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. He also performs geotechnical and mining-induced seismicity reviews providing him with the valuable opportunity to visit numerous operations worldwide. Johan was instrumental in the development of the mXrap software and many of the software routines and apps available in that platform. Johan is a Fellow of The Australian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy and the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy. He was awarded the SAIMM Gold medal in 2006 and 2016, and the SAIMM Silver Medal in 2014. In May 2019, Johan was appointed Centre Director.

Technical staff:

Dr Selahattin Akdag
Research Associate – Strainburst Research Project

Selahattin received his MSc with a thesis related to the overall slope angle optimisation of an open pit mine from The Middle East Technical University, Turkey in 2013. He obtained his PhD with his research entitled, ‘Experimental investigation of damage evolution during strain burst in brittle rocks for deep mines’ from The University of Adelaide in 2019. He has been involved in several technical consultant research projects including rock mechanics laboratory tests, slope stability, core logging and geotechnical designs of various surface and underground mines in addition to his tutoring experience. His main research area covers experimental and numerical analysis of geomechanics, fracture mechanics and rock mechanics with a particular focus on investigating the mechanism of strain burst, rockburst and ground support design for deep mining operations. He is currently working on in-situ stress measurement methods, stress memory effects in rocks and the investigation on the DRA method.

Sela joined the ACG in May 2019 as a research associate for our Strainburst Research Project that seeks to equip industry with support systems knowledge to mitigate strainburst/rockburst risk.

Daniel Cumming-Potvin
Dr Daniel Cumming-Potvin
Research Associate and Project Lead – mXrap

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 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
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 Heisen 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.

Dr Ariel Hsieh
Research Fellow 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.

Joseph Justin Muaka Mbenza

Research Fellow – Ground Support Systems Optimisation

Joseph joined the ACG in early 2019 as a research fellow. His areas of interest include: advanced numerical modelling and statistical, probability and data analysis.
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.

Joseph has a BSc Mining Engineering from University of Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and a Master’s degree in Rock Engineering from the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa. 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.

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. Professor Potvin has published more than 100 articles and is the editor/co-editor of 14 conference proceedings and 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. Yves 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 is currently participates in several geotechnical review boards.

Denisha Sewnun 
Research Fellow – mXrap

Denisha has more than 10 years of experience in the rock mechanics 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’s degree in Rock Engineering from the University of Witwatersrand. Denisha has recently joined the Australian Centre for Geomechanics as a Research Fellow after having spent the last 7 years providing consulting services for mining projects across Africa. Her principal areas of expertise include geotechnical data analysis, geotechnical investigations, three-dimensional geotechnical block modelling and rock support design.

Stuart Tierney
Research Assistant

Stuart completed a Masters of Engineering Science (mining geomechanics) at Curtin University in 2016 where his thesis in the final semester was assisted by the ACG. In February 2017 he joined the ACG as a research assistant for our mXrap Consortium and is presently undertaking a PhD in geomechanics engineering.

Dr Kyle Woodward
Research Associate and Project Leader – Stope Reconciliation and Optimisation 

Kyle was initially associated with the ACG in 2010, through a final year research project for his undergraduate Bachelor of Engineering (mining) degree. Upon completion of his first degree at The University of Western Australia, Kyle undertook postgraduate research with the ACG, UWA which focused on time-dependent seismic responses to mining. He was awarded his PhD (Civil and Resource Engineering) for his thesis entitled, “Identification and Delineation of Mining Induced Seismic Responses”, in late 2015. Over the last six years, Kyle has been involved in various ACG projects the including Mine Seismicity and Rockburst Risk Management Project. In 2017 Kyle was appointed project leader for the ACG Stope Reconciliation and Optimisation research project that commenced in mid 2016.

Administrative staff:

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.

Garth Doig
Publications Officer

Garth’s main responsibility is the editing and desktop publishing of the ACG’s conference proceedings. He also assists in the maintenance and development of the ACG’s websites.

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.

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.


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.

Stefania Woodward
Publications Officer

Stefania commenced with the ACG in April 2018. Her primary roles include editing and publishing the ACG’s proceedings, general publications, and service reports, as well as working on the ACG’s Online Repository of Conference Proceedings and managing publication sales. Stefania’s background is in law and she brings her legal knowledge and skills to her role at the ACG.





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