WA Symposium 2021

Geotechnics in Mining & Infrastructure

Guest speakers: Doug Stewart, Ruth Stephenson, Yuxia Hu and James Jung

Registrations have now closed

The Western Australia (WA) Chapter of the Australian Geomechanics Society (AGS) is pleased to announce a one-day symposium titled “Geotechnics in Mining & Infrastructure” which is to be held on 15 October 2021. The symposium will be held as an in-person event in Perth, forming part of the continued program of events organised by the AGS WA Chapter. It aims to keep the engineering industry informed of recent geotechnical advances in mining and infrastructure industries, as well as challenges and opportunities.


Western Australia’s mining and construction industries are currently booming with growing investments in public infrastructure and mining projects. Geotechnical engineering forms a crucial foundation for the success of these industries. This symposium will present overviews of current state of-the-art practices, innovation and new research relating to geotechnical engineering within mining and infrastructure environments.

The symposium will bring together Western Australian professional engineers, researchers, specialist contractors, regulators, educators, and students to share and discuss their experiences in mining and infrastructure geotechnics.

About the guest speakers

Doug Stewart Golder, Member of WSP

“Geotechnical Aspects of the Tonkin Gap Project”

Doug Stewart is a Principal of Golder Associates, with 35 years’ experience as a geotechnical engineer mainly based in Perth, Western Australia. He has worked as the main geotechnical consultant, reviewer or advisor on a large number of major construction projects, including rail tunnels, underground structures, road, rail and public infrastructure, projects on soft soils, high-rise buildings and multi-level basements.

His experience includes 12 years in research/academic roles at The University of Western Australia and University of California, Davis. He has a PhD in Geotechnical Engineering, with his research project on lateral loading of piled bridge abutments due to embankment construction on soft soils funded by Main Roads WA.

Ruth Stephenson Director / Geotechnical Manager, Perth, AMC Consultants Pty Ltd

“Underground Mining Studies”

Ruth has worked in the mining industry since 2003 initially as a geologist, then as a geotechnical engineer since 2006. She spent the first nine years working in underground mines throughout Western Australia. Since 2012 Ruth has worked at AMC as a consulting geotechnical engineer, a role which has taken her further afield and expanded her experience to international projects and open pit mines. Ruth was also active in the local geotechnical community in the role of secretary of the Western Australian Ground Control Group for six years. Ruth is now a director of AMC and manager of the geotechnical group in AMC’s Perth office.

Yuxia Hu Head of Department and Professor, Department of Civil, Environmental and Mining Engineering, The University of Western Australia

“Recycling Building Wastes in Pavement – A Sustainable Resource or an Environmental Concern?”

Prof. Yuxia Hu obtained her PhD degree in 1991 in costal and offshore engineering. After graduation, she has been working in China, Japan and Australia. After she joined the Geomechanics group (later Centre for Offshore Foundation Systems – COFS) at the University of Western Australia (UWA) in 1992, she started to work with Prof. Mark Randolph to develop the LDFE/RITSS (Large Deformation FE/Remeshing and Interpolation Technique with Small Strain model) method for solving soil-foundation interaction problems involving large deformations of soils in offshore applications. The LDFE/RITSS method has been implemented in different commercial software and applied to many offshore soil-structure interaction problems successfully.

Her current research covers two areas: (i) offshore foundations for renewable energy explorations; and (ii) using recycling resources in pavement designs. Prof. Hu has published more than 100 journal and conference papers on improving offshore foundation designs, and corresponding design guidelines. Her contribution to the geotechnical community has been recognised by 2005 IACMAG Junior/Senior Paper Award, 2006 BGA Best Paper Award and 2018 ICE Telford Premium Award. Her research in recycling resources in pavement designs involves collaborations with state government, local governments and pavement engineers to build our sustainable future. Prof. Hu is currently the Head of Department of Civil, Environmental and Mining Engineering at UWA.

James Jung Geotechnical Superintendent, Rio Tinto Iron Ore

“Diamond mining in an Arctic Lake: A21 Ore Body Knowledge and Pit Design Progression”

James is a geologist and geotechnical engineer with 18 years professional experience in the civil and mining geotechnical engineering in the United States, Canada, and is currently based in Western Australia as a geotechnical superintendent for Rio Tinto Iron Ore.

James’ experience includes geologic interpretation, slope monitoring response and operations, construction quality assurance, soil mechanics, rock mechanics, and slope design.

James has a bachelor’s degree in geology and a master’s degree in geological engineering from the Mackay School of Mines, University of Nevada, Reno. James is a registered geologist (P.G.) in the state of UT, USA.


08.30 – 09.00 – Registration
09.00 – 10.45 – Session 1
10.45 – 11.15 – Morning Tea
11.15 – 12.40 – Session 2
12.40 – 13.30 – Lunch
13.30 – 15.15 – Session 3
15.15 – 15.45 – Afternoon Tea
15.45 – 17.10 – Session 4
17.10 – 18.30 – Cocktail drinks


Session 1

Yuxia Hu
Recycling Building Wastes in Pavement – A Sustainable Resource or An Environmental Concern?

Xiaoyu Lin, Yuxia Hu, Colin Leek, Chao Sun, Prabir Sarker
Utilisation of Recycled Soft Plastics for Road Pavements in Western Australia

Francois Heyns
Using Track Formation Management System to Identify, Categorise, and Prioritise Problematic Railway Track Formation Areas

Tony Gourlay & Anthony Chamberlain
Railway Geotechnics

Session 2

James Jung
Diamond Mining in an Arctic Lake: A21 Ore Body Knowledge and Pit Design Progression

Jack Tagg
Geotechnical Investigation and Ground Characterisation for Coastal Mining Infrastructure – A 2021 State of Practice

Ji Wang Lee
Observation of Geotechnical Performance of Civil Assets at Pilbara Mine Sites

Rob Thomas and Ben Broad
The Evolution of the Open Pit Slope Design at Mt Weld Open Pit

Session 3

Presentation from WSP (Platinum Sponsor)

Doug Stewart
Geotechnical Aspects of the Tonkin Gap Project

Babak Hamidi
Ground Improvement by CMC for Tanks in Kwinana

Ken Liew
Design and Construction Challenges of Slope Protection at Existing Howick Street Pedestrian Bridge for PTA Victoria Park Station Upgrade

Session 4

Ruth Stephenson
Underground Mining Studies

David Reid, Andy Fourie, Riccardo Fanni, Kyle Smith Cristina Vulpe, Jinglong Gao, Juan Alaya, Erwin Mmbando, Alexandra Halliday
In situ and Laboratory Characterisation of Tailings – State of Practice, and Areas for Development

Johan Boshoff
The Future of Tailings Engineering – From a Geotechnical Engineering Perspective

Engineers Australia members participating in AGS technical sessions can record attendance on their personal CPD logs. Members should refer to Engineers Australia CPD policy for details on CPD types, requirements and auditing guidelines.