Associated Event

Hotel Bonaventure, Montreal, Canada
24 – 26 September 2024

Key Learnings from Mining in Challenging Geotechnical Environments Workshop

13:00-17:00, 23 September 2024 

Rooms Montreal 2 & 3, Hotel Bonaventure, Montreal, Canada

Collaborating Organisation

About the workshop 

This is a practical workshop featuring case studies and lessons learnt in applying underground mining geomechanics and developing operational solutions. 

Who should attend? 

Early career engineering geologists, geotechnical engineers and mining engineers would benefit from the exchange of ideas and share experiences on underground geomechanics mining best practice. The workshop is also relevant to broader technical services personnel, mine owners, operators and suppliers. 

  • Provide a holistic overview of underground mining and operational management processes 
  • Provide examples of operational issues related to managing the risks associated with underground mining from a geotechnical perspective 
  • Review selected underground mining case studies and discuss how the geotechnical community addresses risk and failures 
  • Share learnings and solutions to solving a variety of geotechnical problems faced in underground mining in challenging environments. 

This is a half day program which includes lunch from 12:00-13:00.

Time Program



Welcome and introduction Ben Barsanti, Operational Geotechs, Canada


Rock mechanics: 20 years of geotech and still standing Peter Andrews, Gold Fields Australia, Australia


Rockburst risk mitigation strategies at Vale’s deep mining operations in Sudbury – case studies Dr Mike Yao, Vale Base Metals, Canada


Lessons learnt from a significant pillar yielding event Jeremy Doolan, Operational Geotechs, Australia




Seismicity management at La Ronde Mine, Vincent Dagenais, Agnico Eagle Mines Limited, Canada


Transitions in the big M's – magnitudes, management and money Ash Page, Operational Geotechs, Australia


What makes deep mining deep – A strong brittle rock perspective Brad Simser, Glencore, Canada


Question and answer session


*Program is subject to change.


Ben Barsanti
Operational Geotechs, Canada

Ben has broad mining experience over his 20 year career with exposure to underground and open pit mining across Australia and Africa in gold and nickel commodities. During his career, Ben has gained a variety of geotechnical and backfill experience working for Gold Fields Australia, La Mancha Resources, and Newmont Corporation, before co-founding Operational Geotechs in 2016. Ben has worked in operations with challenging ground conditions, mining at depth and high-stress environments. Ben graduated from RMIT University in Melbourne with a Bachelor of Engineering (Geological).


Peter Andrews
Director & Principal Geotechnical Engineer
Gold Fields Australia, Australia

Peter has over 20 years of experience in the mining industry in both operating and consulting capacities. He has a broad range of experience with specific expertise in soil and rock mechanics in the geotechnical engineering field. Over this period, he has obtained international industry experience, having worked on a number of large open pit operations in Australia, New Guinea, Zambia, Ghana, and South America in material types ranging from weak sediments to hard rock environments. He specialises in geotechnical optimisation to extract additional value from operating pits.

Presentation title: Rock mechanics: 20 years of geotech and still standing

Vincent Dagenais
Engineering Superintendent
Agnico Eagle Mines Limited, Canada

Presentation title: Seismicity management at La Ronde Mine

Jeremy Doolan
General Manager – Australia
Operational Geotechs, Australia

Jeremy is a qualified geotechnical engineer who has more than 18 years of site-based operational and technical consulting experience, predominantly in Australian underground hard rock mines. He has held senior roles, including mining manager at Newcrest Mining Limited’s Telfer gold operation in Western Australia and has broad experience managing geotechnical and operational requirements across various mining methods. Jeremy graduated from RMIT University in Melbourne in 2004 with a Bachelor of Engineering (Geological).

Presentation title: Lessons learnt from a significant pillar yielding event

Ash Page
Director & Geotechnical Engineer
Operational Geotechs, Australia

Ash has over 10 years’ experience as a geotechnical engineer in the mining industry, predominantly site-based as an operational geotechnical engineer in both hard rock underground and open pit operations. Ash’s experience has given him exposure to a range of mining methods and environments including small-scale to large-scale open pit mining, narrow vein and bulk longhole open stoping, longhole room and pillar, modified avoca, remnant mining, deep and high-stress mining (seismic and squeezing ground), shallow/weathered ground, ground consolidation, paste and cemented rockfill. Ash completed a Bachelor of Engineering (Geotech Engineering) at the University of Tasmania.

Presentation title: Transitions in the big M’s – magnitudes, management and money

Brad Simser
Principal Ground Control Engineer
Glencore, Canada

Since graduating in 1988, Brad’s career has been mostly in underground mines as a geotechnical/rock mechanics engineer. All the mines he has worked on have been hard rock, relatively deep and seismically active including stints in the South Africa Goldfields (Welkom 1990–1995), lead-zinc in northern New Brunswick (Brunswick Mine 1995–2001), and Glencores’ Sudbury operations since 2003. From 2001–2003, Brad was at the Noranda Technology Centre and his work included the running of a dynamic bolt testing rig.

Presentation title: What makes deep mining deep – A strong brittle rock perspective

Dr Mike Yao
Manager of Rock Engineering
Vale Base Metals, Canada

Mike has more than 25 years’ experience in the field of geotechnical engineering. After immigrating to Canada in 1995, he worked for several mining companies in Canada including Black Hawk Mining, HudBay, Glencore and Vale, holding increasing responsibilities in various fields of mine engineering, including mine planner, chief mine engineer and chief/principal ground control engineer.

Mike’s professional experience extends to rock mass characterisation, mine design, numerical modelling, ground support design, ground control instrumentation and seismic risk management in deep mining. He was instrumental in developing seismic-resistance ground support systems for two deep mines in Canada. Currently, Mike is the manager of rock engineering for Vale’s North Atlantic mine operations based in Sudbury, Ontario, Canda.

Presentation title: Rockburst risk mitigation strategies at Vale’s deep mining operations in Sudbury – case studies