Founder & MD
WA Mining Conference Advisor
2021 SPEAKER BIOGRAPHIES
Over 30 years’ experience as Managing Director / CEO / Chair encompassing start-ups, scale-ups, ASX Listed environments and Group CEO roles. As former CEO of METS Ignited, one of 6 industry Growth centers at the core of the Australian Government Innovation policy Ric played a critical role in the strategic development of the METS Sector innovation strategy & successful implementation of a range of innovation initiatives across Australia and internationally.
His corporate career included C suite leadership roles across mining equipment, mineral processing, infrastructure, B2B industrial and FMCG. With an extensive global network, with particular focus in LATAM and hands on experience at start up, scale up, large corporates and VC worlds; Ric is well poised to work with Founders, Boards and Snr executives to ready organizations for capital raise and hyper accelerated growth.
Dr Alan Bye, Director
Alan has more than 20 years experience in operational and strategic roles in the mining industry focused on the innovation and integration of the value chain. During his career, Alan has worked in 15 countries covering 9 commodities.
Alan was most recently Vice President Technology at BHP, in his global role he was accountable for the execution of major innovation programs across 5 commodity value chains adopting digital and extractive technologies.
Prior to this Alan founded and led the Cooperative Research Centre for Optimising Resource Extraction (CRC ORE) as Chief Executive. CRC ORE is a $100m venture involving 34 partners with the purpose of ‘Transforming Mining to an Advanced Manufacturing Industry’. He was previously, Professor and Director of the Bryan Research Centre at the University of Queensland.
Alan spent 10 years with Anglo American where he held senior operational and executive roles in underground and open pit mines.
Alan has a PhD in mining engineering and is a fellow of the Australian Academy of Technology Science and Engineering (FTSE). He is a Non-executive Director at Scitech and a member of the CSIRO’s Minerals Resources Flagship Advisory Council.
Hon Bill Johnston MLA,
Minister for Mines and Petroleum; Energy;
Western Australian Government
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.
Andrew is a geologist with experience across exploration, mining and research coordination, both in Australia and abroad. He has explored successfully for numerous commodities, including gold, diamonds, nickel and iron ore. Andrew holds a Masters Degree in Geology and an MBA from Deakin University. He is a Director of the CRC Association.
Dr Talitha Santini
University of Western Australia Mining Innovation Network
Talitha Santini is a Senior Lecturer in Environmental Science at the University of Western Australia, and Director of the UWA Mining Innovation Network. She leads a multidisciplinary research program with a major focus on developing new technologies for tailings and wastewater remediation and reuse.
She has worked with numerous mining companies including Alcoa, South32, Rio Tinto, BHP, and AngloGold Ashanti over the last decade to develop and deliver rapid, low-cost strategies for improving environmental outcomes. She is also Director of Santini Environmental Consulting, which provides tailored assessments and advice to major industry clients on tailings remediation, reuse, and closure strategies.
Talitha completed her PhD at UWA, postdoctoral fellowship in Canada, and worked as a Lecturer and Senior Lecturer at the University of Queensland, Brisbane, before returning home to Perth in 2018.
Minerals Council of Australia
Tania Constable PSM, joined the Minerals Council of Australia in July 2018 where she is proud to promote and advocate for a strong, vibrant and innovative minerals industry in Australia.
Prior to this, Tania was Chief Executive Officer of the CO2CRC (Collaborative Research Centre for Greenhouse Gas Technologies) a leading global research organisation testing carbon capture and storage low emission technologies in Australia.
Tania previously worked as chief adviser in the Personal and Retirement Income Division of Treasury, working on tax-related matters and has had a long association with resources and energy, holding various senior executive roles in the Australian Government. Tania had responsibility for policy advice to the Minister for Industry on oil and gas regulation, exploration and development, and sustainable mining activities.
During this time Ms Constable also had the privilege of being the Australian Joint Commissioner and Sunrise Commissioner for Australia and Timor Leste leading joint activities on the development of the Joint Petroleum Development Area and Greater Sunrise Project.
She was awarded the Public Service Medal in 2014 for outstanding public service in the development of Australia’s liquefied natural gas and other resource and energy industries.
Co-founder and Partner
Graeme is a founding partner of VCI which focuses on strategy, organisational architecture and innovation in the resources, energy and associated services sectors.
He has an extensive track record of creating innovative strategic transformation in business. His work has been referenced in the book “The First 11” as a benchmark case study in strategic transformation, and he has been awarded the Curtin Medal for Innovation from the Institution of Civil Engineers in the UK.
Assignments have encompassed CEO level strategic transformation across the resources industry, strategic development for major engineering and services companies, and policy assignments for Universities and Industry bodies.
Graeme holds a Doctor of Philosophy from Imperial College University of London, a First Class honours degree in Engineering from the University of Adelaide, and an MBA from Monash University.
Paul has over 29 years of experience in the Resource sector in process control, engineering & technology, and innovation space. Paul is a former VP of Technology & Innovation for large multi-national gold mining company. Former Founder & CEO of Mine Vision Systems, a 3D spatial technology company. Paul is currently a Director at Unearthed Solutions, former director of mining’s leading innovation supplier and a former Director of METSignited – one of the Australia Federal Government’s innovation growth centres
Director Sandpit Innovation and Founder and Managing Director, ImpRes
Sarah is the founder and Managing Director of ImpRes and founder and Director of Sandpit Innovation. Sarah started her own consulting firm in early 2010, and now has a diverse team working throughout Australia and internationally. The ImpRes team specialises in driving operational improvements across multiple sectors, while Sandpit Innovation is a leader in developing technology and innovation strategy for the resources sector, while also developing leading edge technology and innovation solutions.
Minerals Research Institute of Western Australia (MRIWA)
Before joining the Minerals Research Institute in November 2018, Nicole spent the last 15 years at the Chamber of Minerals and Energy of Western Australia coordinating industry input on a variety of government regulatory and policy issues and facilitating collaboration within the resources sector. Having had responsibility for the policy portfolios economics and tax; infrastructure; environment; land access; exploration; people strategies; workplace health and safety and training enabled Nicole to develop a comprehensive understanding of the challenges being faced by the mining sector. Nicole has completed a Masters of Science in Industrial and Organisational Psychology from UWA and a Masters in Risk Management from UNSW.
Adrian is a global executive with a broad range of industry experience spanning over 20 years. Prior to his current position, Adrian was with ABB as the APAC regional leader for Enterprise Software. Adrian joined ABB to lead the IT/OT integration strategy for mining, including responsibility for both product management and solution strategy of the Intelligent Mining Solution portfolio, and Ellipse Enterprise Asset Management product lines - post ABB’s acquisition of Mincom. Previously Adrian was with General Electric, where as a founding member of GE Mining as the regional executive for Australia, New Zealand and South East Asia.
Adrian’s background is in the supply, installation and commissioning of large electrical drive systems for grinding mill circuits and crushing plants, as well as working in material management technology and in the production and trading of mining chemical reagents. He has practical experience in project delivery, product technology strategy, managing small-scale operations and executive leadership responsibilities across global business units within the world’s largest industrial technology corporations.
With extensive experience in the supply of industrial technology solutions, Adrian is passionate about collaborative transformation, business efficiency, maximizing the performance and effectiveness of operations for the benefit of all stakeholders. Adrian has completed a Master of Business Administration from the University of New England (Australia), is a Fellow of the Institute of Management, and a member of the Society for Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration.
Jacqui Coombes is the Managing Director & CEO of Amira Global.
Formerly with METS Ignited, Jacqui has experience across the mine value chain, commodities, and across the globe.
She is skilled in building collaboration across the industry, government and academia; developing capability of businesses and people; and integrating ideas into systems to add value, improve efficiency and productivity, and maintain momentum for ongoing innovation.
Jacqui also serves as an Independent Director on the Board of ICRAR and the Advisory Board of Start Up WA.
Dr Eleonore Lebre
Research Fellow, Sustainable Minerals Institute, The University of Queensland
Dr Eleonore Lebre is a research fellow at the Sustainable Minerals Institute at the University of Queensland (UQ). She holds a PhD in Industrial Ecology from UQ. Her thesis focuses on circular economy initiatives in the mining industry, following objectives of waste minimization and resource efficiency.
Dr Lebre’s research is multidisciplinary. As part of her current research, she developed a database of Complex Orebodies, meaning orebodies located in complex technical, as well as Environmental, Social and Governance conditions. She works with global data to assess the risks associated with operating mines and new discoveries. Her work connects with topical issues such as tailings dam failures, the low-carbon energy transition and critical metals.
At the Sustainable Minerals Institute, Dr. Lebre contributes to industry research consortia on mining-induced resettlement and the social aspects of mine closure. She brings her expertise to research projects funded by industry partners including Rio Tinto, Newcrest, MMG, and OceanaGold.
Clare is an innovation strategist with expertise in resource sector value chains. Clare is highly skilled in pathway identification to create sustainable enterprise and resilient regions. She has developed resource technology roadmaps, conceptualised and delivered international missions that have led to the expansion and adoption of innovation design, and leads consortium-based industry cluster programs. Clare is at the forefront of the zero-emission innovation agenda including applications for the copper industry, technology solutions for commodity trade and assurance and the diversification of METS to new hydrogen technologies. Clare brings hands on operational experience into strategy development providing entities with innovative and pragmatic solutions.
Clare is a mining engineer (UNSW), holds a Graduate Dip. of Applied Finance and GAICD, is a Churchill Fellow, and has undertaken the Women in Leadership Australia Advanced Leadership Program. She serves on the Advisory Board of the Newcastle Institute of Energy and Resources (NIER) and is Chair of Resources NSW an initiative of the NSW Energy and Resources Knowledge Hub. Clare has worked in both private and public enterprise including international market development at METS Ignited and NSW Govt Trade and Investment. Clare is a strong industry collaborator who enjoys identifying, matching, and applying innovation to the resources and associated sectors, and developing and executing multi-stakeholder initiatives and projects.
Senior Analytics Consultant
Minitab Pty Ltd
Ming Dong is one of only a handful of practitioners across the Asia Pacific Region to be a certified trainer for Minitab’s flagship product, Minitab Statistical Software. The training certification process is the culmination of years of statistical training with real-life application of data analysis in the industry.
Ming’s formal qualifications include an undergraduate degree in Industrial Engineering Management, a Masters of Computer Science from the University of New South Wales, and a Masters of Applied Statistics from Macquarie University. Ming has a unique and profound understanding of the application of statistics in the business world.
In addition, Ming has broad business development experience, developed through his work in senior technical roles for large organisations such as Toshiba, OzEmail and National Computing Systems Singapore. As a university research officer at Macquarie University, he had several papers published in the field of Bioinformatics.
His extensive business development and industry experience are the reason why Ming has been engaged by some of the world’s largest mining, banking and medical devices companies, to provide consulting services in the application of data analysis.
Australian Hydrogen Council
Fiona Simon is the CEO of the Australian Hydrogen Council (AHC), the peak body for the Australian hydrogen industry.
AHC connects the hydrogen industry and its stakeholders in building a secure, clean and resilient energy future based on hydrogen. AHC’s members are from the energy, transport, consulting and technology sectors.
Prior to joining the Australian Hydrogen Council, Fiona worked for close to 20 years in energy policy and regulation, specialising in energy retail competition and consumer protection matters.
Fiona holds a Bachelor of Arts and a Doctor of Philosophy from the University of Melbourne. She has published a well-regarded academic book on retail energy regulation in Australia.
Hon Alannah MacTiernan MLC
Minister for Regional Development; Agriculture and Food; Hydrogen Industry
Alannah MacTiernan is WA’s Minister for Regional Development, Agriculture and Food and Hydrogen Industry.
As Minister for Planning and Infrastructure from 2001 to 2008, Ms MacTiernan was responsible for major projects across the State which required a change of thinking that was more than just building infrastructure but was a whole vision of a networked city, including the Mandurah rail line, the Forrest Highway, the Geraldton port and rail expansion and the Armadale town centre and Champion Lakes developments.
The Minister understands the unique role of government as an enabler of development and is committed to growing economic opportunities in our regional areas as well as bringing WA's agricultural sector into the 21st century through innovation with a focus on long-term planning and investing in research science.
She champions opportunities to support infrastructure development, innovation, accelerate emissions reduction, and create new long term job opportunities, particularly in regional Western Australia.
Since coming to office in 2017, Minister MacTiernan has been instrumental in driving the establishment of a renewable hydrogen industry in Western Australia.
Dr Penny Stewart
Founder and Chief Executive Officer
PETRA Data Science
Penny is a mining engineer and the founder and CEO of mining AI software company PETRA Data Science. Penny worked on mine sites for five years before obtaining her Queensland 1st Class Mine Managers’ Certificate of Competency. It was during her time working in the underground and open pit mines of WA and Tasmania that she learnt how geological uncertainty affects our ability to mine to plan.
This experience led her to PhD studies and formal training in data analysis and modelling, where her she proved the benefits of sites building their own data models instead of relying upon generalised empirical models. In 2015, Penny founded PETRA with the hypothesis that using machine learning to feedback 10s to 100s of millions of tonnes of actual mine performance data to build site-specific operating models enables low cost and long-term mine-to-mill value creation. Five years later PETRA’s flagship product, MAXTA digital twin mine value chain optimisation does exactly that.
Professor Owen Nevin
An experienced senior leader with a demonstrated history of success in higher education and research. Strong education professional skilled in Ecological Restoration, Sustainable Development, Corporate Social Responsibility, Behavioural Ecology, and Environmental Issues.
Senior Automation Consultant
Sandpit Innovation and and Mining Automation Lecturer (SMTafe)
Peta Chirgwin is Owner of Chameleon Mettle Group and currently consulting through Sandpit Innovation, Peta also works as a casual mining automation lecturer at SMTafe whilst completing her Doctorate of Professional studies on Automation in Mine Control rooms.
Peta is passionate about the human element of design when considering implementation and operational readiness for automation and control room operations. Much of Peta’s work is focused on the ‘future worker’ and understanding human factors, skills requirements and behavioural attributes for training and recruitment, in enabling optimisation when working with automation systems.
Peta has a vast skill set with a Master of Management, a Graduate Diploma in OHS and a Bachelor of Business, coupled with 17 years experience in the mining industry in roles ranging from heavy equipment operator, rescue team member, safety superintendent, mine controller, fleet systems specialist, analysis and improvement specialist, business analyst, automation excellence superintendent, lecturer and automation readiness consultant.
Outside of work Peta has been a mentor for WIMARQ and contributed to working groups for GMG, QRC/PWC common skills and RIO Tinto/SMTafe automation skills collaboration. She has volunteered for Scouts Australia and led change through the education of women with The Hunger Project Australia.
WA AustCyber Innovation Hub
A former high school media studies teacher, Simon has brought his love of educating and speaking with others into his role as Project and Engagement Coordinator at the WA AustCyber Innovation Hub. A relative ‘newbie’ to the cyber security industry, Simon developed a keen interest in understanding why people fall for online scams while doing an overseas teaching stint in Dubai. It was this curiosity of social engineering and the ’human factor’ in cyber attacks that led Simon to pursue a career in this industry.
Simon was the architect behind the first employee cyber education program at Water Corporation in 2019 and it was through building his network and knowledge of the mechanisms within the cyber security industry, that he became part of the AustCyber team.
Simon has a bachelor in Communications and a Graduate Diploma in Secondary Education from Edith Cowan University.
General Manager - Social Performace & External Relations
Gold Road Resources
Ms Goddard joined Gold Road in June 2011 and has more than 20 years’ experience in mining, agribusiness and legal.
Ms Goddard’s responsibilities include managing corporate aspects of the organisation, external affairs, native title, marketing and day-to-day operations.
Previously Ms Goddard was Practice Manager for a newly merged Perth law firm Middletons and was instrumental in the fit-out and set-up of the new merged office including implementation of an IT solution, financial and human resources functions and risk and compliance. She has also worked for Wesfarmers as Executive Assistant to the Finance Director and assisted with all investor relations briefings including Annual and Half Yearly Results presentations and roadshows; as well as preparation of national roadshows to analysts, fund managers and shareholders.
Ms Goddard holds a Master of Business Administration, is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and has a Diploma in Financial Markets.
George Zsolt Zombori
With an extensive career focusing on innovative and sustainable energy solutions, facilitating the custom designs of solar based energy efficient solutions George designed in 2011 one of the first Solar PV powered Electric car charging station in Europe. His broad experience in the deployment of renewable energy systems both nationally and across the globe drives Unlimited Energy Australia to expand client horizons in the areas of off grid and grid connected renewable technologies. With qualifications and extensive experience in architecture, solar and off grid design, George provides the Australian renewable energy market with an innovative approach to energy systems and this is evidenced by number of award winning signature projects.
Energy Globe Award, InterSolar Outstanding project Award, European Solar Prize, CEC design and Installation Award, Green Cities Award.
Prof. Ravi Naidu
Managing Director and CEO
CRC for Contamination Assessment and Remediation of the Environment (CRC CARE)
Professor Ravi Naidu is CEO and Managing Director of the Cooperative Research Centre for Contamination Assessment and Remediation of the Environment (CRC CARE), and Global Innovation Chair and Director of the Global Centre for Environmental Remediation at the University of Newcastle, Australia. Prof.
Naidu’s work focuses on the remediation of contaminated soil, water and air, and the potential impacts of contaminants upon environmental and human health at local, national and global levels. Prof. Naidu has been a leader in the move to the now widely accepted ‘riskbased’ approach to managing contaminated sites and in the shift to in situ remediation – cleaning up contamination where it lies, rather than the traditional ‘dig and dump’ approach.
Business Line Manager - Load & Haul
Andrew Dawson was appointed Business Line Manager, Load & Haul in October 2020 and is based in Perth.
Prior to this, Andrew held various roles in Account & Applications Management and Customer Management for Sandvik Australia and Sandvik Canada.
He began his career with a First Class Welder apprenticeship in Australia before moving to Scotland to work in the Oil & Gas industry.
He holds a Commerce degree from Edith Cowan University in Australia.
Sergey is a founder and Managing Director of Qurious Solutions with more than 20 years of experience in IT. He is a former CIO of a large international logistics group of companies. Sergey worked in many roles related to IT infrastructure, networking, ERP, BI implementations.
Blending strong business management skills with a deep technical background, Sergey brings success to the projects with a high level of uncertainty.
His expertise has been applied to mining, oil & gas, financial services, telecommunications, manufacturing, and transport sectors, to name a few.
Sergey’s passion is helping businesses effectively use their data to promote growth and quick adaptation to our constantly changing world.
Dr Aloke Phatak
Centre for Transforming Maintenance through Data Science
Aloke is an engineer-turned-statistician who began his professional career as a rocket scientist, but then discovered statistics. He spent more than 20 years at CSIRO, where he carried out research in applied statistics; worked with a wide range of industries and in diverse areas such as industrial statistics, biomarker discovery, and climate extremes; and developed short courses for practicing engineers and scientists. At Curtin University, he led the development of the undergraduate Data Science major and is currently Associate Director of the ARC Centre for Transforming Maintenance through Data Science.
Independent Board Director
CRC ORE and MinEX
Technology and METS sector advisor in technology transformation, professional services and innovation strategy at the Board level. Founder of Quantum Technology Exchange, Chair- SmartSAT CRC Mining & Energy Advisory Board, formerly Chairman of Raw materials Group & CSA Global.
AROSE (Australian Remote Operations for Space and Earth)
CEO of the industry-led consortium Established to unify Australia’s unique abilities in the space sector and terrestrial remote operations, reinforcing Australia’s place as the trusted supplier of remote operations and asset management. Formerly a Senior Executive Leader in global positions with APC and Schneider Electric.
Director & GM
Fugro Remote & Autonomous Operations
Leading the advancement and roll out of a Fugro’s Remote Operations diversification and Space Technology strategy in Australia. Director of The Australian Space, Automation, AI and Robotics Control complex (SpAARC). Board Director of Australian Remote Operations for Space and Earth (AROSE), former GM of Fugro’s APAC Remote Systems Technology division.
Dr Gretchen Benedix
Curtin University School of Earth and Planetary Sciences
Planetary Scientist, Cosmic Mineralogist and Astro-Geologist. Director of the Space Science and Technology Centre (SSTC) at Curtin University. Board Member at Gravity Discovery Centre. Australian Research Council Future Fellowship using the chemistry, mineralogy, machine learning to understand the formation and evolution of asteroids and other planets.
Ben is a passionate machine learning practitioner with more than 16 years of experience delivering automation and process control solutions to clients in the water and mining sectors. He is an advocate for cloud technologies and is an AWS certified solutions architect and machine learning specialist. Ben combines practical industry experience, strong continuing professional development, and a focus on understanding clients problems to deliver innovative solutions that provide real value.
Over 30 years of overall IT industry experience, which includes 21 years in Mining Domain with 4 years as geologist.
Leon has undertaken business development, consulting, account management and presales roles as well as managed IT/ERP implementation programs and managed IT business units to Implement & maintain ERP systems, CRM/Finance management modules for Automated Fare Collection systems, fleet dispatch system, mining product tracking systems, geological databases, as well as QAQC, marketing, environmental monitoring, OHS, LIMS, and GIS, geological modelling and mine planning systems for natural resource companies covering the value chain from exploration to planning to resource extraction to processing to rail to port to shipping.
Well-developed understanding of account management and presales of business processes in Natural Resources (resource definition, mineral resource management, resource extraction, processing, asset maintenance and reliability, logistics, sales and marketing), Electronic Payment (clearing/settlement, financial management, CRM, card and device management), and Construction/Manufacture (quote to complete, hire fleet), as well as standard business process handled by ERP systems which include procure to pay, asset management, invoice to cash, accounting to reporting, and hire to retire.
Joseph Doleschal Ridnell
Specialist – Industry Competitiveness
The Chamber of Minerals and Energy Western Australia
Joe is an energy and resources professional who has worked across the private sector, government, and industry associations. Joe has been engaged by CME as a Specialist to develop policy and advocacy across strategic industries, including critical minerals, hydrogen, and green steel. Prior to joining CME in May 2021, Joe worked for the Western Australian Agent General in the UK and Europe, working to raise the State’s profile across energy and resources and facilitating G2G and B2B relationships.
Joe started his career in the mining sector in Adelaide before moving to Perth in 2011 to work in Chevron’s public affairs team. In 2017 he moved to the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, managing State and National energy and resources policy and advocacy.
Joe holds a Bachelor of Laws and Legal Practice and Bachelor of International Relations (Hons) from Flinders University, and an MSc in Energy and Resources from UCL.
Chris has over 15 years’ experience implementing and supporting data solutions, passion for using technology to be more efficient and helping organisations enable their digital transformation strategies using healthy data.
During the past 5 years at Talend, Chris has been involved with over 20 data projects across the energy and natural resources industry. With an emphasis on business outcomes, Chris has expertise in IoT, cloud and data quality to deliver trusted insights to make decisions.
As the regional lead for data governance, data quality and self-service business applications for profiling and better understanding data, Michael has been delivering projects in mining, oil and gas, supply chain and logistics, rail and inventory optimisation. He brings over 15 years’ experience in the data sciences and integration space from across Australia and overseas.