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Ground Support 2019 Advisory Committee

Dr Ming Cai

Geomechanics Research Chair, Laurentian University, Canada

Dr Cai is a Professor at Laurentian University’s Bharti School of Engineering and holds a position as Geomechanics Research Chair. Dr Cai holds Bachelor and Master degrees from Tsinghua University in China and a PhD degree from the University of Tokyo in Japan. Prior to joining Laurentian, Ming worked for Mansour Group Inc., MIRARCO, Tokyo Electric Power Services Ltd., and Tsinghua University and has over 30 years’ research, education, and industry experience. He has a wide variety of interests in rock mechanics and rock engineering, and has made  technical and scientific contributions to many topics, including: constitutive modeling of rock masses, rock mass characterisation, rock support in burst-prone ground, interpretation of AE and microseismic monitoring data, and rock failure process simulation, etc. Dr Cai is the author/co-author of more than 170 scientific publications. He was awarded the Canadian Geotechnical Society John A. Franklin Award in 2017.

Professor John Hadjigeorgiou

Ground Support 2019 Symposium Chair

Pierre Lassonde Chair in Mining Engineering, University of Toronto, Canada

Professor Hadjigeorgiou holds the Pierre Lassonde Chair in Mining Engineering at the University of Toronto. John previously served as head of the Department of Mining, Metallurgical and Materials Engineering at Université Laval in Quebec City.
Professor Hadjigeorgiou is a PEng with over 25 years of international experience in mining engineering. John is a past recipient of the John Franklin Award from the Canadian Geotechnical Society and the Rock Mechanics Award from the Canadian Institute of Mining. John is a fellow of the Canadian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy and holds the ICD.D designation from the Institute of Corporate Directors.

Professor Bruce Hebblewhite

Professor of Mining Engineering, UNSW Sydney, Australia

Professor Bruce Hebblewhite is the Professor of Mining Engineering at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) in Sydney, Australia. He has over 40 years of international mining experience; having spent 17 years in a full-time consulting role in the Australian mining industry (at ACIRL Ltd), and over 23 years of academia at UNSW, including 12 years as Head of the School of Mining Engineering (2003 – 2014). Bruce retired from this role in 2014 but continues at UNSW in a part-time capacity.

Professor Hebblewhite is also currently the Secretary-General of the international Society of Mining Professors (SOMP), a role he has held since 2012.

Dr Marty Hudyma

Ground Support 2019 Symposium Chair

Associate Professor, Laurentian University, Canada

Marty is an Associate Professor at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, Canada. In the past, Marty has worked for Noranda Minerals, Brunswick Mining, Mount Isa Mines, the Australian Centre for Geomechanics and Itasca Consulting Canada Inc. Marty’s research interests include: mine design, rock mechanics, deep mining, and seismicity and rockbursting in mines.

Professor Charlie C. Li

Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Norway

Charlie is professor of rock mechanics at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. He has more than 30 years’ experience in rock mechanics and rock engineering. His major interests are the stability of rock masses, theory and practice of rock support, particularly in high stress rock conditions, and underground space design. Professor Li is at present the vice president for Europe in the International Society for Rock Mechanics and Rock Engineering.


Professor Erling Nordlund

Professor, Chaired Professor, Luleå University of Technology, Sweden

Erling is the chair and Professor in Rock Mechanics and Rock Engineering at the Division of Mining and Geotechnical Engineering, Luleå University of Technology, Luleå, Sweden. He has more than 35 years of experience in research, and the supervision and teaching of rock mechanics. Erling’s research has covered the fundamental studies of deformation and failure processes in rock with experimental and theoretical methods,  rock mechanics applied to civil engineering and mining problems, both static and dynamic numerical problems, and rock support – rock mass interaction for deep mining conditions.

Professor Yves Potvin

Professor of Mining Geomechanics, Australian Centre for Geomechanics

Yves joined the Australian Centre for Geomechanics at The University of Western Australia in 1998 and was appointed Centre Director in 2000. Professor Potvin has published more than 100 articles and is the editor/co-editor of 16 conference proceedings/books. He has over 35 years’ experience in rock mechanics and mine design and has previously held managerial positions at Mount Isa Mines, the Noranda Technology Centre and worked as a mining engineer at Noranda Mines, Gaspe Division.

Professor Pekka Särkkä

Emeritus Professor of Rock Engineering, Helsinki University of Technology, Finland

Pekka is Emeritus Professor of Rock Engineering at the Helsinki University of Technology (HUT, currently Aalto University) in Finland. He has more than 47 years of mining and rock engineering experience, having spent over 20 years in mining, oil and gas, and consulting industries in Scandinavia (Outokumpu, Neste Gas i.e.), and 27 years of academia, including 11 years as Head of Rock Engineering at HUT (1997 – 2007). Pekka retired from HUT in 2009, and has since then continued at Helsinki Metro Western Extensions. Professor Särkkä has been the ISRM Vice President for Europe in 1999 – 2003 and the ITA Executive Committee Member in 2008 – 2011.

Brad Simser

Principal Ground Control Engineer, Sudbury Integrated Nickel Operations, Canada

Brad has worked in ground control/rock mechanics for hard rock mines since 1990: Anglo American from 1990-95 (Witwatersrand basin – Welkom Gold fields); Norandas’ Brunswick Mine lead-zinc-silver 1995-2001; Noranda Technology Centre (2001-03); and in the Sudbury basin for Glencore from 2003 to present.

Dr Jonny Sjoberg

General Manager, Itasca Consultants AB; Adjunct Professor Rock Mechanics and Rock Engineering, Lulea University of Technology, Sweden

Jonny is a principal engineer, and manager of Itasca’s Swedish office. Throughout his career he has worked for several mining and consulting companies in Sweden and the USA on projects dealing with underground and surface mining rock mechanics, civil engineering tunnelling and rock stress measurements. He is also Adjunct Professor, rock mechanics and rock engineering at Luleå University of Technology.

Eduardo Rojas Valdivia

Director Division of Geomecanics, El Teniente, Codelco Chile, Chile

Eduardo Rojas studied Mining Engineering at the Universidad Técnica del Estado; Santiago de Chile and obtained his MSc in Mineral Economy at the Curtin University, Australia. Throughout his carrier, he gathered many years of experience in mining, implementing a geomechanics approach in the design and operation of caving. He has involved in the developed of a control seismicity induced system in the biggest underground mine in hard rock and support systems with a high capacity of dissipation of energy. He has authored many papers of caving mining.

Dr Mike Yao

PhD, PEng, Principal Geotechnical Engineer, Mining Technical Excellence Centre (TEC), Vale Base Metals, Canada

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

Mike’s professional experiences extend to rock mass characterization, mine design, numerical modelling, ground support design, ground control instrumentation and seismic risk management for mining at a great depth.  He was instrumental in developing seismic-resistance ground support systems for two of the deepest mines in the world,: Kidd Creek and Creighton mine.  Currently, Mike is the principal geotechnical engineer for Vale Base Metals and oversees geotechnical aspects for all operations and projects, including hard rock open pit/underground mines as well as Nickel Laterites, supporting the corporate director with the implementation of best practices, and providing support for R&D research projects within Vale Base Metals at a global level.


Professor Weishen Zhu

Shandong University, China



Event Contacts

Josephine Ruddle
Event Manager, Australian Centre for Geomechanics



Candice McLennan
Event Coordinator, Australian Centre for Geomechanics