Vanessa Torres, Chief Technology Officer, South 32

Vanessa Torres commenced as Chief Technology Officer at South32 in August 2018. Prior to this she was Vice President Operational Infrastructure for BHP’s Western Australian Iron Ore operation. She has over 26 years of global mining experience across both operational and commercial roles, and has held various senior roles at BHP and Vale in strategy, projects, business development, and operations. Vanessa holds a Doctorate and Master degrees in Minerals Engineering from the University of Sao Paulo, and a Bachelor of Science from the Federal University of Minas Gerais, Brazil. She was also a Visiting Scholar at the University of British Columbia, Canada, with her research focused on the application of Artificial Intelligence to the mining industry.

Joe Cronin, Operations Manager, Australian Droid + Robot

Dr Joe Cronin is a leading innovator in the global underground mining industry. He possesses extensive technical project management experience in the development and implementation of technology in the mining and defence industries. His greatest passion is the implementation of teleoperation technologies to allow personnel to remotely execute hazardous tasks. For the last decade he has been driving to bring the lessons he learned working with the US army’s bomb disposal robot teams to the mining industry who also have to deal with hazards they can neither eliminate nor substitute. “Safety by Separation” is his catch phrase. Joe is one of the few individuals who is not only capable of developing technology, but also has the skills to manage the successful design, installation and commissioning of that technology. Dr Joe was responsible for the implementation of autonomous LHDs at Northparkes mines where 100% of the production from the E48 Block Cave is produced by automated loaders. Besides being active in underground mine automation consultancy, he is the operations manager for Australian Droid + Robot, a Brisbane based robotics company specialising in the development of underground robots and drones.

Mark O’Brien, Manager – Digital Transformation, CITIC Pacific Mining

Mark O’Brien currently serves as the Manager for Digital Transformation at CITIC Pacific Mining, the world’s largest magnetite iron ore operation, and China’s largest resources sector investment outside of China. His responsibilities cover strategic engagement with the business, leadership of technology solutions delivery, and ownership of the key application and infrastructure platforms at CPM, across both IT and OT. He has an involvement in mining technology that stretches over 30 years. He is a graduate of Curtin University with a degree in Mathematics and Computer Science. Mark is the Chair of the GMG AI in Mining Working Group.

George Long, Digital Mining Lead, Accenture

Dale Harris, Geoscience Information Manager, AngloGold Ashanti

Dale holds a BSc in Applied Geology from Curtin University and a Graduate Diploma of Data Science from Monash University. He has over 20 years’ industry experience and has a deep understanding of geoscience data management, with proficiency in a variety of modelling, database and GIS software. Dale started out as a geologist with a small gold exploration company in WA. Following this, he joined Micromine, where he gained significant insight into the mining value chain and also opened their first US office in Elko, Nevada. Dale then worked at Regis Resources, where he was involved with exploration success in the Laverton area, WA. As Senior GIS Geologist for the Thani – AngloGold Ashanti JV, Dale supported exploration activities across the Middle East & North Africa. Prior to his role with Anglogold, Dale was a principal consultant and manager of the data team at CSA Global, focused on data management and GIS solutions for clients from grassroots exploration through development projects and mining. Currently with Anglogold, Dale works with a team of data and GIS specialist who are working with the companies operations and exploration projects to provide innovative solutions to their data interoperability needs. Working closely with geoscience and specialist the team ensures that data and information are received and delivered in the most efficient method possible. Dale has a passion for discovering and developing innovative solutions, especially where applicable to the unique challenges faced when operating in remote locations.

Melinda Hodkiewicz, Fellow for Engineering for Remote Operations, BHP

Professor Melinda Hodkiewicz is the BHP Fellow for Engineering for Remote Operations at the University of Western Australia and an engineering academic working on multi-disciplinary projects to improve maintenance, asset management and safety practices. She is actively involved in a global project to develop of ontology and natural language processing of unstructured texts found in many types of maintenance records. She is on the leadership team for the new ARC funded $8.8M Centre for Transforming Maintenance through Data Science, was a visiting fellow at the Alan Turing Institute in London 2018 and established the UWA System Health Lab where digitally savvy students work on industry projects. She was the Australian representative on the original ISO 55001 Asset Management (AM) committee. In 2016 she was awarded the MESA Medal for services to the AM community.

Jeff Sterling, Founder and Managing Director, Universal Field Robotics

Universal Field Robots Founder and Managing Director Jeff Sterling is a mechanical engineer with over 35 years’ experience. Jeff has a proven track record of delivering value gained from his extensive mining and metals industry domain knowledge. He has strong business development expertise, and is highly skilled in projects involving robotics, automation, mineral exploration, copper, earthworks, nickel and capital. Universal Field Robots was founded upon the concept of bringing to market a fully-autonomous robot with industrial-scale capabilities. Jeff wanted to create a robotic product with potential applications across a wide range of industries, that was within a viable price range for all types of consumer. Jeff leads a dedicated team of mechanical, mechatronics and robotics engineers who have developed software to fully enable autonomous control of all their machines’ functions. Utilising advances in robotic physics simulations, the team can digitally prototype the ideal solution before proceeding to real-world testing.

Pieter Lottering, Founding Partner, Global io

Pieter is one of the founding partners of Globalio and has been involved in the deployment of integrated operations programs globally for the last eight years. He started his career as an exploration geologist 20 years ago and has since held various technical and operational leadership roles across most parts of the mining value chain. With a passion for empowering people, systems thinking, and fit-for-purpose technology, Pieter is committed to achieving effective business transformations by optimising supply chains through Integrated Operations.

Gareth Topham, Principal Functional Safety, Rio Tinto

Gareth started his railway career with British Rail in 1994 as a Signalling Graduate trainee and having completed the two years training moved into signalling maintenance based in Glasgow. He commenced his railways system safety career with Lloyd’s Register Rail in 1997 producing safety cases for signalling and rolling stock projects including the West Coast Main Line. He has worked on projects and with suppliers in France, Ireland, Belgium, Germany, Turkey, Italy, Sweden UK, New Zealand and Australia. A move to Australia in 2004 led him to RailCorp where he was the Principal Safety Change Advisor before returning to Scotland and taking up a position ultimately as Rail director for Abbott Risk Consulting and back to Oz! Since returning Gareth took a position with Rio Tinto as H&S Manager spent several years working on the AutoHaul™ project as principal safety assurance and now works for the Rio Tinto Group establishing a functional safety framework for all aspects of the business

David Scott Taylor, Director – Innovation and Digitalisation, Ma’aden

Leader of Digitalisation & Automation transformation with a Masters of Information Systems Management, and 21 years in the IT industry with the last 18 years in the Resources industry delivering business value through Business solutions and Portfolio Management. 15 years with Alcoa in global roles and regional role leading the technology transformation of the largest bauxite mines in the world, and now leading the digital transformation of the fastest growing mining company in the world, Ma’aden, Saudi Arabia Mining Company.

Hume Saunders, Manager of Automation Platforms, Rio Tinto

Hume Saunders leads the Rio Tinto Automation Platforms development team within Rio Tinto’s Growth & Innovation organisation. His team employs specialist expertise such as software, hardware and systems engineering to develop and implement automation products within the business. Flagship products such as the drill automation system (MAS Drill), Smart Charge Truck (MAS Charge) and Automated Blast Cone Sampler (ABS) form part of his portfolio. Hume is qualified in both mechanical and electrical engineering and has spent a significant part of his career in the automotive industry before joining Rio Tinto in 2011. Originally joining as a Project Manager in the Technology and Innovation group, Hume managed various projects in Iron ore and Coal operations before assuming development responsibility of the autonomous drill project in 2014. In 2016 Hume moved to managing the Automation Platforms team and its associated product and project portfolio.

Andrew Hall, Manager Strategy, Planning & Governance, Roy Hill

As a technologist with 30 years’ experience, Andrew’s career spans industries including telecommunications, utilities, outsourcing, consultancy and mining. Over this time he has planned and executed strategies that includes not only the delivery of technology and business projects, but leading the construction and operation of support teams and their associated capabilities. Andrew is passionate about resolving business problems and challenges to deliver the outcomes of tomorrow, and seeks to harness the collaborative work of technical teams to positively drive a responsive, agile culture. His strategic insight into the ethical implications of technology projects has realised innovative outcomes that not only improve with technology, but ensures their ongoing sustainability. Andrew joined Roy Hill in June 2012 as member of the Technology team, focussed on building and developing the Roy Hill Technology program of work to meet First Ore On Ship (FOOS), which was delivered in Dec 2015. He was appointed to the role of Manager Technology Planning & Architecture in July 2014 and in 2018, has taken on the role of Manager Technology Strategy, Planning and Governance. Roy Hill is a recently developed iron ore mining, rail and port operation in West Australia’s Pilbara region. The mine is situated approximately 340 kilometres south east of Port Hedland in West Australia, with headquarters and its Remote Operations Centre located at Perth Airport. Roy Hill is an independent, privately owned mine with West Australian majority ownership, chaired by Mrs Gina Rinehart. The technology team at Roy Hill are accountable for the spectrum of Technology assets across the organisation.

Jon Sciortino, Mining Sector Lead, NovaSystems

Jon Sciortino is a highly experienced systems engineering specialist with over 25 years’ experience in complex systems delivery. With a focus on business outcomes and integration at his core, Jon works internationally within both commercial and Defence sectors to assist clients with systems engineering, integration and requirements management and program analysis to harness innovation opportunities to develop of systems which are flexible and enduring. Jon is highly sought after by organisations wanting to access his expertise and insight, particularly in complex projects and where a systems perspective is required. Jon is passionate about helping clients to solve the technologically challenging problems that really matter. He is also deeply committed to applying his wealth of experience to make a difference with clients. Jon holds degree qualifications in electrical engineering and business administration, is a Member of Engineers Australia and lives in Perth, Western Australia.

Peter Clarke, General Manager Industry Engagement, METS IGNITED

Peter Clarke has a Bachelor of Engineering from University of Western Australia, 1974, and a Master of Science from the University of Surrey, 1978. He has spent most of his career in technology development and commercialisation in a range of industries including mining, oil and gas, pharmaceuticals and agriculture. He has been a co-founder of four companies, a robotics and engineering business, a computer vision company, a refrigeration product design company and a mining services company. He was the WA Innovator of the Year in 2007, was made a University of Sydney Innovation Hero in 2011 and accepted the Australian Museum Eureka Commercialisation prize for Scanalyse in 2013. Peter was the founding CEO of Scanalyse Pty Ltd, a spin out from Curtin University, joining the company on its formation in 2006. In early 2013 Scanalyse was successfully sold to the major Finnish mining technology and services company Outotec. After managing the integration of the Scanalyse business into Outotec he worked for with the Department of Industry’s Accelerating Commercialisation program assisting other entrepeneurs on the same journey. Currently he is General Manager for Industry Engagement with the METS Ignited Growth Centre, promoting the technology developers and suppliers to the Mining industry to both the Australian and global market.

Héctor Valenzuela Neumann, Technical Director, Fundacion Chile

Hector M. Valenzuela, Electronic Engineer, Technical University Federico Santa Maria, Chile, M.S. and Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Pittsburgh, USA. He has 40 years of experience, the first 20 years as a Professor of Electrical Engineering teaching and conducting research at Universidad de Concepción, Chile and the Pennsylvania State University, USA. After this, he moved to Chile to join Codelco Mining Company were he spent 20 years in the areas of innovation, technologies for mining and operations. He has managed the innovation portfolio of the Chuquicamata Division, promoting developments in conjunction with technology providers, universities and research centers. During his academic years, he has taught and researched in electrical engineering in the areas of automatic control, digital processing of signals and images, telecommunications and systems analysis. He has book chapters and numerous publications in international journals. Currently, he is the Technical Director of Interop-FCH – a Mining Interoperability Program.

Michelle Ash, Chair, GMG

Michelle Ash’s last role was as Chief Innovation Officer at Barrick. In her role, Ash 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. Ash joined Barrick in January 2016 and brought with her more than 20 years of experience in the mining and manufacturing sectors with a focus on business improvement and change management. Ash was named to the 2016 list of “100 Global Inspirational Women in Mining” by Women in Mining UK.

Tim Skinner, President, SMART Systems Group

Tim is President of his own consulting practice, SMART Systems Group. He has over 35 years of experience in mining and minerals processing with Cominco, Elk Valley Coal, its predecessor Fording Coal, NYCO Minerals, and his consulting business. The majority of his experience is in surface mining and mineral processing developing, implementing, and operating digital technology, information and operational systems and integration, and real time control and advanced automation systems. In early 2007, Tim retired from his senior position as General Manager, Information Systems for Elk Valley Coal. He had been the senior management leader for Elk Valley Coal and its predecessor Fording Coal for about 20 years, responsible for all corporate system management functions from geological exploration to the consolidated corporate financial statement. Tim has been active in ISO (International Standards Organization) as the Chair of Canada’s ISO TC82 Mining Mirror Committee, currently International Chair of TC82 SC8 (Subcommittee 8) for Advanced Automated Mining Systems, and as a Canadian expert in the development of several ISO mining automation standards.

Andrew Scott, Principal Innovator, Symbiotic Innovations and Vice-Chair Working Groups, GMG

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. The latest 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. Since 2012 Andrew has been GMG Incoming Chairman, 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. In addition, Andrew represented Barrick on the OSI Soft Client Advisory Board, collaborating with representatives from other OSI Soft customers from other industries, which he thoroughly enjoyed. Andrew has recently taken up the position of Principal Innovator at Symbiotic Innovations alongside his concurrent role as CORE Skills Facilitator. He is enthusiastic about further supporting the resource sector’s successful digital transformation.

Heather Ednie, Managing Director, GMG

Heather Ednie is an influential mining professional who has more than 20 years’ experience in the sector, developing and spearheading vital business solutions through communications and association management. Since 2012, she has been the Managing Director of Global Mining Guidelines Group (GMG), a network of representatives from mining companies, OEMs, OTMs, research organizations and consultants around the world who recognize that innovation does not happen in silos. GMG creates multi-stakeholder working groups to systematically remove the impediments to building safe, sustainable and innovative mines of the future. Prior to joining GMG she lead a young communications consulting firm, Modica Communications, focused on serving the Canadian mining sector with the aim of advancement of a safe, responsible and respected industry. From 2004 to 2009, as Director, 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. Heather served as Vice-Chair of Women in Mining Canada and is a founding member of the Women in Mining Montreal Branch organizing committee. Heather has received the CIM Distinguished Lecturer Award and was recognized in WIM UK’s 100 Global Inspirational Women in Mining.

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