Aaron Innis, Manager Automation, Imvelo 

Aaron is a highly experienced Autonomous Haulage Specialist with over a decade of hands-on experience in this field. He has been heavily involved with the implementation of Autonomous Haulage Systems as well as Fleet Management Systems and has a strong ability to identify customer needs through data interpretation and create positive change in high-speed environments.

Aaron has proven expertise in effectively managing change and technology processes, ensuring smooth implementation and secure operational support for mission-critical solutions in large-scale environments; development and commission of mining technology and AHS maintenance strategies and processes; mining technology and vehicle communications equipment installation and maintenance; and leading large cross-functional teams. 

Career highlights include being responsible for a 12-week leading Continuous Improvement Program resulting in a 70% reduction of Autonomous Truck stoppages, through improved process discipline, technology standardisation and maturing and developing remote support team capability. 

Andrew Scott | GMG Ambassador

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.  

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. 

Benny Chen, Senior Manager of Technology | Orica

For the last 22 years, Benny Chen has led technology and commercial teams in delivering an array of measurement and monitoring solutions for the mining and civil industries for companies like GroundProbe, Minova and Orica. 

More recently, his team developed the FRAGTrack solution that incorporates the latest AI and algorithmic technology that enables full autonomous and adaptive particle size distribution monitoring for optimizing mine to mill workflows. 

Benny’s background has been in Electrical and Electronics engineer majoring in embedded supercomputing.  He has worked in R&D for 15 years before moving to technology management role with the last 10 years focusing on AI, Machine Vision and LiDAR based innovations for open cut, underground and civil applications. 

Cherie Burgett, Director of Cyber Intelligence Operations | MM-ISAC

Public Speaker, Theologian, and ISAC Operations, Director. As the Director of Cyber Intelligence Operations for the Mining and Metals Information Sharing Analysis Center (MM-ISAC), Cherie Burgett leads the ISAC’s cyber intelligence program, enables sharing and coordinates responses to active threats. She provides the link between the public and private sector, and supports companies to develop strategies as they undergo digital transformation. 

Dominic Stoll, Digital Solutions Manager | Mipac 

Dominic is an experienced minerals process engineer with more than 14 years of practical experience across various plant, project, commissioning, consulting education, management, and commercialisation roles. 

A strategic operator and leader of digital transformation, Dominic has been an integral member of multiple high-profile projects, including within Glencore, First Quantum Minerals, Rio Tinto and JKTech. Advanced skills in strategy development, business planning, performance alignment, and leadership earned from his career allow him to collaborate with his team and clients effectively. 

Gustavo Pilger, Head of GEOVIA R&D, WW Strategy & Management | Dassault Systèmes 

Gustavo PILGER is a Mining Engineer/Geostatistician with over 20 years’ experience in the global mining industry and with a strong background in mineral resource modelling and uncertainty analysis, holding a PhD and a MSc degree in geostatistics and a specialisation degree in Mining Geostatistics from the Paris School of Mines.

Gustavo has worked for large mining corporations and consulting organisations, where he has been working with a vast range of commodities located in several parts of the globe in collaboration with multidisciplinary groups. He has also experience in all aspects of Technology Development for the mining industry.

As Head of GEOVIA R&D within Dassault Systèmes, Gustavo manages the strategic definition and development of GEOVIAs’ portfolio. He provides strategic views to define the technology vision for modelling and simulating the planet in a responsible manner. With leadership teams across Dassault Systèmes he contributes to defining transformational technologies to enable companies to overcome their challenges, improving predictability, efficiency, safety and sustainability whilst maximising shareholder value. 

Heather Ednie, CEO | Global Mining Guidelines Group

Heather Ednie is an influential mining professional who has more than 20 years’ experience in the mining and metals sector, developing and spearheading vital business solutions through communications and association management.

In 2012, she became the Managing Director of Global Mining Guidelines Group (GMG). The organization’s purpose is to be a catalyst for the operationalization of innovation in the global mining industry to improve the safety, sustainability and productivity of our mines. In November 2021, she became its CEO.

In September 2021, Heather and two partners launched Global Collaboration Services (GCS), a boutique business offering shared services to small organizations who don’t have the resources to fully manage operations and reach their goals. During the same month she also became the Executive Director of the Metals and Mining Information Sharing and Analysis Center (MM-ISAC) whose mission it is to improve the cyber resiliency of mining and metals companies, preventing incidents impacting safety, environmental sustainability, or operational productivity.

Prior to joining GMG, Heather led a young communications consulting firm – Modica Communications – focused on the advancement of a safe, responsible and respected Canadian mining industry. From 2004 to 2009, as Director of Media and Communications for the Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum (CIM), Heather successfully reinvented the CIM communications and editorial department as the relevant source of information for the industry.

She is a Mensa Canada member, has served as Vice-Chair of Women in Mining Canada, and is a founding member of the Women in Mining Montreal Branch organizing committee.  She was also named one of the 100 Global Inspirational Women in Mining by Women in Mining UK in 2013.

Heidi Breen, CEO | H2Q Hydrogen Queensland 

Heidi Breen has forged a successful career in energy characterised by leadership roles that challenge conventional thinking. The CEO role for H2Q brings together Heidi’s energy industry experience and passion for innovation in a start-up with enormous potential to support the hydrogen industry to accelerate and succeed in Queensland. Heidi has a passion for making a difference in the transition to a renewables future. At H2Q Heidi enjoys working with the ecosystem to shape the hydrogen industry, growing opportunities to showcase Queensland to the rest of Australia and the world. 

Jean-François Beaulieu, Regional Discipline Director – Digital Services | BBA

Jean-François is an industrial IT specialist and a senior digital services consultant at BBA. He has more than 18 years of experience in consulting engineering and in industrial and mining operations. Currently, he acts as consultant to help clients better collect, store and leverage their data. As head of BBA’s digital group, he leads a team of 130 people with expertise in system integration, instrumentation, control, telecommunications, cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, and advanced analytics. With BBA since 2010, he became a partner in the firm in 2018. 

Jean-Francois has been a member of GMG since 2019. He has been involved in the development of Open Data Sets guidelines for Artificial Intelligence in mining. 

Jeff Sterling, Managing Director | Universal Field Robots 

Jeff Sterling is the Founder and Managing Director of Universal Field Robots. A mechanical engineer with over 40 years’ experience, Jeff has a proven track record of delivering value through his extensive mining industry domain knowledge. He is highly skilled in projects involving robotics, automation, exploration, copper, nickel, earthworks, and capital. 

Universal Field Robots (UFR) is a proudly Australian owned and operated, trusted robotics and automation company that was founded in 2016 in Brisbane, Queensland by Jeff Sterling. UFR has seven years’ experience building robots for industrial applications, and over forty years’ engineering experience in the mining industry through Jeff’s leadership. UFR has grown significantly from a core team of three in 2016 to 50 highly skilled mechanical and mechatronics engineers, software developers and business executives in 2023. 

Johnny Serrano, Head of Digital & Technology (Acting) | Thiess

Johnny has been recognised in several industry awards and featured in CIO’s Top 50 (2020-2022). Johnny is a senior member of the Australian Computing Society (Senior CP and Cyber Security), Australian Institute of Company Directors, Institute of Managers and Leaders (Associate Member) and the CIO Council of Australia. 

Johnny was recently appointed as Head of Digital & Technology at Thiess, a leading global mining services provider. In his current role, he leads the technology group and digital strategy to drive client value across Thiess’ operations.

Johnny previously held positions on the board of directors of the Australian Computer Society’s National Council for Diversity and Inclusion, the Executive Committee of the Queensland Branch, and the UN Women’s Brisbane Committee. He holds a Bachelor of Science – Information Technology from Queensland University of Technology and has achieved industry certifications from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Oxford and Harvard. 

Justin Meade, Head of Product Management | Deswik 

Justin is a seasoned product management professional with over a decade of experience delivering successful products that meet and exceed customer needs. He has a passion for building products that solve real problems and a deep understanding of the importance of customer focus.

Having worked in Product Management and Portfolio Management in Enterprise and small businesses in North America and Australia, he excels at building and leading high-performing teams. He is driven by his passion for creating innovative and impactful products. 

Justin Thomas, Business Development Manager – Automation, Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions

Justin Thomas is the Business Development Manager for Automation at Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions in Australia. As Business Development Manager, Justin supports Customers with Sandvik AutoMine equipment automation solutions, to increase productivity, lower costs and improve safety, from conception through to operation. 

 Justin is a chartered professional Mechanical Engineer with 13 years’ experience in the mining industry, having held site based and central office roles for mining equipment, including in reliability and asset management. With his experience Justin has been particularly adept in applying data analytics to optimise costs, utilisation and productivity. 

Kalev Ruberg, CEO & Executive Technology Advisor | Karu Advisory

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.

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. Previously, Kalev worked at 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 CEO and Technology Executive Advisor at Karu Advisory Ltd. 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 Chair of the Global Mining Guidelines organization.

Patrick Marshall, Vice President Technology | MacLean 

Patrick graduated from the University of Queensland with an Honours Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering. He joined MacLean in 2018, having worked at mining operations across Australia and Canada in roles spanning operational excellence, technology implementation, digital transformation, equipment automation, asset management and mobile equipment maintenance. Leveraging his experience in the mining industry, Patrick is now on the MacLean executive and is committed to delivering industry leading equipment solutions with technology. 

Paul O’Donnell, Director – Architecture, Seequent 

Paul heads up Architecture at Seequent, where he is responsible for the architectural design across Seequent’s range of products, focusing on EVO, Seequent’s cloud solution. 

In previous lives, he has had a series of technical leadership positions for a number of ISVs including Chief Architect, CTO and Senior Manager as well as running his own business. 

Rob Labbé, CEO and CISO in Residence | MM-ISAC

Rob Labbé is an accomplished senior executive with more than 20 years of success across the IT security industry, within mining, software development, telecommunications, retail, oil & gas, manufacturing and healthcare. Leveraging extensive experience in cyber security risk management and critical infrastructure, he is a valuable advisor for an organization that is concerned around the security of their manufacturing or industrial networks, needing to enable a digital transformation. 

Rob’s broad areas of expertise include risk management, building diverse cyber security teams, vendor management, training, and professional development. Throughout his executive career, Rob has held leadership positions with Microsoft, Fidelis IT inc. and Teck Resources Limited, and is currently CEO and CISO in Residence of the Mining and Metals Information Sharing and Analysis Center (MM-ISAC). 

Robin Burgess-Limerick, Professorial Research Fellow | The University of Queensland

Robin is an experienced human factors and ergonomics researcher and consultant across a range of industries particularly mining across a broad range of topics including mining automation, human-machine interface design, equipment design to reduce injury risks, manual task risk management, and whole body vibration measurement and management.

He is a certified professional member (CPE), past-president, and Fellow of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society of Australia. Chief investigator on research projects > $8M, author of > 100 refereed papers, chapters and books including “Human Factors for the Design, Operation and Maintenance of Mining Equipment” (Horberry, Burgess-Limerick & Steiner, 2011); “Human-Centered Design for Mining Equipment and New Technology” (Horberry, Burgess-Limerick & Steiner, 2018) & “Human Systems Integration for Mining Automation” (Burgess-Limerick et al, under contract 2024). 

Russell Kennett, Manager Underground Technology, Oyo Tolgoi LLC | Rio Tinto

Russell has been involved in the mining automation and technology domain for over 20 years, primarily working on underground mobile equipment automation and supporting technology infrastructure. Roles with Caterpillar and later Rio Tinto have provided experience in mining technology strategy, development and implementation, and his current position with the Oyo Tolgoi project has given him the opportunity to help build a world class communications and technology platform supporting a new level of safe and productive mining.

Russell Merz, CEO | Australian Innovation eXchange 

Russell is a strategic industry veteran with over 35 years of global business experience leading and scaling innovative engineering and technology businesses from start-up to exit through executive team, advisory and board roles. 

With expertise in integrated science and engineering, Russell has led and contributed to multi-disciplinary projects in over 40 countries in six continents, including multiple mega-capital ($2+billion) resource projects.  With a history of operational roles in innovation, start-up, early stage, scale, and growth stages, Russell is using his experience as a leader in global engineering and project delivery to focus on transforming Australia’s technology ecosystem to deliver sustainable and long-term commercially viable technology.   

Russell has held multiple board roles, and is currently a director of EnviroMETS QLD and Alluvium International, a co-founder of AIX, and sits on expert review panels spanning multiple industry sectors. 

Rhys Davies, Product Manager | IMDEX Limited

Rhys has nearly 20 years of experience in techno-commercial roles in the international resources and mining industry.  He has held roles in control systems engineering, technology and innovation management, positions that have allowed him to implement step change technologies in operational performance and safety. 

In his current role at global mining-technology company, IMDEX Limited, Rhys is focused on the development and introduction of automated, dense data-producing technologies to open cut mining across several continents. This technology supports safer mining practices, along with a shift to cleaner, more sustainable mining, something Rhys is personally passionate about and why he works for IMDEX. 

Simon Pritchard, Commercial Manager, BluVein 

Simon is the Commercial Manager for BluVein, an award-winning Australian technology that enables clean energy for mines. Simon has an honours degree in mechanical engineering (QUT), a master’s degree in project management (USQ), a master’s degree in business administration (USQ) and is a chartered professional engineer with Engineers Australia. 

Simon has experienced the mining industry in several professional capacities including EPC/EPCM project delivery with Ausenco, maintenance within the BHP Maintenance and Engineering Centre of Excellence and mining technology research, development and commercialisation with BluVein and Olitek Mining Robotics. He has also worked on mine sites and mining projects in Australia and East and West Africa. 

His broad experience gives him a unique perspective on the business of engineering and new technology in the global mining industry. Simon is driven by leading and motivating diverse teams to discover, innovate and develop new ways. His current professional focus is the commercialisation of BluVein and Olitek Mining Robotics technology, globally. 

Simon Rooney, Mining Client Partner, BDM | HCL Tech 

Simon has over 25 years mining experience solving problems for BHP, Evolution Mining, Alcoa, Nystar to name a fewHe is a Digital transformation evangelist looking to provide actionable insights from data through a connected enterprise that benefits businesses with a good ROI, while using a co-operative consulting approach with clients to help them on that journey. 

Stefan Hrabar, CEO and Co-Founder | Emesent 

Dr. Stefan Hrabar has been at the forefront of drone autonomy R&D for nearly 20 years. Following his PhD in Computer Science / Robotics on this topic, he spent 13 years at CSIRO where he continued his work on vision and lidar-based perception and navigation for drones. He led the development and commercialisation of Hovermap in CSIRO, and co-founded Emesent in 2018 to bring this ground-breaking technology to market.  

Taylor McKertich, Regional Industry Manager, Mining Minerals and Metals | Endress+Hauser 

Taylor McKertich completed his undergraduate studies in Science and postgraduate studies in Business Administration at the University of New South Wales and obtained postgraduate qualifications in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the University of Sydney.

After working in the mining industry for over 10 years in several engineering and processing operational roles, Taylor now works with Endress+Hauser as the Regional Industry Manager for Mining, Minerals and Metals, responsible for the Asia Pacific region. He is focused on developing the industry to improve operations through technology in advanced sensing. 

Trent Smith, Group Manager – Autonomous Services | Thiess

As Thiess’ Group Manager – Autonomy Services, Trent leads the autonomy strategy, governance and projects for Thiess globally. Since 2019, Trent has led Thiess’ autonomy team to identify opportunities, deploy and maximise performance from autonomous assets, including semi-autonomous tractor systems technology, autonomous haulage and drills. 

Trent has more than 20 years’ experience in the mining industry. He has worked across roles in engineering, business development, and operations in Australia, Canada and Chile.  

Zied M. Ouertani, Head of EMEA Digital Transformation | HCLTech

Dr. Zied is a proven business transformation and thought leader with 20 years of global experience at industry and academia, connecting customer needs to value-add solutions while embarking on the energy transition journey. He has helped several businesses successfully embarking into software-based services and business transformation journeys. 

Along the years, he has developed strong communication skills allowing him to be comfortable in customer-facing and executive level engagements. 

He holds a PhD from the Université de Lorraine in:

  • Engineering Change Management
  • Product Lifecycle Management
  • Information Systems