, BBD). These platforms rely on satellites equipped with radar sensors, so that radar interferometry can be performed. Drones and terrestrial measurements are used for in-depth observations, for example during heavy rainfall.

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Simon Jowitt

University of Nevada Las Vegas


Climate Change Mitigation, the Energy Transition and the Minerals Industry


Climate change mitigation will require a significant decrease in the CO2 emissions associated with transport and energy generation and more. However, the metal and mineral requirements for this transition are often neglected when developing plans and policy around combating climate change. In reality, moving to a low-CO2 future will require significant (in some cases >500%) increases in production of key minerals and metals beyond the record levels of production the mining industry has already achieved, even if we can also increase the recycling of these commodities. A number of these metals and minerals are already generally considered critical, meaning that they are subject to significant supply chain risk. It is likely that the increases in demand as a result of the transition to low- and zero-CO2 energy generation, storage and transport and the associated upgrades needed to grid and other infrastructure will be the main drivers of the minerals industry for decades to come. Secondary sources of the metals and minerals required for the energy transition such as mine waste and tailings also need to be assessed, and mining operations need to consider how they can move towards carbon neutral operations. This presentation will outline the mineral requirements for a low CO2 future, why meaningful climate change mitigation will necessarily rely on the raw materials supplied by the minerals industry, and the implications of this for the future of mining and mineral and metal extraction.

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Patrick M. Webb, P.E.

Bureau of Abandoned Mine Reclamation



Overview of Pennsylvania’s Title IV (Abandoned Mine Land (AML)) Program and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), also known as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL)


Pat will provide an overview of PA’s AML program found at:  Abandoned Mine Land Reclamati on ( , specifically Pat will present definitions and illustrations of AML problem types at:  AML Program Information ( and Abandoned Mine Land Hazards and Problem Types (


Pat will then provide and update of the funding that the PA AML program is using from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), also known as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) signed by President Biden on November 15, 2021.  Information on the BIL can be found on the  federal Department of the Interior, Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE) website at:

Marcel Croon

Epiroc Kinetic Logging Services



Multi-Sensor Wireline Measurement Solutions and Petrophysical Applications in Mining


Historically, mine site borehole wireline-based measurements involve gamma ray, density, resistivity, and televiewer image measurements to identify boundary contacts, determine the water level and image structures such as fractures and faults. In recent years, the industry is progressing to more complex applications involving a multi-sensor wireline measurements approach. For example, pulsed neutron elemental spectroscopy and density measurements are used for accurate ore and deleterious elements characterization and reduce Selective Mining Unit (SMU). Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR), magnetic susceptibility and televiewer image logs are used to accurately quantify porosity, moisture content and hydraulic conductivity sonic to optimize the process from mining to the product. Sonic, density, televiewer image and borehole seismic logs are evaluated to compute rock mechanical properties and fracture distribution for geotechnical and mine design decision making. Appropriate use of these interpretations and effective handling of significant volumes of current and historic log data can play a key role in improving timeliness of operational decision making, reducing cost, and enhancing safety through a reduced requirement for cored holes, manual sampling, lab assay testing and faster turnaround time of answer products.

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Adrien Dimech

Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue (UQAT) with the Research Institute on Mines and the Environment (RIME), Québec, Canada



A Review on Applications of Time‑Lapse Electrical Resistivity Tomography over the Last 30 Years: Perspectives for Mining Waste Monitoring


Adrien Dimech, Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue, Rouyn‑Noranda, Québec, J9X 5E4, Canada and Research Institute of Mines and Environment, Québec, Canada; Lizhen Cheng, Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue, Rouyn‑Noranda, Québec, J9X 5E4, Canada and Research Institute of Mines and Environment, Québec, Canada; Michel Chouteau, Polytechnique Montréal, Montréal, Québec, H3T 1J4, Canada and Research Institute of Mines and Environment, Québec, Canada;  Jonathan Chambers, British Geological Survey, Keyworth, Nottingham, NG12 5GG, United Kingdom; Sebastian Uhlemann, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, California, 94720, United States; Paul Wilkinson4, Philip Meldrum, British Geological Survey, Keyworth, Nottingham, NG12 5GG, United Kingdom; Benjamin Mary, University of Padua, Department of Geosciences, Padua, 35122, Italy; Gabriel Fabien‑Ouellet, Polytechnique Montréal, Montréal, Québec, H3T 1J4, Canada.

Mining operations generate large amounts of wastes which are usually stored into largescale storage facilities which pose major environmental concerns. They must be properly monitored to manage the risk of catastrophic failures and to control the generation of contaminated drainage. In this context, non-invasive monitoring techniques such as time-lapse electrical resistivity tomography (TL-ERT) are promising since they provide large-scale subsurface information that complements surface observations and traditional monitoring tools, based on point measurements. This study proposes an overview of TL-ERT applications and developments over the last 30 years, which helps to better understand the current state of research on TL-ERT for various applications. Several recent case studies are discussed to identify promising applications for geoelectrical monitoring for (i) improved metal extraction, (ii) economical wastes mapping, (iii) contaminated drainage characterization, (iv) geotechnical stability monitoring and (v) geochemical stability monitoring. Reference libraries have also been created and made available online to facilitate future research on mining wastes using TL-ERT. The review considers recent advances in instrumentation, data acquisition, processing and interpretation for long-term monitoring. It also draws future research perspectives and promising avenues which could help to address some of the potential challenges that could emerge from a broader adoption of TL-ERT monitoring for mine waste rock piles (WRP) and tailings storage facility (TSF) monitoring. 


Roberto Rolo, MsC, PhD.



Use of Machine Learning and Geostatistics to Optimize Ore Control Models in Mining Operations

In the mining industry, the final destination of each mining block is often determined using geological models called production, grade, and ore-control models. The available information from diamond or reverse circulation drilling often does not provide the required resolution. For this reason, we proposed a hybrid machine learning and geostatistical workflow that integrates available grade data from production blastholes with its operational logs taken during drilling, ensuring the required resolution in the grade control models.

The step of geological logging can be either replaced or enhanced by machine learning models for classifying blastholes into lithologies and hardness classes. An automated workflow then uses all the available data to construct a short-term geological model with estimated rock type, ore grades, and hardness. This workflow was applied in a world-class iron ore mine in Brazil and was able to reduce ore loss and dilution, and improve mining predictability. By extending the life of the mine and reducing waste, the workflow contributes to a more sustainable mining industry.

Pieter Neethling




The Value of Geoscience Data in Mining - Showcasing an Innovative Digital Model and Proactive Response for Safe and Robust Performance of a Tailings Storage Facility 

Geoscience data underpins every major decision made within the mining lifecycle. From exploration and production to mining infrastructure, tailings storage and restoration of the mine at the end of its tenure. During the life of a mine, vast amounts of data are produced, which, if managed effectively, can enable new ways to solve increasingly complex problems, manage risk and uncover valuable insights to improve mine management over the life cycle of an asset, including better, faster decision-making, safety and productivity.


One such use case is the harnessing of existing technology to develop a digital twin powered by IoT that provides a set of tools to meet new standards in Tailings Storage Facilities. This new workflow could equip engineers and dam owners with the ability to look beyond reactive deformation monitoring to proactive management that can help manage risk and enhance operational performance. This is a technological ‘leap through the looking glass’ into the inner mechanics of a tailings structure, with a cloud-based, collaborative workflow that leads to a better understanding of the physical asset, enabling better prediction and preventive capabilities.

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Dr. Alireza Azami




Assessing Slope Stability in Anisotropic Rock Masses


The effects of strength anisotropy of rock masses in slope stability problems are the focus of this presentation. The source of the strength anisotropy can be attributed to many factors and the motivation of this study is to concentrate on the effects of planes of weakness, such as joints and bedding planes on the slope stability analysis. The limit equilibrium approach and finite element with shear strength reduction method are used for numerical simulations of slope stability problems. The finite element simulations take advantage of a constitutive model with embedded weak planes. The results obtained from the two methods are compared with each other.

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Gus Elliot

Hermes and Soteria



What’s happening below the Surface? "Revolutionizing Tailings Management: The Transformative Power of Real-time Subsurface Monitoring"


The evolution of globally accessible mining technology has been remarkable, with significant advancements made in recent years through digital technologies, automation, and artificial intelligence. These innovations, and others, have transformed the industry by improving efficiency, reducing costs, and enhancing safety, placing technology at the nexus of critical infrastructure monitoring, technology, and mining.


This presentation will highlight how real-time subsurface monitoring can help mining companies proactively address potential risks and make informed decisions quickly and efficiently. The speaker will discuss how real-time subsurface monitoring can meet the tailings management challenges faced by the mining industry. Advanced monitoring technology can help mining companies to engage effectively with stakeholders and embrace their concerns through improved practices and a demonstrable commitment to safety and productivity, whilst also preserving the social and environmental aspects of the mining regions in which they operate. 


Using real-time data collected from advanced sensors such as positive pore pressure, negative pore pressure, PH, moisture, salinity, seismic activity, and temperature, mine site operators will be provided with subsurface visibility. By leveraging these sensors, mining companies can access real-time and accurate subsurface data measured longitudinally against a subsurface baseline to allow immediately informed decisions. This innovative technology represents a significant leap forward in the monitoring of tailings storage facilities and is poised to transform the methods by which we manage mining operations.


Attendees will gain valuable insights into the transformative role of technology in mining and how real-time subsurface monitoring can be utilized as a solution to address the challenges of tailings management.


Gem Midgley

Mira Geoscience



Maximising value from existing data: Integrated interpretation at the Nova Ni-Cu-Co deposit, Western Australia

Gem Midgley, Glenn Pears, Aurore Joly, James Reid, Joshua Combs, Antonio Huizi and Andrew Fitzpatrick


Integrated interpretation is an interactive approach to developing multi-disciplinary 3D models. The compilation of all exploration data within a 3D environment forms the basis for model development. To maximise the value of all the datasets, the relationships between them need to be evaluated and interrogated and incorporated into the modelling and deposit understanding. The modelling workflow iterates through quantitative assessment, forward modelling and inversion, updating of model parameters and refinement of interpretations; at each stage of data addition and hypothesis testing. The process is not only integrative and iterative, but by its very nature, it is required to be objective-driven and adaptive. The iterative approach results in more detailed subsurface knowledge and more useful3D models.


Integrated geoscience data becomes the core asset for managing the life cycle of a mine. One method or study does not become a deliverable or report left on a shelf, never to be looked at again. Integrated interpretation means each dataset, analysis method and study is used to build upon deposit knowledge and subsurface characterisation.


The principles of integrated interpretation underpin the exploration strategy at IGO Limited (IGO). Over many years Mira Geoscience has worked with IGO to continually add new data through the integrated interpretation process for an increased understanding of deposit controls and characteristics, which are also combined with results from other studies to ensure enhanced prospectivity and maximum value from all datasets.

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Robbie Rowe




Use of AI with Geoscience Data around a Mine Site to Extend the Mine Prospectivity and Mine Life through Prediction


Adoption of Machine Learning (ML) and AI technologies by the mining industry has been steadily increasing since at least 2000, resulting in performance improvement and efficiency gains. Although application of the same technologies to geoscience, specifically mineral exploration, has lagged behind mining, engineering and mineral processing, there has been a growing interest ML and AI application to exploration. The reason for this increasing interest in quantitative, prediction based technology is the search for new ways of working to address declining discovery rates, diminishing mineral reserves and falling mining grades that have occurred over the last 50 years.


One of the challenges to wider uptake of ML and AI to geoscience for mineral exploration is the need to fuse rock property data sources associated with geoscience disciplines, namely geology, geophysics and geochemistry. The lessons from other successful ML and AI deployments are that the more uncorrelated data sets are available the better ML and AI can perform. Ingesting each rock property data source or layer onto a common architecture enables an ML and AI approach to identify specific signals or fingerprints in data which can then be used in a probabilistic prediction approach. These ‘Machine Augmented Exploration’ models can be developed at the required scale of application from regional greenfield, through brownfield at camp, to mine scale targeting. Discovery of additional reserves within the economic influence of a mine extends the operations Life of Mine, maximising the utilisation of processing infrastructure, benefiting all stakeholders and contributing to a more sustainable mining industry.

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Ashley Grant




Near Surface Geophysics in the Mining Life Cycle

Ashley Grant, Geophysics & Geochemistry, BHP’s Western Australian Iron Ore, 


Near surface geophysics can have a place across the entire mining life cycle, from early exploration and discovery, development, production, all the way through to closure and beyond. 


The application of geophysics in the exploration and discovery phases of the mining cycle is generally well understood.  During the development phase of the mining life cycle decisions are made that are critical to long term future and dictate the profitability of the mine.  Mining infrastructure such as crushers, conveyor belts, roads, railways, etc. must be constructed in areas that do not pose risk to infrastructure and personnel, and pit designs, dewatering and waste storage must be planned.  Geophysics can play a significant role in informing these decisions.


Optimisation of the mining process is critical to ensure mining remains profitable through the economic and commodity cycles.  Geophysical sensing is used to measure the various physical, chemical, and mineralogical properties that inform these processes.    


To meet the future demands of our growing society and decarbonisation targets, many new mines will be opened and closed over the coming years creating waste dumps and tailings dams.  Near surface geophysics is playing a role to map and monitor these types of facilities, reducing the environmental and safety risks they pose. 


This presentation will explore near surface geophysics through the mining life cycle and discuss the role it has played and the role it could play into the future.

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