ACG Team



Professor Yves Potvin
Professor and Director

Yves joined the Australian Centre for Geomechanics at the University of Western Australia in 1998 and was appointed Centre Director in 2000. Professor Potvin has published more than 100 articles and is the editor/co-editor of 14 conference proceedings/books. He has over 30 years of experience in rock mechanics and mine design and has previously held managerial positions at Mount Isa Mines, the Noranda Technology Centre and worked as a mining engineer at Noranda Mines, Gaspe Division.

Technical staff:


Professor Phil Dight
Professor Geotechnical Engineering

Phil has been involved with the development and design of ground support for mining applications since 1975. He was a partner in BFP Consultants until BFP was acquired by Coffey Mining. Phil has extensive consulting experience in the geotechnical aspects of the mining industry, and has worked on open pit and underground metalliferous mining problems. In 1985 he was awarded the Manuel Rocha Medal by the International Society of Rock Mechanics for his work in open pit mining and use of ground support to improve pit stability. His ground support algorithm has been adopted by Rocscience in its evaulation of ground support in phases. With Peter Fuller, he undertook research into ground support work in a number of AMIRA sponsored projects. Much of that early research work has now been formalised in the literature by others. Phil joined the ACG in 2008 and has since been working on stress memory effects in rocks, ground support applications and slope stability problems.

Paul Harris
Project Leader – Regional Seismic Network, Software Engineer

Paul was originally contracted in 2001 to develop the software component of the Mine Seismicity and Rockburst Risk Management Project. Before joining the ACG, he developed custom software for clients in the mining industry. Paul is now continuing to develop the mXrap software, and is the project manager and developer for the Regional Seismic Network project. His focus is on software development and its application to mining and seismicity.


Dr Ariel Hsieh
Research Associate in Mining

Ariel joined the ACG in 2013 as a research associate in rock mechanics and in situ stress measurement. Ariel completed bachelor and master degrees in geology and worked for Central Geological Survey in Taiwan. She relocated to Australia and completed a post-graduate diploma in mining engineering and a PhD in geomechanics at The University of Western Australia.

Ariel’s PhD focused on two alternative in situ stress measurement methods based on using existing oriented rock core, namely the Acoustic Emission (AE) method and the Deformation Rate Analysis (DRA) method. During her PhD study, she applied alternative stress measurement methods in more than 20 locations in Australia, Canada, the Philippines, Peru, and Finland. In her post-doctoral research she will continue the investigation on the DRA method and start a fundamental study on rock behaviour under uniaxial/triaxial compression.

Ariel has experience and special interests in rock testing, which includes uniaxial/triaxial compression for physical properties, seismic velocity for anisotropy, CT scan for structure and porosity and acoustic emission.

Richard Jewell
Senior Consultant

At The University of Western Australia, Richard was responsible for establishing the Geomechanics Group within the Department of Civil Engineering in 1984, and subsequently the Australian Centre for Geomechanics in 1992. Throughout his professional career Richard has worked closely with the offshore oil and gas industry and the mining industry. Richard was the lead editor and contributing author of the three editions of “Paste and Thickened Tailings – A Guide”. In 1999, he initiated and has since led the ACG’s annual paste and thickened tailings international seminar series. As a senior consultant, Richard contributes to and promotes ACG research projects and its further training and education platform.

Gerhard Morkel

Gerhard Morkel
Research Engineer

Gerhard joined the ACG in 2014 as a research engineer for the ACG’s Mine Seismicity and Rockburst Risk Management Project.

Gerhard graduated from the North-West University with an MSc in Physics in 2008. After finishing his studies Gerhard joined IMS, working in the operational aspects of mine seismology. In 2009 he joined Anglogold Ashanti, where he was involved with the seismological aspects of their Western Deep level mines. During this time, Gerhard completed his Chamber of Mines (South Africa) certificates in Strata Control and Rock Mechanics (metalliferous). In 2012 Gerhard relocated to Australia where he worked as a seismologist/ geotechnical engineer for Barrick Gold’s Kanowna Belle Mine. Gerhard has more than five years of experience in the seismological and geotechnical aspects of high seismically active underground mines.


Gordon Sweby
Senior Research Engineer

Gordon joined the ACG in 2014 as a senior research engineer for the ACG’s premier research project, “Ground Support Systems Optimisation” and will focus on the application of numerical models for ground support design.

Gordon is a rock engineering professional with 28 years of experience. He graduated from the University of the Witwatersrand in 1984 with a BSc Geological Engineering, and then obtained a Masters in Rock Mechanics, also from Wits, in 1994. Gordon has the Chamber of Mines (South Africa) Certificates in Rock Mechanics (coal and metalliferous) and is a registered professional engineer with the Engineering Council of South Africa. He has practised as an operations engineer in both open pit and underground environments and, in more recent times, has held a corporate role as group geotechnical engineer for a multinational mining house. Additionally, Gordon has experience in a consulting environment, both as an independent and for various consultancy companies. Practical and technical expertise includes ground support design, mine seismicity, mine design and sequencing, ground control and safety, open pit design, technical studies and geotechnical monitoring.


Dr Johan Wesseloo
Senior Research Fellow – Rock Engineering
Project Leader – mXrap development

Johan has been involved in geotechnical engineering since 1998, with experience in both underground and open pit environments. Johan obtained a BEng (Civil), MEng and PhD (Geotechnical) from The University of Pretoria, South Africa and is Fellow of the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy. He started his career as a geotechnical engineer with SRK Consulting, South Africa.

In 2007, Johan joined the Australian Centre for Geomechanics, where he led and completed the ACG’s High Resolution Seismic Monitoring in Open Pit Mines project and the Mine Seismicity and Rockburst Risk Management project.

Johan has an interest in the rock engineering aspects of mine-induced seismicity and developed several procedures and methods for seismic analysis for rock engineering purposes and mining seismic hazard assessment methods, which are integrated into mXrap Apps.

Administrative staff:


Christine Neskudla
Business Manager

Christine has assisted in the implementation of all ACG activities since its inception in 1992. As business manager, Christine is responsible for the financial reporting and business planning of the Centre. She coordinates the ACG short courses, seminars, training activities and research projects. Christine keeps abreast of industry’s developments through communication with industry, the Centre’s Board of Management and Joint Venture Partners.

Jenny Collins
Administrative Officer

Jenny commenced with the ACG in January 2016. Her primary role with the ACG is supporting both the business and marketing managers with the mXrap consortium and corporate affiliate memberships, as well as the financial administration of ACG events including registrations, invoicing, general administration and event communications.


Annette Polglaze
Administration and Sales Officer

Annette is the prime contact point for publication sales.




Josephine Ruddle
Marketing Manager

Josephine’s responsibilities include marketing communications, direct marketing, brand development, public relations and event management. Jo’s focus is to strengthen the ACG’s position locally and internationally as a leading provider of mining geomechanics information.



Candice McLennan
Marketing Officer (Digital)

Candice began working with the ACG in March of 2016. Her duties involve the marketing of ACG conferences, workshops and publications, including event coordination, graphic design, copywriting, website maintenance and social media management.