An international mining expert has been appointed as the new chair of Mine Geotechnical Engineering at the University of New South Wales.
Dr Fidelis Suorineni will take up the new position in June.
The role was created last year with the backing of Rio Tinto's Northparkes mine.
At the time the dean of engineering at UNSW, Graham Davies, said that “this is an exciting partnership that will enable us to develop a world-leading research, teaching and training effort in the growing field of underground mining and block caving”.
Head of the UNSW School of Mining Engineering, Bruce Hebblewhite, said Suorineni brings a wealth of international experience and expertise in the area of underground hard rock mining and geotechnical engineering.
“As mines get deeper, the geotechnical challenges of keeping them safe and productive are increasing,” Hebblewhite said.
“We’re excited by this appointment, w
hich represents an important leadership role for our School in further developing our teaching and research capability in this critical area.”
The new chair, Suorineni, has spent the last 14 years working at the Laurentian University in Sudsbury, a major hard rock mining hub in Canada.
He will be furthering development into block cave mining, which has been pioneered in Australia by Rio Tinto at its Northparkes and Argyle mines.
“This is the lowest-cost underground hard rock mining method and is growing worldwide… and there is a significant shortage of people with skills in these areas,” Hebblewhite said.
“We aim to establish a focused and internationally recognised research capability in this area.”
Suorineni will be speaking at the Rapid Development Conference 2013 in August, later this year.