Keynote speakers

Bill Johnston

Bill Johnston

Western Australia’s Minister for Mines and Petroleum, Energy and Industrial Relations

He has been a Minister for the McGowan Labor Government since March 2017, after a landslide victory against the Liberal Government. 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.


Dr Ian Runge

Dr Ian Runge

Founder, RPMGlobal Holdings Limited
Adjunct Professor and Industry Fellow, University of Queensland

Ian Runge is a mining engineer and economist and the founder of RPMGlobal (previously: Runge Limited) – one of the world’s largest mining technology services companies, founded in 1977 and listed on the Australian Stock Exchange in 2008. Ian Runge was the original designer and developer of software programs for mine scheduling (XPAC), budgeting (XERAS), and equipment selection (TALPAC, and others) which are now industry standards throughout the world. He has personally been involved in the evaluation of, and design and development of mines throughout Australia, Africa, and the Americas, and in the economic evaluation of scores of other mines and projects.

Ian Runge is probably best known for his contributions in economics. He has written, presented, and had published more than 35 papers and two books on the subject. His best known book and one of the world’s biggest selling mining textbooks is titled Mining Economics and Strategy, first published in 1998. His second book, published in 2000 is entitled Capital and Uncertainty, and examines how large economic decisions such as the decision to start up a new mine, are made. Ian Runge is also the author of the section: Economic Principles for Decision Making in the recently published new edition of the “SME Mining Engineering Handbook.”

Ian Runge holds a Masters Degree in Mining Engineering from the University of Queensland, and a PhD in Economics from George Mason University, Virginia, USA. He is a Fellow of the AusIMM and past Chairman of the Southern Queensland Branch, and a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. He retired from the board of RPMGlobal in 2018.


Cuthbert Musingwini

Professor Cuthbert Musingwini

School of Mining Engineering, University of the Witwatersrand

Cuthbert is a Professor and Head of School of Mining Engineering at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa. He holds BSc (honours), MSc and PhD degrees in Mining Engineering. He lectures at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels in Optimisation in Mine Planning and Mine Financial Valuation. He has over 20 years of mining engineering experience spread across mine production management and planning, consulting and academia. He was previously an associate consultant for MineQuest and Venmyn (now Venmyn Deloitte) which, are two South African consultancy companies specialising in mineral project valuation and mining business optimisation. Cuthbert is a Past President of the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy (SAIMM), a Fellow of the SAIMM and is a registered professional mining engineer with the Engineering Council of South Africa (ECSA). He is also a member of the international Society of Mining Professors (SOMP). Cuthbert serves as a Managing Editor of the International Journal of Mining, Reclamation and Environment published by the Taylor and Francis Group and is a member of Editorial Board of the Journal of the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy. He serves on the International Organising Committee for the Mine Planning and Equipment Selection (MPES) conference since 2012. In 2015, he served as the Chairperson of MPES 2015 when South Africa had the privilege of hosting the conference. He has extensively published and presented technical papers both locally and internationally.


Peter Dowd

Professor Peter Dowd

Mining Engineering, University of Adelaide

Peter’s research interests are in geostatistical modelling and prediction in mineral resource, petroleum reservoir, geothermal and environmental applications; geological modelling and mathematical geology; stochastic modelling and quantified risk assessment in natural resource applications; and optimisation of mining processes. He has worked as an academic at the University of Leeds in the UK and the University of Adelaide and, over the past 20 years, has occupied senior executive positions in both institutions. He is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering and has been named one of Australia’s 100 most influential engineers by the Institution of Engineers Australia. In 2016 he was awarded the Krumbein Medal by the International Association for the Mathematical Geosciences – the highest honour for career achievement and distinction in the application of mathematics in the earth sciences. He is currently Professor of Mining Engineering at the University of Adelaide.


Zhenqi Hu

Professor Zhenqi Hu

China University of Mining and Technology

Dr. Zhenqi Hu is a Professor of China University of Mining and Technology. His major research interests are land reclamation and ecological restoration, mining environment, application of 3S (RS, GPS and GIS) in land and environmental science, land use and management.

Professor Hu got his Ph.D. from China University of Mining and Technology in 1991. He ever studied in Mining Engineering Department of Southern Illinois University at Carbondale as a joint training Ph.D. candidate between USA and China for his doctorate research on land reclamation from February 1989 to May 1991. He had one year research experience in the field of contaminated land reclamation at Camborne School of Mines, University of Exeter, UK as an Honorary Research Fellow, supported by the Royal Society of UK from September 1996 to September 1997. Now he is the director of Engineering Research Center of Mining Environment and Ecological Safety of Ministry of Education of China and the director of Institute of Land Reclamation and Ecological Restoration, China University of Mining and Technology (Beijing).

He is a member of Coordinating Committee of International Affiliation of Land Reclamationists (representative of China), managing editor of the International Journal of Mining, Reclamation and Environment and director of land reclamation professional committee of China Coal Society. He got ASMR (American Society of Mining and Reclamation) Award of Research of the Year in 2009 and “Pioneer in Reclamation” in 2018.


Jack Chaston

Jack Chaston

Fortescue Metal Group

A Mining Engineer graduate from WASM, Jack is the Autonomous Mining Systems Superintendent at Fortescue Metal Group’s Cloudbreak mine. He has been involved in equipment automation for over 5 years across multiple mines, experiencing the full life cycle of system development, testing, deployment and transition to operations. Jack is currently leading a team of highly skilled mining professionals responsible for the ongoing expansion of autonomous trucks and other mining technology on site. Outside of work Jack is an avid offshore sailor, having recently competed in his fourth Sydney to Hobart yacht race and is now in preparation for this year’s event.