Underground Mine Backfill Hybrid Seminar

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Date(s) - 19 Apr 2021 - 22 Apr 2021

Oceans Institute - Theatre Auditorium, The University of Western Australia

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Seminar Facilitator:

Dr Ryan Veenstra
Global Backfill Specialist, Newmont Australia
Ryan is Newmont’s global backfill specialist, providing technical and operational expertise and leadership for Newmont’s underground mines. Over the last 15 years, he has been involved in backfill as an academic, consultant, and on-site engineer and presently coaches and mentors Newmont’s backfill engineers in Australia and the Americas. His expertise and experience cover the entire backfill system with a particular speciality in backfill geomechanics. He has a geological engineering degree from the University of Waterloo and holds a PhD in civil engineering from the University of Toronto.


Confirmed Presenters:

Paul Ainsworth
Senior Process Engineer, Paterson & Cooke, UK
Paul is a senior process engineer of Paterson & Cooke (UK) Ltd. and has worked on a wide range of international paste and process related projects. His experience focuses on the development of process flow sheets, equipment design, commissioning and troubleshooting. Paul joined the UK based Paterson & Cooke practice in 2014 and travels extensively supporting the Paterson & Cooke group worldwide. Paul has extensive knowledge of solid/liquid separation test work that has involved many different ore types and applications. His experience has taken projects from initial testing work, design and engineering through to commissioning and completion. He has supported the Camborne School of Mines as a guest lecturer for the materials handling, dewatering and tailings module for several years. He is also responsible for the management of the Paterson & Cooke UK laboratory.
Frans Basson
Director Geotechnical Engineering Underground, Newmont Australia
Frans started his geotechnical journey in 1996 and filled various operational roles for the next eight years. After that, he joined two consultancies and accepted a Newmont position in December 2007, where he served in different geotechnical capacities within the company. His first degree was in physics and chemistry, but he worked through the South African Chamber of Mines Competency Tickets and obtained the Advanced Rock Engineering Ticket in 2001, and a Master of Engineering (Geotechnical) degree in 2005. He has recently been involved in many project studies involving various forms of stoping under waste fill. Frans is a hobby programmer who makes geotechnical software available under the BasRock banner.
Dr Will Bawden
President, Mine Design Technologies Inc., Canada
Dr Bawden received his BSc and MS in engineering geology in 1970 and 1972 respectively and his PhD in rock mechanics in 1980. Following brief periods working in the civil and petroleum fields, his career has been focused on hard rock mining geomechanics with a special interest in underground geomechanical mine design. After working for the Noranda mining corporation, Dr Bawden joined academia and is Professor Emeritus in the Lassonde mineral engineering program, Department of Civil Engineering at the University of Toronto. Along with maintaining a personal consulting practice, he is co-founding partner for two companies, Mine Design Technologies (instrumentation) and Mine Design Engineering (rock engineering services – now RocEng Inc.) based in Kingston, Ontario, Canada. Dr Bawden received the rock mechanics award from the Strata Control Committee of the CIM. He is a registered professional engineer in Ontario and British Columbia, a fellow and life member of the Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum, a fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering, and an ARMA fellow.
Rob Brown
Managing Director, Paterson & Cooke, Canada
Rob is the managing director of Paterson & Cooke Canada Inc, a director of Paterson & Cooke Group Ltd, and practice leader of Paterson & Cooke’s Sudbury, Ontario office in Canada. Rob leads Paterson & Cooke’s global backfill group and has focused on backfill projects since 1997. He specialises in paste backfill, plant commissioning/operating, and contracted remediation backfilling. He has extensive international experience with all aspects of plant and reticulation design, construction, commissioning and underground backfill placement. Rob is a professional mining engineer; he lectures in Paterson & Cooke’s annual courses and frequently participates in backfill system audits and peer reviews as a subject matter expert. He has authored several technical papers and operating manuals covering the design, construction and safe operation of paste backfill systems.
Nathan Dalton
Senior Geotechnical Engineer: Minefill, Gold Fields
Nathan has been site-based in technical and operational backfill roles for five years and has worked with both dry and wet paste plants. Starting his career as a mine geotechnical engineer, Nathan has had significant exposure to all components of the backfill cycle, underground as-built performance, reticulation design and monitoring, plant upgrade and maintenance, and fill planning and scheduling. As a backfill engineer Nathan’s prime focus is to provide practical common sense solutions to underground backfilling problems.
Russ Evans
Director Backfill Operations, Kirkland Lake Gold Ltd, Canada
Russell has spent over 30 years in the mining industry and has supervised surface and underground mine projects on most continents. He specialises in all aspects of mine backfill. He has worked for Lac Minerals, Golder Paste Technology, Barrick Gold, and Goldcorp, and is now director of backfill operations for Kirkland Lake Gold. He has been part of the design, construction, commissioning and operational support of over 25 paste plants and six cemented rock fill plants globally, including construction and commissioning of the first paste plant in Australia and the first gold mine paste tailings system.
Professor Andy Fourie
Professor of Civil, Environmental & Mining Engineering, The University of Western Australia
Andy is a Professor in the Department of Civil, Environmental and Mining Engineering at The University of Western Australia in Perth. He has a Bachelor and Master degree from the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa, and a PhD from the Imperial College, University of London. He has worked at the University of Queensland, the University of the Witwatersrand and has been a visiting professor at the University of Alberta, the Catholic University of Valparaiso in Chile and the University of Colorado in Boulder. His research is in the field of mitigating the impact of mining and municipal solid waste disposal. Outcomes from his research have been incorporated in changes to environmental legislation in South Africa. He contributed to a series of guidelines for managing mine tailings in Australia, as well as developing a document for the International Atomic Energy Association on barrier systems for retaining uranium mining waste. Andy has been involved in many industry-focused projects with current projects including an evaluation of tailings storage facilities monitoring technologies managed by AMIRA and funded by eight mining companies, Future Tails aimed at training, research and education to improve tailings management funded by BHP and Rio Tinto and evaluating potential static liquefaction of tailings to prevent failures, funded by six mining companies as well as the Australian Research Council. Andy is also currently a member of five international tailings review boards.
Professor Murray Grabinsky
Professor of Civil & Mineral Engineering, Lassonde Institute of Mining, University of Toronto, Canada
Murray is a Professor in Civil & Mineral Engineering and a member of the Lassonde Institute of Mining at the University of Toronto. His cemented paste backfill (CPB) interests focus on fieldwork and laboratory research to optimise behaviour during the filling and curing periods, particularly for continuous pours. Research projects featuring geomechanical design of CPB systems have spanned two decades and included Golden Giant, Williams, Kidd, Cayeli, and Macassa mines. He also contributed to numerous consulting projects aimed at helping mines rationalise barricade designs, conduct continuous pours, and optimise sequencing strategies using CPB.
Tony Grice
Global Leader – Backfill/Principal Mining Consultant, AMC Consultants, Canada
Tony has over 40 years of broad global experience in mining. This experience spans underground mine production, quarrying, scheduling, planning, and technical computing. He has specialised in mine backfill systems for over 30 years and is a leading expert. He consults on all areas of backfill from selection, design, and implementation through to operational support, technical audits, and training. He is a co-author of two books: Handbook on Mine Fill and Paste and Thickened Tailings – A Guide (3rd edn).
Dean Harty
Senior Pastefill Engineer, Northern Star Resources Limited
Chris Lee
Principal, Golder, Canada
Chris is a principal at Golder and is a mechanical and mining engineer with 25 years of experience in paste backfill, cemented rockfill or aggregate fill, and hydraulic fill, as well as the surface disposal of dewatered tailings. Chris also has experience in shaft sinking, mine dewatering, crushing and conveying, and other underground infrastructure design. Chris has been involved with the presentation of papers, short courses and workshops for backfill and tailings dewatering.
CJ Mackay
Backfill Engineer, Newmont Australia, Australia
CJ Mackay is a backfill engineer at Newmont Tanami Operations where she has worked in both the backfill and geotechnical teams. CJ has 10 years’ experience in the geotechnical consulting industry in both civil and mining contexts. Her roles have included geotechnical modelling and design, operational secondments at various mines, and civil tunnelling projects. More recently, CJ has joined the backfill team at Tanami where she has gained design and operational experience in cemented paste backfill (CPB)  and has a particular focus on co-disposing stopes with both waste rock and CPB. She has a geology degree from Macquarie University, and a Master’s of Geotechnical Engineering from the University of NSW.
Maureen McGuinness
Director, Paterson & Cooke, Canada
Maureen is a director in Paterson & Cooke’s Sudbury, Ontario practice and a director of Paterson & Cooke Canada Inc. She has worked in mining and milling for over 25 years and specifically in paste backfill design and operations since 2000. Her expertise includes backfill management planning, dry tailings plant-feed operations, hydraulic modelling of distribution systems, and start-up/commissioning of backfill operations. Maureen is a licensed professional metallurgical engineer. She completed her master’s in pastefill system wear and is a senior member of Paterson & Cooke’s global backfill group. She lectures in Paterson & Cooke’s annual backfill course and provides training on backfill operations to engineering and operations teams.
Dr Angus Paterson
Managing Director, Paterson & Cooke, South Africa
Dr Angus Paterson is the managing director of the Cape Town office of Paterson & Cooke, having founded the company together with Dr Robert Cooke in 1991. Angus completed his civil engineering degree at the University of Cape Town, South Africa, in 1984 and completed his PhD in 1991. His research work focused on the flow behaviour of high concentration non-Newtonian backfill slurries, and this remains a core interest of his.
He is a registered professional engineer and is actively involved in engineering projects as well as providing hydraulic oversight and expertise on a wide range of slurry pipeline applications. He regularly presents courses on slurry pipeline technology and deep mine backfilling.
Nicholas Reed
Senior Mining Consultant, Deswik
Alan Rosewall
Senior Mechanical Engineer, Paterson & Cooke, Australia
Alan is a senior mechanical engineer at Paterson & Cooke with extensive experience in the design of slurry transport systems. He has been involved in a range of engineering studies and construction and commissioning projects. Alan’s focus is on the hydraulic and mechanical design of slurry pump and pipeline systems and he has experience in transporting tailings (iron ore, copper, mineral sands, coal, gold, etc.), concentrates and products, mine backfill and hydraulic hoisting of ore. Alan has been involved in the commissioning of a number of high-pressure slurry pipeline systems such as the OCP (187 km 36” pipeline) in Morocco and tailings pipelines for FMG in Western Australia. He fulfils senior engineering and management roles for various projects and is currently based in the Perth office, Western Australia.
Professor Bre-Anne Sainsbury
Professor (Geomechanics) & Associate Head of School (Curriculum), Deakin University
Bre-Anne has worked as a consultant and operational engineer at mine sites in Australia and the USA. During her career, she has developed a broad skill base in all aspects of geomechanical engineering including investigation, design, and construction management. In relation to backfill, Bre-Anne has a strong background in numerical exposure stability analysis and optimising underground extraction through backfill programmes.
Bruno Salvoldi
Senior Engineer, Paterson & Cooke, South Africa
Bruno has a master’s degree in civil engineering specialising in concrete and cement technology and he now specialises in its application to backfill. He is part of the Paterson & Cooke backfill group and is involved globally with problematic backfill applications related to geochemistry and cement chemistry. Bruno works in the Cape Town offices as a senior engineer and leads the mine backfill department which covers the African operations. He has been involved in the mining industry since 2011 and has completed projects from conceptual level through to detailed engineering, implementation and commissioning.
Dr Fiona Sofra
Managing Director, Rheological Consulting Services
Dr Fiona Sofra is managing director of Rheological Consulting Services (RCS), a company she founded with Professors Peter Scales and David Boger in 2001. RCS provides rheology and backfill test work services in addition to providing expertise, advice and training on the processing of sludges, slurries and pastes in a range of operational environments. Fiona’s focus is on providing real and workable solutions to processing and tailings management issues through understanding and controlling material characteristics and environment. Fiona holds a PhD in chemical engineering, is an Honorary Fellow of The University of Melbourne, and is a recipient of a Victoria Fellowship for outstanding achievement in engineering. She has published over 30 papers, conducted numerous training workshops around the world and is a contributing author of the books Paste and Thickened Tailings – A Guide and Paste Tailings Management.
Dr Ben Thompson
Partner, Mine Backfill Geomechanics Inc., Canada
Ben is a backfill geomechanics specialist with over 15 years experience; initially in academia and for the past decade as a consultant. With a focus on using instrumentation to understand in-situ backfill behaviour, Ben has developed and supervised extensive fieldwork at numerous mines. Initial work with the University of Toronto resulted in the collection of an unmatched catalogue of research-level field data which continues to provide new and detailed insights into backfill geomechanics. Ben subsequently applied these learnings to the production mining environment as a consultant where he has expertise in aspects of backfill geomechanics including use of instrumentation to optimise backfilling, determining viability of continuous backfilling, backfill strength design, barricade design and mine rehabilitation. Ben also has consulting and research experience in applied seismology and has a PhD in Rock Physics from the University of Liverpool.
Dr Ryan Veenstra
Global Backfill Specialist, Newmont Australia
Ryan is Newmont’s global backfill specialist, providing technical and operational expertise and leadership for Newmont’s underground mines. Over the last 15 years, he has been involved in backfill as an academic, consultant, and on-site engineer and presently coaches and mentors Newmont’s backfill engineers in Australia and the Americas. His expertise and experience cover the entire backfill system with a particular speciality in backfill geomechanics. He has a geological engineering degree from the University of Waterloo and holds a PhD in civil engineering from the University of Toronto.
Luke Waller
Consultant – Survey, Deswik
Adam Zajac
Newmont Australia


This seminar commences at 8:00am WAST 19 April 2021. Check your local start time with the Time Zone Converter.
Professional Development Hours
Handbook on Mine Fill
The Handbook on Mine Fill book, as well as many other ACG underground publications, is available for purchase online at www.acg.uwa.edu.au/shop
24th International Conference on Paste, Thickened and Filtered Tailings
Paste 2021 seeks to explore the considerations needed to raise the mining industry leaders’ awareness of how important environmental stewardship, with regard to their tailings facilities, is to long-term industry sustainability. Learn more about this event at www.acgpaste.com




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