Global Speakers



Minister for Mines and Petroleum, Member for Cannington

Government of Western Australia

Topic: Keynote: Intelligent Mines – Building an Autonomous Mine from Pit to Port

Bill Johnston was sworn in as the Mines and Petroleum, Commerce and Industrial Relations, Electoral Affairs, and Asian Engagement Minister in March 2017.

This occurred a week after the WA Labor Party’s landslide victory against the Liberal Government.

As our State’s first Asian Engagement Minister, Minister Johnston’s focus was to capitalise on the rapid population and economic growth in Asia to create more job-boosting opportunities in Western Australia.

The Minister has a particular affinity with Indonesia, having spent time in West Java as a high school exchange student, and he maintains a working proficiency in both written and spoken Indonesian.

After almost two years in those roles, Minister Johnston was appointed Energy Minister on December 13, 2018.
To accommodate these changes, and to focus on this important new role, the Asian Engagement, Commerce and Electoral Affairs portfolios were handed over to other Cabinet Ministers.

He retains the Mines and Petroleum and Industrial Relations portfolios.

In Opposition he served as Shadow Minister for State Development and Energy from 2012, and Shadow Minister for Mines and Petroleum from 2013.

He was a Member of the Economics and Industry Standing Committee and Deputy Chair of the Inquiry into Domestic Gas Prices from 2010 to 2011.

Prior to entering Parliament, he was the State Secretary of WA Labor from 2001 until 2008, with responsibility for all State and Federal election campaigns.

During this time he was also a member of the Australian Labor Party’s National Executive.

As Assistant State Secretary of WA Labor from 1998 until 2001, his duties included creating and operating the Labor Business Roundtable, that connects WA Labor with business, industry and the not-for-profit sector in WA.

In 1985, he was a delegate to the International Youth Conference in Kingston, Jamaica during the UN International Youth Year; he participated in the Australian Young Political Leaders Program delegation to Indonesia in 1991; he participated in the US State Department’s Australian Young Political Leaders tour for the Mid-Term Elections in 2002; and in 2006 he was an ALP International Delegate for the UK Labour Party National Conference.

He was a senior official of the Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees’ Association for eight years, President of ACT Young Labor in 1988, and appointed by Prime Minister Bob Hawke as Youth Director to the Board of the Australian Bicentennial Authority from 1985 until 1989.



Research Portfolio Manager

Minerals Research Institute of Western Australia

Topic: The State’s Strategic Investment in the Future of the Mineral’s Sector: Focusing on Innovation and the Digital Economy

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AI Research Developer

AI Centre, Vale, Australia

Topic: Development of a Maturity Scale for Mining Performance and Maintenance Data Analytics

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Ali Soofastaei is an Artificial Intelligence (AI) Research Developer at the AI Centre of Excellence at Vale. Vale is a multinational corporation engaged in metals and mining. He uses innovative models based on AI methods to improve safety, productivity, and energy efficiency, and to reduce maintenance costs. Dr. Soofastaei completed his Ph.D. at the University of Queensland where he led a revolution in the use of deep learning (DL) and AI methods in the mining industry. In the past 15 years, He has conducted a variety of research studies in academic and industrial environments.

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Chairman and Chief Executive Officer


Topic: Harnessing Digital Transformation to Achieve Top Quartile Performance in Mining


During David Farr’s 17-plus years leading Emerson, the company has steadily transformed from a diversified manufacturing conglomerate into a highly focused two platform global enterprise that provides innovative technology and broad service solutions for customers in industrial, commercial, and residential markets. Such was the case in 2016 as Farr led a number of strategic initiatives that again reshaped the company for the future. Its two key business platforms, Automation Solutions and Commercial and Residential Solutions, delivered global sales of more than $15.3 billion in 2017, with international sales representing 52 percent of that total.

Since becoming CEO in 2000 (he was named chairman in 2004), Farr has put a priority on creating long-term value for shareholders and investing for long-term growth while maintaining the company’s solid financial performance relative to earnings, cash flow, and return on capital. Emerson is one of a handful of companies with 60 consecutive years or more of increasing dividends to its shareholders.

Farr joined the company in 1981 in a corporate staff position and progressed through a series of corporate staff and business unit management positions with increasing responsibilities. In 1993, he was appointed president of Emerson’s Asia-Pacific operations and was based in Hong Kong for four years. Farr returned to the United States in 1997 to oversee Emerson’s process control business. In 1999, Farr was appointed as Emerson’s chief operating officer and held that position until being named CEO.

As Emerson CEO, Farr has been an active member of business and industry organizations. He serves as the current chairman of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) board of directors. He is on the board of directors for the US-China Business Council and also is a member of the board of directors of IBM.

Farr has been active in a wide range of civic and charitable organizations in St. Louis. He is a member and past president of Civic Progress, an organization of chief executives from leading companies in St. Louis who work together to promote the region. He currently serves on the executive board of the Municipal Theatre Association of St. Louis (The Muny at Forest Park). He has served stints on the boards of directors for several nonprofits and educational institutions, including the United Way of Greater St. Louis. In recognition of his community leadership and charitable activities, Farr was named St. Louis Citizen of the Year in 2011 and was recognized by the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation with the Semper Fidelis Award in 2012.

Farr received a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Wake Forest University and a master’s degree in business administration from Vanderbilt University.



General Manager Technology

Roy Hill

Topic: Panel Discussion: What Does the Future of Mining Look Like for You and How Do Technologies Like Cloud & Machine Learning Play a Role in Allowing You to Adopt These Technologies Faster

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Rebbecca joined Roy Hill in November 2013, prior to her current role she was a member of the Technology leadership team building and developing the Roy Hill business to deliver the Technology program of work to meet Roy Hill’s first shipment of iron ore in December 2015. She was appointed to the role of General Manager Technology in January 2016.

Rebbecca has worked with start-ups, mid-tier consulting organisations and large Australian businesses including Wesfarmers Agricultural division, AMP and now Roy Hill. She has considerable operational experience and has held Senior Management and Program Management roles including being accountable for the merger and integration of the AMP/AXA Technology shared services operations in 2010.



Senior Director, Energy and Natural Resources


Topic: Panel Discussion: What Does the Future of Mining Look Like for You and How Do Technologies Like Cloud & Machine Learning Play a Role in Allowing You to Adopt These Technologies Faster


Anton is a digital thought leader to the Natural Resources Industry.  He has over 15 years’ experience in this sector starting his career as an engineer running high tech operations on Oil Rigs in the North Sea. Since then he has held numerous technical and management roles in the resources industry. In his role as Industry Principal at SAP he is responsible for helping customers understand how they can generate value by bringing together technology and effective business process. Anton is an advocate for innovation and a thought leader in his field.

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Busines Director Systems and Solutions


Topic: IoT Technology Developments and Cultural Enablers to Attain Top Quartile Performance


Martin Van Der Merwe has been in the automation industry for over 17 years as a registered engineer. He has been involved in the mining and oil and gas industries in South Africa prior to moving to Emerson Australia in 2008 where he has held several positions responsible for project delivery, managing the national service organisation and key account management. His range of roles and associated client experiences has provided him with valuable insights to his current role as the Director for Emerson’s Systems and Solutions business across Australia and New Zealand.

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Automation Consultant


Topic: IoT Technology Developments and Cultural Enablers to Attain Top Quartile Performance


Jon has worked for Emerson since 2006 as automation and project consultant in Mining & Minerals. Jon is currently engaged with our Emerson global centre of Excellence in mining, introducing new unique mining solutions, processes and technologies into the industry.



Superintendent Applications & S4HANA Program Manager

Covalent Lithium Pty Ltd

Topic: Panel Discussion: What Does the Future of Mining Look Like for You and How Do Technologies Like Cloud & Machine Learning Play a Role in Allowing You to Adopt These Technologies Faster

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Christo is a technology specialist and leader with experience in identifying, implementing and embedding HR and IT solutions that are functional and effective maximising return on investment. Recent experience include managing the implementation of Covalent’s SAP S4 Public Cloud project as part of a world class Greenfield Lithium Project in Western Australia. Christo has over 16 years’ experience with the past 8 years focusing on implementing, optimising and managing cloud based enterprise technologies.



General Manager, Western Australia


Topic: Panel Discussion: What Does the Future of Mining Look Like for You and How Do Technologies Like Cloud & Machine Learning Play a Role in Allowing You to Adopt These Technologies Faster


As a member of the SAP Executive Leadership Team, Claire Wildekamp has responsibility for customer sales, engagement and operations across the Western Australian market, leading a team of Industry Account Directors and specialists dedicated to successful customer outcomes.

Claire joined SAP in 2013 and has worked with some of West Australia’s largest organisations, across multiple industries, creating long term strategic relationships and engagement with both customers, and the partner community.



Sales Manager, Energy Practice


Topic: Wi-Fi, LTE or 5G for Your Mining Network


Jaime Laguna is the Global Practice Segment Leader for Mining in Nokia. He has been working for Nokia 19 years, most of them dedicated into the Energy Segment. Before coming to the US, as Global Mining resource, he was Business Development Manager for South East Asia and later Asia Pacific region in the Energy segment, supporting Mining and Oil & Gas markets. Originally from Mexico, back in 2001, he was the Key Account Manager for Strategic Industries division, working directly with local and international EPC’s and Mexico’s Oil State Company.

Main activities and projects are related to the development of Wireless Technologies, Telecom Packages for open pit and underground mines, offshore platforms, refineries and LNG Plants were Mission Critical Networks are required looking also into the development and interoperability of applications.

He has a Bachelor’s Degree in Science in Electronic and Communications Engineering, with a Post Grade in Finance.



Applications Architect

Oz Minerals

Topic: Panel Discussion: What Does the Future of Mining Look Like for You and How Do Technologies Like Cloud & Machine Learning Play a Role in Allowing You to Adopt These Technologies Faster


Ryan has 15 years of experience in the IT industry predominantly in the Utilities and Resources sector. Ryan is the Solutions Architect with Oz Minerals, a copper focused global mining company head quartered in Adelaide South Australia.  Since 2016 Ryan has been responsible for Oz Minerals core business systems and has managed the implementation of SAP S/4HANA ERP, Success factors and Concur in partnership with DyFlex Solutions in that time.



Sales Manager


Topic: What Does the Mine of the Future Look Like?


Paul has over 15 years of experience in offering integrated mining solutions to customers globally.  His experience ranges from Process Control Systems and Electrical equipment for Process plants all the way through to underground mining solutions. With the digital landscape of mining changing at a rapid pace, Paul finds himself assisting more and more customers with turnkey solutions while  improving their productivity, reducing costs and providing solutions for a safer environment.



Head of Product, Digital Solutions


Topic: Digitising Drill and Blast, And Its Critical Role in The Mining Value Chain


Angelo is Orica’s Head of Product, Digital Solutions, leading the direction and roadmap of the company’s product development, and managing a team of globally distributed product owners. The role is core to the delivery of Orica’s digital strategy, providing a suite of software, operational technology control systems and measurement technology solutions to facilitate the continuous improvement of blast outcomes for customers.

Angelo moved to the Head of Product role in October 2018. Prior to this, he was the Senior Manager, Strategic Marketing for Digital based in Melbourne, Australia. In this role, he developed the initial vision and strategic plan for a dedicated Digital Solutions function.

In his 24-year career at Orica, Angelo forged a path towards Digital Solutions following a period as Global Manager for Orica’s Advanced Blasting Services, during which he was responsible for building and growing performance-based services. These service contracts offered clients the opportunity to purchase guaranteed blast results that reduced total cost of operation by delivering outcomes to agreed specifications. It was during this period that Angelo reinforced his belief in a digital twin of the drill and blast process that would connect and react to rich data from upstream and downstream processes in the mining value chain.

Angelo has also served as the Marketing and Technical Manager of the Australian Quarry and Construction business unit following his role as a field engineer in the early part of his career with Orica; through which he has gained experience in all major market segments of the business, spanning surface and underground mining, quarrying and construction as well as all major geographical locations of Orica’s global business.



Strategic Marketing Director


Topic: Future X Architecture for Mining: a Connected Digital Platform for Creating Safer, More Efficient and Productive Mines


Marc Jadoul is strategic marketing director at Nokia. In this role, he is defining the company’s go-to-market strategy and shaping campaigns for the mining industry — working with key stakeholders and stretching across networking technologies and IoT and analytics solutions and services.

With more than two decades of experience in the ICT sector, he has held positions in research & innovation, strategy, marketing and communications, business development, and solutions consulting.

Marc holds a Master’s Degree in Computer Science from the University of Brussels. He is a passionate B2B storyteller, aspiring thought leader, casual blogger, author or co-author of more than 200 papers, magazine articles, interviews, and conference presentations, and a frequent speaker and panelist at industry events.

Over the past years Marc has published white papers, opinion pieces and blog posts, and has delivered conference presentations, public lectures, and interviews about technology trends, digital transformation, the Internet of Things, and use cases for smart cities, connected cars, industrial automation, etc. He speaks Dutch, English and French.



General Manager - APAC

MST Global

Topic: Connecting Your Mine to the Future – Axon Digital Ecosystem


Brett is the General Manager – APAC for MST Global. Brett commenced his career in underground mine electrical systems in Australia before joining General Electric with roles in infrastructure, utilities and mining. He has held senior leadership roles with General Electric and JSON Capital based in Australia and US. Prior to MST Global, Brett was the Global General Manager of GE Mine Energy systems and Founding Partner of JSON Capital. He has broad experience in executive management, digital technology and mineral processing systems.

Brett has Electrical Engineering and Computer Science degrees, and a Master’s Degree in Business Marketing and Applied Finance from the from Queensland University of Technology.



Program Director Autonomous Operations


Topic: Interoperability Enabling Autonomous Missions in Mining


Sharna is an experienced technology leader and has worked a variety of roles in her eighteen years with BHP. She has expertise in technology commercialisation, business development, business planning, corporate venturing, project management and remote operating centres.

Sharna is the global Program Director of autonomy development in BHP. She is strongly of the shaper category. Sharna likes to create vision that inspires and aligns teams to deliver innovations that lead to a step change in mining safety and productivity.



Program Manager Mine Automation


Topic: 5G and High Resolution Positioning Services as Enablers for Mine Automation


Peter Burman, Program Manager Mine Automation Born 1964, Mr Burman holds a master of science and M.B.A. Mr. Burman has been Project Manager in the Mine Automation Program since 2012. 2015 appointed to Program manager for the whole mine automation Program. Working for Boliden 1988-1995 he left for the telecom business. During 17 years at Ericsson and Ascom he worked in various positions like R&D manager and Business Area Manager.

He is also coordinating Boliden’s contacts with some European universities and research organizations.



Mining Technology Manager


Topic: The Future of Tailings Dam Management through Automation and Digitalisation


Dan is leading Mining Application at Airobotics. He has over 8 years of experience with underground & open-pit mines, and is very experienced with a large variety of commodities and mining techniques. Previously, Dan served as the Mining Services Manager at Land Surveys. He also served as the Chief Mine Surveyor at the Andy Well Gold Mine in Meekatharra, Western. In 2015, the mine was awarded “Mine of the Year” by the Australian Mining Prospect Awards. Dan received his Bachelor’s in Surveying from the University of Otago in New Zealand. He is a member of the Australian Institute of Mine Surveys, and serves as a Chairperson on the WA Committee Institute of Surveyors. Dan is a qualified Surveyor and holds a Grade 1 and 2 mining endorsement.



Product Strategy - Manager


Topic: The Best of Both Worlds: Edge and Cloud Combined for More Efficient and Effective Mining




Analytics Manager - Smart Solutions


Topic: The Best of Both Worlds: Edge and Cloud Combined for More Efficient and Effective Mining



Managing Director

Petra Data Science

Topic: Pit to Plant Digital Twin Simulation Case Studies


Upon graduating from the University of Queensland with a degree in mining engineering, Dr Penny Stewart worked on-site for five years, obtaining her Queensland 1st Class Mine Managers’ Certificate of Competency in 2000. In 2000, she commenced PhD studies at UQ’s Julius Kruttschnitt Mineral Research Centre, where she studied advanced analytics, predictive modelling and probabilistic methods under the supervision of Professor Tim Napier Munn, Dr Geoff Lyman and Professor Bill Whiten. She received the Ian Morley prize for Best Minerals Engineering Postgraduate student for her work developing an original statistical method. In 2009, she instigated the application of self-organising maps (machine learning neural networks) for the study of SLC recovery analysis (Brunton et al 2010). As a consultant rock mechanics engineer, she developed original regression and probabilistic (maximum likelihood) models to predict geotechnical instability/failures. As Senior Innovation Engineer with Newcrest in 2011 to 2013, she combined her operational background with advanced analytical skills, to design and execute research and innovation projects, including; prototype machines and novel ground support and systems.

In June 2015, Penny cofounded PETRA® Data Science Pty Ltd to deliver ‘big data’ value creation to the mining industry. Recent projects, include; FORESTALLTM machine learning algorithms to predict equipment breakdowns and loss events, PRODFINDERTM big data integration mine-to-mill studies, MMT3 blast pre-conditioning, application of support vector machine learning algorithm to quantify drawpoint fragmentation using 3D lidar data. In addition to data analytics and machine learning, Dr Stewart developed a new method to quantify intact rock damage from microCT data – LABYRINTH® for the 3rd Mass Mining Technology Blast Preconditioning project.

As an Associate Professor at The University of Queensland’s Geotechnical Engineering Centre she provides specialist lectures for the Advanced Rock Mechanics and Mining Geomechanics courses. She is AusIMM CP (Geotechnical) and RPEQ certified.



General Manager, Christmas Creek


Topic: Fortescue’s Values Based Approach to Innovation

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Jim Herring joined Fortescue in 2010 and has worked in Manager and General Manager roles across the Chichester and Solomon Hubs.

As Mine Manager at Christmas Creek in the Chichester Hub, Jim managed the successful ramp up of mining operations from 10 million tonnes of iron ore per annum (mpta) to 50 mpta. In 2015 he transferred to Mining Manger at Fortescue’s Solomon Hub and was responsible for expanding the autonomous truck program from 15 trucks to 60 trucks over two years. While at Solomon, Jim also introduced autonomous blast hole drilling.

Returning to Christmas Creek as General Manager in 2017, Jim led the transition of a brownfields operation to an autonomous haulage system. Christmas Creek is now running 43 autonomous haul trucks and will be expanding to 65 trucks by the end of 2019.

Jim has extensive experience in both technical and operational roles across multiple commodities including copper, gold, coal, nickel and iron ore.

He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Mining Engineering.



General Manager - Automation & Technoloigy, Productivity & Technical Support

Rio Tinto

Topic: How Rio Tinto Realizes Major Benefits in Automation: From Autonomous Drilling to Driverless Trains


Alastair Mathias leads the Rio Tinto Automation and Technology group within Rio Tinto’s Growth & Innovation organisation. His team employs specialist expertise to identify, develop, implement and support automation technologies across the mining value chain. This includes managing Rio Tinto’s highly publicised Mine Automation System (MAS) and Visualisation tool (RTVis™) as well as the drill automation program (ADS), Smart Charge Truck, and Automated Blast Cone Sampler.

Alastair’s is a mining engineer who joined Rio Tinto in 1992 and has experience in both surface and underground mining across a range of commodities. He has worked in operations and technical roles including line leadership, operational performance analysis and improvement as well as mine planning, M&A support, equipment strategy development, and operations simulation.



Group Executive Chairman

First Indochina Group, Vietnam

Topic: Integrating IoTs with Miners to Track Efficiencies, Output and Productivity

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Thao D.H. Ngo has been responsible for creating business strategy, development of partnerships with foreign vendors and investors, here under also the Overseas Vietnamese communities from US, Japan, Asia Pacific and Europe.

After more than 20 years of living and working in Denmark and other countries; Thao D.H. Ngo has more than 15 years of experience in property developments, government relations, management, consulting, and investments in the areas of cross-border business development, strategies, marketing, sales, distribution, technology transfer and technology investments in the CMLV countries (Cambodia, Myanmar, Laos and Vietnam).

Thao D.H. Ngo has been advising and assisting companies with their business expansion and growth strategies within many sectors in Europe, North America and Asian countries.

After more than 18 years of permanent stay in Vietnam and Cambodia, Thao D.H. Ngo has built up a substantial knowledge base of the many sectors in Vietnam and Cambodia at the current state, combined with his background from overseas studies and works. Thao D.H. Ngo is focusing in how to bring the businesses into CMLV countries from the world and vice versa.



Chief Executive Officer

Global Drone Solutions

Site Tour Leader

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Mahmood Hussein is the Chief Executive officer of Global Drone Solutions, a CASA approved drone pilot training organisation. Mahmood is a seasoned senior executive, strategist & CASA certified drone pilot. Having held numerous senior executive positions with national and multi-national market leaders in the Mining, Automotive and Advanced Manufacturing industries.

Global Drone Solutions harness drone technology to solve both social and business problems and create new business opportunities.

Global Drone Solutions is an innovative business, in a disruptive high tech high Drone Industry which is literally taking off (pun intended). It provides tailored drone training and solutions to a broad range of industries. Outcomes include reduced operational costs, reduced risk, improved operation efficiencies and most importantly improved safety.



Unit Manager: Projects

Gold Fields

Topic: Case Study of Granny Smith Gold Mine IIoT Deployment Strategies. Why and How IIoT deployments succeeded


As a Mining Engineer and Manager, Michael has worked in gold & base metals as a consultant, contractor and in an owner-operator environment both in Australia and Internationally.

He holds a First Class Mine Managers Certificate (WA & SA) and have primary expertise in personnel management, project management and leadership.

His current role involves leading the Granny Smith Gold Mine Projects Department. This includes providing input into the strategic direction for the Projects functions at Granny Smith Gold Mine and within the Australasian region.

This role also makes him responsible for providing technology solutions to be included in trade off and project evaluations to ensure that delivered projects are not only capital effective but have low maintenance costs and a high level of future integration.



Director Mines Safety

Department of Mines Industry Regulation and Safety

Topic: Safety Regulation in the Autonomous Mines of Western Australia

Andrew Chaplyn is Director Mines Safety in the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety, Safety Regulation Group. He has spent more than 30 years working in the mining industry, from a graduate mining engineer through to senior leadership roles in both private industry and government. Andrew joined DMIRS in 2009 and has been a key driver of mine safety reforms during this time.

As State Mining Engineer, Andrew is also responsible for administering the provisions of the Mines Safety and Inspection Act 1994. This includes managing the State’s mine safety inspectorate, approving key mining submissions, chairing the Board of Examiners and the Mines Survey Board, and is a member of both the Commission of Occupational Safety and Health and the Mining Industry Advisory Committee.



Managing Director and CEO

Resolute Mining Limited

Topic: How Resolute has Captured Advantages and is Leading the Industry in Commissioning the World’s First Fully Automated Underground Gold Mine at Syama in Mali

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 John Welborn is the Managing Director and CEO of Resolute Mining Limited. A former successful investment banker and international rugby player, John has defined an ambition for Resolute to become a leading global gold mining company. Mr Welborn is a champion for responsible and sustainable mining development in Africa and was named by MiningMx as one of the 100 Most Influential People in Africa’s Mining Industry. A born and bred West Australian, John is a former Commissioner of Tourism WA, and is currently a Director of the World Gold Council, the Australia-Africa Minerals and Energy Group, and the Chairman of Orbital Corporation Limited.

Mr Welborn is a Chartered Accountant with a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Western Australia, and is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia, a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Management, and is a member of the Australian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy, and the Australian Institute of Company Directors.



Head of Geoscience, Western Australia Iron Ore


Topic: Using Innovation and Automation to Leverage Orebody Knowledge Across the Value Chain


Originally born in England, Vanessa’s family moved to South Africa to grow up in Johannesburg. She started her professional career as a geologist-in-training in 1991 at one of South Africa’s open pit coal mines after graduating from the University of the Witwaterstrand with a BSc Honours in Geology. She moved on to being an exploration geologist for base-metals and then, while finishing her MSc in Exploration Geology at Rhodes University, she managed a mineral sands development project in South Africa before she moved to Hobart in 1998 to read for her PhD at the University of Tasmania.

On returning to South Africa after completing her PhD, she joined Kumba Resources in 2002 as a senior mineral resource and evaluation geologist and then onto the Principal Mineral Resources. In 2006, Vanessa was promoted to Head of Geosciences for Anglo American’s Kumba Iron Ore company in 2006 before moving into iron ore Business Development in in West and Central Africa in 2011.

Vanessa moved to London in late-2013 and took up the position of Head of Early Studies for Anglo American’s Group Technical and Sustainability function. In early-2017, Hatch Associates appointed her as their Metals and Mining Director for Europe before she joined BHP in March 2018 as Head of Geoscience for Western Australian iron ore.



Superintendent Modelling, Operations/Mining

Roy Hill Iron Ore Pty Ltd

Topic: Artificial Intelligence in Mining and Metallurgical Operations, with Case Studies: Treating Rocks and Minerals as Data Objects using AI and Immersive Visualization

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James is a Graduate of the Camborne School of Mines in the UK. Over the past 12 years he has had the opportunity to work on a range of deposits and geology and technology related projects including Rio Tinto’s Mine of the Future and more recently the Roy Hill Iron Ore SMART Mine and Orebody Knowledge initiatives.

James has been a part of the Roy Hill project since 2010 and had the rare and privileged opportunity to help take an exploration project through to an operating mine. This opportunity provided a clean foundation upon which James has been able to draw on his learnings and develop creative orebody modelling methodologies specific to the Roy Hill deposit.

James is currently leading a collaborative R&D project with Maptek Pty Ltd specifically aimed at linking data science and geoscience so as to eventually make tools such as Deep Learning and Virtual Reality available to all Maptek software users.



Automation Project Manager

Resolute Mining Limited

Topic: Building a World-class Autonomous Fleet Management System Plus Retro-fitting Existing Trucks, Loaders and Equipment’s to Autonomous Capabilities

Resolute Mining

Dr Joe Cronin is a leading global proponent of underground mining automation and the safety and production benefits delivered by teleoperation. He has a successful track record of delivering large scale underground mining innovation projects including the fully autonomous LHD production system at Northparkes Mines. Joe is passionate about the safety of underground personnel and the development of technology to enable them to execute hazardous tasks remotely. In a previous life he worked with the US Army and their robots and believes a lot of the lessons learned can be transferred to underground mining where hazards can not be eliminated or substituted and where they must be dealt with remotely. He is very excited by the Syama Underground Project as it presents the opportunity to integrate all of the learnings and experience of previous underground automation into a single, highly automated and highly connected operation.



Manager - Automation & Technology Platforms

Rio Tinto

Topic: Mining Robots: New Autonomous Drilling Delivering Significant Gains in Blast Accuracy and Drilling Performance While Driving Improvements in Productivity and Safety (Plus New Advances in Drilling Tech)


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 and hardware engineering as well as systems engineering to develop and implement automation products into the business. Flagship products such as the drill automation system (ADS), Smart Charge Truck (SCT) 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.