Deep Mining Geoscience

Fundamental research in deep mass mining geoscience is critical to the future of the resources industry as the energy transition increases global demand for minerals.

To address the technical challenges and risks associated with deep mass mining methods, the Deep Mining Geosciences (DMG) Group provides world-class geoscientific insights into all stages of deep mass mining, from discovery to recovery, including the investigation of new ormodified mass mining methods to optimise the extraction of ore reserves and minimise the effects of geohazards.


The anticipated large scale of future mass mines and their deep and harsh mining environments means unforeseen geo-risks could have catastrophic consequences. The mining industry can no longer afford to continue to ‘cut and pasting’ mine-designs that were developed for completely different mining environments. Applying methods beyond their supporting data introduces an unacceptable level of risk into mine design, which could have significant consequences for the industry.

New or modified mass mining methods tailored to optimise the extraction of ore reserves and to minimise the effects of geohazards will avert billions of dollars in unforeseen losses to mining companies and society and enable the mining industry to secure the mineral/metal production to meet the future demand.

Geoscience Characterisation

This project seeks to improve the quantity and quality of geo-data acquisition through the integration and rapid processing of multiple geo-data sources. This data-fusion will serve to improve data utilisation (extract more information) and seek to extract data from new/enabling technologies.

Rock Mass Conditioning

This project concentrates on analysing hydraulic fracturing and monitoring data from several cave mines to understand the conditions and mechanisms through which emplacement effectively alters the rock mass and local stress regime; identifying the geo-impact of various rock mass preconditioning technologies and evaluate their effectiveness in addressing risks at depth; developing effective rock mass conditioning strategies for mitigating deep mining risks; qualifying the influence of temperature and stress on rock mass preconditioning methods.

Deep (Mass) Mining Geo-Risk Management

This project focuses on the identification, quantification, and management of geohazards through back analysis of mine monitoring data to develop/improve tools and methodologies for defining and assessing key geohazards for incorporation into a mine geohazard models; the development of guidelines on methods for incorporating potential geohazards into predictive mine performance models during mine study phases; developing tools for integrating the mine geohazard model with geotechnical monitoring systems and real-time operational databases for effective real-time geohazard management during mine development, operations and closure.

Material Flow in Deep Mass Mines

This project undertakes fundamental, lab-scale studies as well as back- analyse mine flow data, cave propagation monitoring data, and production draw data to investigate the mechanisms of drawzone growth, drawzone interaction, and mass flow under high vertical loads; investigate mechanisms of dilution entry and dilution control; quantify the primary causes of ore reserve losses in modern caves; investigate effective load-shedding, draw strategies; development of integrated, real-time drawpoint monitoring tools to manage the short term drawcontrol and longer term draw strategies.

Mass Mining Method (Design) Improvements

This project is investigating robust mass mining methods to better suit deep underground mass mining; developing a selection of robust performance metrics / criteria to evaluate the pros and cons of mining methods; investigating methods of reducing surface subsidence effects, including the emplacement of in-pit tailings above an active mine; and investigating the combination of hydraulic fracture, rock mass preconditioning with in-situ leaching technologies, to improve ore recoveries, particularly from cave mines.

Group lead

Professor Andre van As
View Andre van As' research profile


Batbayar Batkhuu
View Batbayar Batkhuu's profile

Industry consultation on priority research

Extensive consultation with technical personnel from 18 major mining companies engaged in mass mining identified a range of technical issues that require urgent research attention. DMG research focuses on 6 key areas that encompass the majority of the issues identified by the mining industry and where coordinated collaboration and resources will facilitate the much-needed step change required for deep mass mining design and operations.

Read the Deep Mass Mining White Paper (PDF, 0.9 MB)


Active collaboration with industry partners in all geoscience and mining research areas is critical to the success of the Program. Ideally, each research area should feature experienced research candidates seconded from our partners, as well as industry 'champions' who will facilitate collaboration. Partnerships can take many forms, including:

Formal, long-term partnerships between the Sustainable Minerals Institute and key mining companies designed to meet the industry’s educational and professional development objectives

  • Unconstrained industry collaboration with access to key data
  • Collaboration with key universities, research institutes, and industry experts to ensure the growth of specialist expertise across the industry
  • A pipeline of sustained resources (funding, students, mentors, company champions)
  • Unconstrained publication of key research.


Although the DMG is currently a small group, we have BIG experience in underground geotechnical engineering, having actually worked on underground mines for the better part of our careers, from study phases through to mine closure.

We pride ourselves in having enough practical, real-world experience to provide our clients with solutions that work.

The DMG group has developed a ‘Cave Mining’ professional development program to complement its existing range of professional development courses. These professional development courses aim to provide industry professionals with the fundamental, theoretical knowledge and practical technical skills necessary for undertaking caving studies and operating cave mines.

The courses focus primarily on underground geotechnical engineering, cave geomechanics and cave engineering. However, the fundamental topics (e.g. Geotechnical Core Logging and Rock Mass Characterisation) can also be applied to other mining methods.

Professional development courses are delivered through the Sustainable Minerals Institute’s technology transfer company, JKTech.

See more about JKTech's professional development

Contact us

Get in touch to learn more about our program.

Professor Andre van As

Group Lead, Deep Mining Geoscience

+61 7 3365 5875

The Deep Mining Geoscience group is a research group within the WH Bryan Mining Geology Research Centre (BRC).

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