Meet the Team

Michelle Ash

Michelle Ash, CEO of GEOVIA at Dassault Systèmes, has made significant contributions to the mining sector with a focus on Innovation Strategy, Technology, and Digital Transformation.

Michelle is highly passionate about Mining and Infrastructure and remains focused on delivering sustainable solutions that help these sectors to continue to create and shape the world in which we live, through digital transformation and the 3DEXPERIENCE platform.

As Chair of the Global Mining Guidelines Group – GMG, Michelle has contributed to develop best practices and guidelines for the implementation of technology and socially enabled changes in the mining industry. She is also on the advisory board of several start-ups such as Petra Data Science, OffWorld, Behault, Descartes Labs and MineSpider.

Previously she was Chief Innovation Officer at Barrick Gold Corporation where she oversaw the company’s innovation program, looking both at how innovation can drive productivity in the existing business as well as how it can be harnessed to deliver alternative business models.

She began her career as a blasting engineer with Rio Tinto and has held several operational roles in various mining companies and across commodities.

Michelle was named to the 2016 list of “100 Global Inspirational Women in Mining” by Women in Mining UK and won the Technology Innovator of the Year Award by Mines and Technology in 2019.  She holds a degree in Civil Engineering and an Executive MBA from the Melbourne Business School; she also holds a degree in Psychology from Deakin University.

Follow Michelle on Twitter: MichelleAsh18

Kalev Ruberg

Kalev Ruberg has been active in the information systems arena for over 40 years. As a BSc and Masters graduate from MIT, his studies included work at the Architecture Machine Lab (now the Media Lab) before carrying out digital simulation research at the National Bureau of Standards (now NIST) in Washington DC, University of California Berkeley Labs, and then at Georgia Tech, as an assistant professor.

In 1982 he joined Canada’s National Research Council in Ottawa, as a Senior Research Scientist where he developed a number of machine learning algorithms in the artificial intelligence field. Joining IBM Global Services, he designed large machine learning and control systems for IBM Manufacturing and clients worldwide.

In 1998, he was appointed the CIO and Deputy Minister to the Finance Minister, at the Government of Manitoba, where he was responsible for the government’s Information Services. Subsequently, he led development at a B2B e-commerce company, and then became a VP at TELUS, where he was responsible for Application Development, Business Development, and development of the IT strategy and offerings for TELUS’ Healthcare vertical.

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Building on his experience at Telus, Kalev became the CIO and Executive General Manager for Information Services at Placer Dome, formerly the largest gold mining enterprise in the world here he led the restructuring of technology services worldwide. Since 2006, he has been Teck Resources as the CIO Vice President, Teck Digital Systems, where he was responsible for the overall digital systems services and projects for this global mining company. Most recently, Kalev was appointed VP Future and Chief Innovation Officer, where he is exploring the future of mining at Teck. In 2020, Kalev was also appointed adjunct Professor at the Keevil School of Mining Engineering at UBC.

Kalev has published more than 30 papers in proceedings and journals. In 2018, he was named to CIM Magazine’s 2018 Names to Know and is Vice Chair of the Global Mining Guidelines organization.

Helius Guimaraes

Helius started his professional career in 1987 in a start-up company as a technical lead supporting commercial and implementation of an in-house developed Computer Aided Design software for engineering, mining, utilities and government agencies. At this start-up company he also developed an accounting system which was implemented in several organizations. After graduating as a geologist in 1990 and completing a master degree in geosciences, Helius supported the implementation of a new GIS and Remote Sensing laboratory for COMIG – a public organization that promotes mining activities in the Minas Gerais State in Brazil. In 1994 he joined De Beers and developed database and GIS capabilities to support easy access to data for exploration activities in South America. Later he focused on designing and implementing strategies to manage IT, Information Centre, GIS and Drawing departments. One of the strategies involved the digitalization of historic data and information workflows enabling cost effective decision making processes to support diamond exploration projects. In 2001, Helius moved to De Beers Corporate Headquarters in Johannesburg to manage global programmes in all countries De Beers Group Exploration operated – delivering standardized processes and systems as well as supporting the establishment of a global collaborative culture. During this time, he forged strategic relationships with 3rd party vendors for long term value add to support the solutions implemented. In 2003 he completed his MBA and from 2005 developed strategies, architecture, policies, and implemented solutions to support De Beers Group Exploration decision making process in targeting, project reviews, and balancing supply & demand at laboratories spread in different geographical areas. Helius was certified as a Project Management Professional in 2005 and in early 2007 joined Rio Tinto in London to direct the Rio Tinto Exploration Information System & Technology function and the management of its data and information. He led a team, which delivered secure and fit-for-purpose tools and services to facilitate the acquisition, process and interpretation of exploration results. Helius moved to Singapore in 2015 to take on the responsibility for developing strategies and roadmaps for Rio Tinto Information System & Technology through the translation of Rio Tinto’s business objectives into effective IT solutions and standards. He promoted innovation and application of emerging technologies to support Rio Tinto’s strategic objectives. Helius is now based in Perth and leading digital transformation in the Alcoa mining business. Helius was the chair of the Global Mining Guidelines group for 2 years before handing it over to Michelle Ash in 2018.

Andrew Scott

Andrew has been involved in the mining innovation arena since the very beginning of his career over 30 years’ ago. Having studied biotechnology and computer science at the University of Queensland, he was drawn to the mining industry as a means of funding his ongoing study. As a young field assistant, he quickly found himself fulfilling the role of “go-to” person for any new technology that needed to be investigated or implemented. If ever he felt that a position within a company wasn’t giving him technology exposure, Andrew discovered that he would engineer himself into those roles. One example is when Michelle Ash became Chief Innovation Officer at Barrick, he made sure that he was on her team delivering on their digital strategy as Senior Director Innovation. Andrew was at the beginning of GMG becoming the first GMG Incoming Chairman, with Tim Skinner as Chairman, to then follow Tim as Chairman, Outgoing Chairman and Working Groups Chair and thoroughly enjoys working with motivated and passionate people to improve the industry through collaboration, guidelines, and innovation. As Senior Director, Innovation/Digital Mining at Barrick, Andrew had the scope of providing technology support for the entire mining process, which includes everything from exploration, feasibility, construction, production, reconciliation, through mine closure. Andrew has currently the Founder and Principal Innovator at Symbiotic Innovations alongside his concurrent role as Executive Chairman of Queensland Robotics, a member of Robotics Australia, striving to build a sustainable robotics industry. Ultimately Andrew is focused to make the world a better place through innovation and appropriate use of technology! Develop deep symbiotic collaboration to stimulate, promote and realize positive outcomes for humanity and the planet earth.

Kelly McLean

Kelly has over a decade of experience in mining and tech, both as a metallurgist and as a data scientist. She has worked in both production and consulting environments and has an interest in data science and artificial intelligence in the mining industry.

Mark Richards

Mark has been active in the mining business for nearly 40 years and is a Professional Engineer in British Columbia, graduating from Camborne School of Mines (UK) in 1981 with an ACSM and BSc (Mining Engineering). In 1983 he completed a MSc (Mining Engineering) at Queens University (Kingston, Canada), before starting working for De Beers at the Kimberley Mines (RSA). Experience included working in block cave and sub-level caving at several mines in the Northern Cape and Deep level gold operations in the Orange Free State. At the Finsch Mine, Mark worked in open pit operations and planning, as well as development of the new underground mine. Finsch was the first exposure to automation as he joined the underground automation team as a Senior Engineer. In 1988, he moved to Premier Mine where he was responsible for a number of projects including the development of an automated draw control and LHD monitoring system as well as working in mine operations.

In 1992, he was appointed Senior Engineer at Highland Valley Copper in British Columbia, with responsibilities for new equipment and technology selection, purchase, and implementation. Technologies included early implementation of GPS machine navigation and GIS systems. Highland Valley was an early adopter of the mine to mill philosophy where Mark was a key part of the integration and optimization process.

In 2001, he moved to the environment group with responsibilities to ensure compliance with regulations and permits and coordinating aspects of the mine’s site closure plans. In this capacity, he expanded the use of GIS to include mine reclamation and the use of remote sensing for monitoring reclamation performance.

In 2008, Mark moved to Teck’s Applied Research and Technology group in Trail, BC, where he developed a mining technology group to identify, develop and promote technologies to support Teck’s business units. These have led to significant returns through continuous improvement, growth, and improved safety. This new role provided the opportunity to implement the mine to mill philosophy across Teck’s base metal mines. Other key technologies have included drill automation, enhanced measure while drilling and vehicle proximity detection.

Mark has published papers in proceedings and journals on the development and implementation of technology across the mining space. He completed his MBA at Simon Fraser University in 2015 with a thesis on Technology and Innovation Strategies. He has been involved with GMG since its inception and is currently Secretary on the Governing Council.

This site is currently being updated. Committee members will be added soon.

This site is currently being updated. Committee members will be added soon.

This site is currently being updated. Board members will be added soon.

Ricardo Aguilera

Ricardo, Manager Enterprise Solutions at RPM Global, is an industrial engineer in electronics. He holds an MBA and has over than 25 years of experience in the mining industry in technology innovation, ERP and mining systems implementations and portfolio, program and project management. He is also an entrepreneur and university professor and tutor in innovation.
In his previous role as Mining Technology Innovation Regional Manager for Barrick Gold in South America, he led a functional team of engineers acting as the subject matter expert in mining IT, process plant IT, maintenance IT and data analytics systems. In this role, he was responsible for making a significant contribution to shaping how information technology efficiently serves the operational/mining side of the business.

Laura Mottola

Laura Mottola is the President and CEO of Flow Partners Inc., a Canadian consulting company with operations in Chile, and Director of Great Lakes Graphite Inc., a company listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange. She is recognized globally as a leader in Lean Mining®, Mining Automation, Technology and Innovation in the natural resources sector. Laura is a mining engineer with a Masters of Engineering in Mining Automation from McGill University. A seasoned professional and business leader with more than 20 years of global experience in mining, Laura was named one of 100 most inspirational women in mining by Women in Mining UK. Laura is dedicated to Lean Thinking, Methodology, Lean Mining®, Innovation, development integration of concepts from other industries, and multidisciplinary approach strategies. She is a Co-Founder of the Lean Institute Canada and the Founder of the Lean Mining® Institute. She is passionate about creating value, increasing productivity, social, environmental responsibility and teamwork in mining. Laura brings the multidimensional leadership and vision needed to transformation the mining sector and to generate dynamic and diverse opportunities within it. Laura has personally worked with clients such as Yamana Gold, Sherritt International Corp., Goldcorp, KGHM International, Sierra Gorda S.C.M., KMC Mining, Rio Tinto Technology & Innovation, IAMGold, Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold, Alcoa, Syncrude, Suncor, Cambior, Inco, was a council member of the Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy, and Petroleum and currently is the Leader of the Integrated Operations Working Group for Global Mining Standards and Guidelines Group.

Patrícia Procópio

An expert in the application of technologies towards mining solutions, Patrícia Procópio has founded XRLab, which focuses in immersive and virtual experiences. With over 30 years of experience in mining, she is also the founder and president of MP Consulting, a consulting firm specialized in geotechnologies and geoinformation solutions for environmental, mining, engineering and agrobusiness. Prior to leading her own businesses, Patricia spent 17 years with Vale, where she led many innovative projects, including the implementation of their advanced decision making virtual room, the infrastructure for spatial data- GISMineral, Global Geological Database Management System-GDMS, among many others. With a PhD in geology and specialization in Geoprocessing, Procópio’s projects have been recognized internationally, including award winning projects in the: Geospatial World Excellence Awards in Amsterdam (2012),  Geospatial Latin American Excellence Award (2011), GIS Award in San Diego (2010 and 2006), MundoGeoconect and DroneShow  (2019 and 2014) and Inova Vale (2010). Procopio is also committed to making mining a more inclusive industry, and in 2019 became on of the founders and president of Women in Mining Brasil.

Jean-Jacques Verhaeghe

Andrea Nichiporuk

It was love at first sight. Hands furiously filling a wall with multicoloured Post-It notes in an effort to identify a problem and plan how to tackle it – [swoon!] Andrea knew she’d found her perfect match.

For more than 20 years Andrea has worked in communications and publications in the mining industry. She joined the Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum (CIM) in 1998, rising through the ranks to the final position of Communications Manager. During her time with CIM she got to work on her dream project: launching a magazine. After 18 months of 14- to 16-hour hour days, working 7 days a week, CIM Magazine was born. It was the world’s greatest arts & crafts project! In July 2018 she joined GMG as Communications Manager.

When she’s not engaging with some of the nicest and funniest people in the most amazing industry, she’s counting down the days until she can take that coveted walk down the aisle – the airplane aisle that is. Mere days before the pandemic hit, she was scheduled to travel to Sweden on business but, more importantly, for a much anticipated train ride up North to see the Northern Lights. Until then, she will have to contend with listening to ’90s tunes and eating smores around the campfire looking up at the twinkly night sky.

She hopes to one day fulfill her dream of seeing, in person, a bucketwheel excavator in action. If anyone knows a guy who can make that happen, please call me.

Christina Rakobowchuk

Cintia Díaz

Cintia joined GMG in the spring of 2021, after migrating from Argentina to Canada in the middle of the pandemic (yes, it was a brave leap of faith). From the stunning “Land of Fire” on the southernmost part of Argentina and Mendoza’s wine regions to her new Canadian home, Cintia is a true explorer, risk-taker, and trail blazer who has taken on some exciting great challenges with this amazing new job in an industry plenty of unparalleled opportunities across the five continents!

By some quirk of fate, Cintia started her career in the mining industry almost nine years ago after graduating from University in Argentina. As a Communicator, Translator, and Interpreter working on site (yes, underground!) with some of the globe´s largest mining companies, she has a thorough and first-hand understanding of the industry and the processes involved (from blasting to mineral processing) and, more importantly, she knows how to successfully communicate with key strategic partners across the mining market to support international business operations and engage customers globally. On top of that, she is a bolter and scoop operator and an underground explorer!!

Cintia holds a Bachelor´s degree in English and Spanish Linguistics and a Postgraduate Program in Digital Communications Management. However, she likes to define herself as a lifelong logophile: she loves playing with language, hearing words, and linking them with other sounds, other meanings, and other words, which has given her the opportunity to master the art of communication. Apart from loving words, Cintia loves spending time outdoors, reading, travelling, cooking Argentine food, meeting new friends, and exploring Canada!

Being part of GMG will give her a mix of challenge and opportunity to play her part in shaping the future of mining!

Francine Harris

Francine joined GMG in 2018 as a technical writer and editor with a passion for learning and for organizing long and complicated texts. She rose to the title of “word wizard,” which is mostly just a knack for googling and an angelic patience with organizing pages and pages of jot notes. She is very happy to work for an organization that allows her to learn something new every day while working with experts from around the world to make a difference for an essential industry.

Francine holds a MA in English (2018) and a BA in English and Communications Studies (2013) from Carleton University in Ottawa, Ontario. She specialized in medieval stories about magical babies, murder, philosophy, and child-stealing unicorns. She also worked as a research assistant on a book project, for which one task involved condensing information from a 350-page Victorian treatise on how rats will take over the world into a short annotation. These skills have been surprisingly transferable to this role. Her past freelance work editing academic papers, reports, and dissertations for Engineering students may have helped too.

In her spare time, Francine’s interests include chicken keeping, classical music, figure skating, and reading modern stories about magical babies, murder, philosophy, and child-stealing unicorns.

Heather Ednie

Learning opportunities never stop as we build a global, multi-stakeholder and volunteer-driven organization to drive an innovation community in support of a safe, secure, productive, and responsible mining industry. Heather has more than 20 years of experience in association leadership, collaboration facilitation, engagement and communications within the mining and metals sector. Totally charged by opportunities to empower people to excel, while steering an organization on a path to achieve sustained, high-level growth. Dedicated to improving the outreach of proactive, responsible, and safe organizations.

Heather Turnbull

Heather brings a wide range of experience to the team. As a stay-at-home mother for a number of years, Heather was a highly involved community leader, as a volunteer at the local school and on other committees in the municipality. She also worked in various support staff positions at the school, most recently as the school secretary. Prior to that, Heather was the administrative assistant to the Executive Director of the Trans Canada Trail Foundation in Montreal, where she gained an understanding and appreciation of the importance of volunteers and the need to work together. Heather is impressed by the work carried out by dedicated Global Mining Guidelines Group volunteers from around the world, and all levels of the industry, who share a vision of cleaner, safer, more efficient mining. Heather has a background in land management and served for 14 years as president of a local non-profit organization dedicated to helping people in need. She looks forward to broadening her exposure to the mining industry and helping groups collaborate toward this new future.

Holly Arsenault

Holly joined GMG in the spring of 2020 as an Administrative Assistant, after making the long distance move from Alberta to Quebec. She brings with her 10 years of administration experience with a can-do attitude, and a willingness to do whatever it takes to get the job done. Holly joined GMG excited with the possibility of travelling the globe for work, however 2 weeks after she was hired the pandemic hit! So, until our world can right itself you can find her in virtual meetings trying desperately to hide her family from the camera view.

Holly loves spending time outdoors with her husband whether it be playing a good round of golf or going on adventures with their fur-baby, a very wiggly, lovable Boxer named Bo. Of course, living in Quebec means lots of snow and cold temperatures during the winter months, during this time you can usually find her binge watching a good crime tv series or reading a mystery novel.

With the help of GMG Holly hopes to strengthen and grow her knowledge of the mining industry enabling her to be part of the change and innovation in a larger way. She looks forward to the day when she can travel and experience the industry first hand, while also meeting in-person the amazing community of people that make up GMG.

Julie Stuart

Julie joined GMG in fall of 2020 right in the middle of a world-wide pandemic. She comes from a background of project coordinating and managing with more than 9 years of experience. She studied biochemistry at Concordia University and was accepted into McGill’s Pre-med program before changing academic fields.

Since starting at GMG, Julie has learned a lot of new things within the mining industry and is extremely egger to continue to learn. She takes pride in her work and is always looking for better learning and organization strategies.

In her time outside of GMG, you can often find Julie at home online shopping or running after her indecent prone child. She is always up for a challenge and is grateful for the opportunity to work for GMG and see what they have to offer.

Maria Gilker

Maria joined GMG in the spring of 2020, with a plan to do interesting work, meet new people and possibly travel. That exact week, the pandemic hit and the plan is on hold as she continues to work solo in her home office, surrounded by her adult children navigating online school and listening to her colleagues talk about work trips to South Africa, Ireland and Australia. Despite these challenges, Maria continues to be inspired daily by the mining community and the diverse GMG team who were not even in her life a year ago.

Maria holds a BA in Honours English Literature from Concordia University in Montreal and a CFP designation from FP Canada which led her to manage the Marketing Communications department of a Canadian bank as the only anglophone in a staff of 2,000, back in the day when email didn’t exist in the workplace. Fast forward over 20 years during which time Maria raised two athletes, developed an intimate relationship with arenas and swimming pools in the pre-dawn hours and honed her entrepreneurial skills in two small businesses. She’s been presenting on Zoom long before it was cool and can be heard repeating daily “be part of the solution, not the problem”, while writing in her gratitude journal.

Lifelong loves include any and all forms of exercise, preferably outside, reading and more recently, watching European Netflix series. Adulthood presented her with a couple of unexpected roles: volunteering, currently as the Vice-President of the local figure skating region and as a level 3 official with Swimming Canada, and becoming a two-time cancer survivor. Maria is confident her first novel, as yet not started, will be published soon and her name will finally show up on the Forbes 50 over 50 list of women shattering age and gender norms. Grateful for the opportunity to learn and grow with the GMG team!

Michael Girgis

Michael joined GMG as a technical writer and editor during the summer of 2021, just as the pandemic started to die down. He started his educational journey studying water and wastewater at Algonquin College then moving on to a broader program, Environmental Studies at Carleton University. After graduating he worked in environmental consulting focusing on environmental hazards for almost 2 years where he found his passion for writing various technical reports and providing clear content to clients. He then went back to Algonquin College to study technical writer to enhance those skills and start on a new career path.

Regardless of the weather he is always trying to be outdoors as much as possible where he is found, or not found, in random forests capturing photos of nature. Two years before the pandemic hit, Michael had a goal of traveling to a new country every year and has so far crossed off Iceland and Colombia. When he isn’t found outdoors, he is usually found reading or writing dark fiction stories or playing video games.

As a recent graduate from the technical writer program, Michael hopes to expand his technical writing and editing skills at GMG while learning about the mining industry and great advances accomplished and to come.

Valerie Ziegler

Valerie joined GMG in the spring of 2021 from the non-profit sector, having previously worked tackling issues from food insecurity, to gender inequality, and road safety in communities across Canada and in East Africa. As an advocate for continuous improvement and adaptation, whether personally or at the industry level, Valerie is keen to work with GMG to support the work being done to make the mining industry safer and more sustainable.

Valerie holds a MA in International Development Studies with a focus on sustainability from the Université Grenoble-Alpes in France and a BA in Political Science from the University of Victoria, Canada, during which she spent a semester abroad at the University of Hong Kong. In addition to studying on three continents, Valerie’s worldview and perspective are also shaped by her experiences living and working in East Africa and Bahrain.

When she’s not working, Valerie can be found exploring her neighbourhood markets and parks or enjoying the outdoors – where you’re more likely to find her climbing a mountain in the snow than hanging out at the beach.

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