Meet the ACG Team


Associate Professor Johan Wesseloo

Associate Professor and Director, Australian Centre for Geomechanics

Since obtaining a BEng (Civil) and MEng (Geotechnical) from The University of Pretoria, Johan has been involved in geotechnical engineering in open pit and underground environments throughout 14 countries. He commenced his career in 1998 as a geotechnical engineer at SRK Consulting in Johannesburg where his experience included open pit and underground projects in varying geotechnical conditions. In 2005 he was awarded a PhD (Geotechnical) from The University of Pretoria. Johan joined the ACG in 2007 as a research fellow. During his time at the ACG, Johan has been involved in research, the supervision of postgraduate students and geotechnical training and was instrumental in the development of the mXrap software. In 2019, Johan was appointed director. Johan is a fellow of AusIMM and the SAIMM and was awarded the SAIMM Silver medal in 2014 and the Gold medal in 2006 and 2016 and 2020.

Technical Staff

Dr Daniel Cumming-Potvin

Project Lead - mXrap development

Daniel completed his Bachelor of Mining Engineering and PhD at The University of Western Australia in 2012 and 2018 respectively. He has worked at a number of underground metal mines in Australia, specialising in the areas of ground support, monitoring and mine seismicity. Daniel is currently project lead for mXrap.

Professor Phil Dight

Professor Geotechnical Engineering

Phil has been involved with the development and design of ground support for open pit and underground mining applications since 1975. He initially was involved in mine backfill before looking at how rock support behaved in shear. In 1985 he was awarded the prestigious Manuel Rocha Medal by the International Society of Rock Mechanics (ISRM) 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 evaluation of ground support in Phases® and Itasca in 3DEC®. Rocscience also adopted his algorithm for RocTopple®. With Peter Fuller, he undertook research into ground support work in several AMIRA sponsored underground projects. Much of that early research work was formalised in the literature by others. Phil joined the ACG in 2008 and has since been working on in situ stress determination, ground support applications (eg BoltCalc®, fibrecrete), strainburst and slope stability problems. At UWA he has developed a research laboratory looking at rock properties in 3D. He is active in training site personnel in geotechnical engineering based on practical applications and on request, he continues to provide specialist consulting.

Paul Harris

Senior Software Engineer - mXrap

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 Matthew Heinsen Egan

Software Engineer – mXrap

Matthew joined the ACG in 2018 as a software engineer. Matthew’s focus is on further developing the libraries and tools available for mXrap App developers, and contributing to the development of specific mXrap Apps.

Ai Li (Ellie)

Laboratory Technician

Ellie joined the ACG team in 2016 as a lab technician in the strainburst team. Ellie 's work at ACG includes sample preparation, conducting DRA, BTS, FT, triaxial and post peak testing and processing tests data.

Joseph Justin Muaka Mbenza

Research Fellow – Ground Support Systems Optimisation

Joseph joined the ACG in early 2019 as a research fellow. Previously, Joseph was a senior mining geotechnical engineer for SRK Consulting (South Africa) (Pty) Ltd. He has 15 years of experience in mining and rock mechanics. He was the recipient of the Rauji Foundation award in 2004 for best student, Faculty of Engineering, University of Lubumbashi, and the Chairman award for employee of the year at SRK Consulting (South Africa) (Pty) Ltd in 2016.

Liam Niedzielski

Software Engineer

Liam completed his Bachelor of Science in Physics and Computer Science at The University of Western Australia in 2021. He joined the ACG at the end of 2021 as a software engineer on the mXrap development team. Liam works alongside the geotechnical engineers to develop and maintain mXrap apps, as well as contribute to the libraries available for mXrap developers.

Professor Yves Potvin

Professor of Mining Geomechanics

Yves joined the Australian Centre for Geomechanics at The University of Western Australia in 1998 and was centre director, 2000-2019. He has published more than 100 articles and is the editor/co-editor of 14 conference proceedings and books. Yves has more than 40 years’ 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. He undertakes numerous collaborative industry-focussed research projects and is presently involved with the ACG’s Ground Support Systems Optimisation Project, and the Stope Reconciliation and Optimisation Project. He currently participates in several geotechnical review boards.

Denisha Sewnun

Master's Student and Research Fellow

Denisha has more than 13 years of experience in the geomechanics aspects of open pit and underground mining projects. She has a BSc (honours) degree in Engineering Geology from the University of KwaZulu-Natal and a Master of Engineering degree in Geomechanics from the University of the Witwatersrand. In 2020, Denisha joined the ACG as a research fellow after having spent eight years providing consulting services for mining projects across Africa. Denisha is currently a Master of Philosophy student involved in the in situ testing of ground support using blasting, which forms part of the Ground Support System Optimisation research project (GSSO3). She also assists with the Discrete Fracture Network/Block Model Limit Equilibrium Ground Support Design Tools research project and is a part of the mXrap team, where she works on the development of the Rock Mass Data Analyser application.

Stuart Tierney

PhD Student and Research Assistant

Stuart graduated from the University of Tasmania in 2011 with a Bachelor of Geotechnical Engineering. He has worked as a geotechnical engineer in Kalgoorlie for nearly five years, mostly focusing on managing seismic risk at Raleigh and Kanowna Belle. He completed a Master of Engineering Science (Mining Geomechanics) at Curtin University in 2016 where his thesis in the final semester was assisted by the ACG. Stuart joined the ACG as a research assistant for the mXrap Consortium in February 2017 and started his PhD in 2018 looking to quantify the risk associated with short-term seismic exclusion zones.

Dr Kyle Woodward

Research Fellow

Kyle was initially associated with the ACG in 2010 through his final year research project for his undergraduate Bachelor of Engineering (Mining) degree at The University of Western Australia. Upon completion of this degree, Kyle undertook postgraduate research with the ACG which focused on time-dependent seismic responses to mining. In late 2015, he was awarded his PhD (Civil and Resource Engineering) for his thesis entitled ‘Identification and Delineation of Mining Induced Seismic Responses’. Kyle has been involved in various ACG projects including the Mine Seismicity and Rockburst Risk Management project and the mXrap Consortium. Kyle was project leader for the ACG Stope Reconciliation and Optimisation Research project from 2016 to 2019. He is currently working on the next phase of this research project along with work associated with the mXrap Consortium.

Administrative Staff

Garth Doig

Publications Officer

Garth’s responsibilities include the production of ACG conference proceedings, as well as coordinating the ACG websites, multi-media requirements and the Online Repository of Conference Proceedings.

Jo Franklin-Lloyd

Administrative Officer

Jo’s primary roles include processing of event registrations and all aspects of the Centre’s day-to-day finance and administration.

Candice McLennan

Marketing Officer (Digital)

Candice undertakes the marketing of ACG conferences and ACG’s range of products and services. She is responsible for graphic design, copywriting, video editing, website design and maintenance, social media management and event coordination.

Christine Neskudla

Business Manager

Christine is responsible for the financial management, reporting and business planning of the Centre, as well as the liaison with the Centre’s Board of Management, Joint Venture Partners and industry.

Josephine Ruddle

Marketing Manager

Josephine’s responsibilities include marketing, communications, 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.

Stefania Woodward

Publications Officer

Stefania’s roles include editing and desktop publishing of ACG conference proceedings and reports, publications sales, as well as coordinating the ACG’s Online Repository of Conference Proceedings.