To reflect the opportunities presented by the formation of the Production Centres within the Sustainable Minerals Institute, the Advisory Boards for the W. H. Bryan Research Centre (BRC) and the Julius Kruttschnitt Research Centre (JKMRC) have been combined. The combination of these two Centres seeks to bring together the world class processing abilities of the JKMRC, with the similarly world renowned research into Mass Underground Mining and other geological projects within the BRC, and aims toward developing innovative solutions to long standing problems in the mining industry. The combined Advisory Board will provide advice to Professor Rick Valenta and Associate Professor Marcin Ziemski in their roles of Director of BRC and Acting Director of JKMRC, respectively.  The two Centres remain separate entities with their own skill bases and facilities. The representatives of this Advisory Board include academic and industry representatives that span the gamut of the mining industry focusing in the areas of mine geology, mining engineering and mineral processing.  The Advisory board members are as follows.

Peter Forrestal - Retired


Peter Forrestal took on the role of Chairman of the Advisory Board of the Production Centres late in 2015.

Retired since 2013, Peter has had extensive minerals industry experience spanning almost 40 years, in roles ranging from technical exploration and mining geology through to senior management.   During the 15 years prior to his retirement, he held General Manager and Executive General Manager positions in technical development, project evaluation and project development with MIM Holdings Limited and Xstrata Copper.  His work history includes exposure to a range of commodities, principally including copper, lead, zinc, silver and gold, in various locations in Australia, SE Asia, South America, Europe and the Middle East.

Peter was for several years a Minerals Council of Australia representative on the Joint Ore Reserve Committee.  He was also for many years a member of the Advisory Board of the W.H. Bryan Mining and Geology Research Centre.

“The new SMI structure presents opportunities to add significant value by a broadening and deepening of interdisciplinary research collaboration within and between the Julius Kruttschnitt Mineral Research Centre and the W.H. Bryan Mining & Geology Research Centre and with the wider SMI.”

Neville Plint – The University of Queensland

Director of Sustainable Minerals Institute

Professor Neville Plint is the Director of the Sustainable Minerals Institute (SMI) at The University of Queensland (UQ) in Australia.

Neville holds a PhD, MBA (distinction) from the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, and brings extensive leadership experience and a deep understanding of the mining sector having worked for 20 years with Anglo American in South Africa.

Neville’s extensive background focused on delivering improved operational performance on mining sites by developing and implementing new technologies, whilst establishing a global network of research professionals in academic institutes, mining companies and research organisations.


Rick Valenta - The University of Queensland

Director of W.H. Bryan Mining & Geology Research Centre

Professor Rick Valenta leads research aimed at improving the discovery,  mining and processing of hydrothermal ore deposits.  Trained as a geologist, Rick worked for a short time in Petroleum exploration in Western Canada before coming to Australia to complete a PhD on the George Fisher Zn-Pb-Ag deposit in the Mount Isa region.  He then spent 5 years as a lecturer at Monash University in an industry-supported role aimed at developing the science and practice of structural interpretation of geophysical data.  During this period, he was involved in the development of very successful industry training programs and a significant number of publication and software outputs.

Rick then spent 23 years in industry roles including Chief Geologist, Chief Operating Officer, and multiple CEO roles. Companies and exploration teams under his direction have been involved in a significant number of mineral discoveries of copper, uranium and gold, as well as several transformative company transactions.

Rick is a Fellow of the AusIMM, a practising member of the Association of Professional Geologists of Ontario (APGO), a member of the Geological Society of Australia, the Society of Economic Geologists, and the Australian Institute of Company Directors.  He is also the Chair of the Research Committee of the Queensland Exploration Council.

Marcin Ziemski - The University of Queensland

Acting Director of Julius Kruttschnitt Mineral Research Centre

Associate Professor Marcin Ziemski has a broad background in technology, software, energy, process integration and minerals processing. He has lectured at UQ’s department of Mining and Minerals Process Engineering, spent time at JKTech as a mine optimisation specialist, worked in energy trading and industrial energy management across the UK and Europe, and lead research in a variety of energy and emissions projects. Marcin is currently the Acting Director of the Julius Kruttshnitt Mineral Research Centre (JKMRC).

Dan Brooks - Glencore

Tom Cooney - Oceana Gold Corporation

Scott Cowie - PanAust

General Manager Technical Services

Scott is a Chartered Professional (Mining) with the Australian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy with 15 years’ experience in open-pit and underground operations, study management and environmental permitting.  He has held corporate, operational and consulting engineering roles with PanAust, Tetra Tech, Glencore, Xstrata and MIM in Australia, Canada, Turkey and the United Kingdom.

Scott is currently General Manager – Technical Services at PanAust and is responsible for progressing concepts to feasibility studies, environmental impact assessments, life of mine planning, operational improvement programs, tailings storage facility stewardship, and mine closure planning.

Scott holds a Bachelor of Engineering (Mining) from the University of Queensland, a Bachelor of Laws from Queensland University of Technology and is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Barun Gorain – Barrick Gold Corporation

Director – Strategic Technology Solutions

Dr Barun Gorain has more than 25 years’ experience in processing plant operations, capital growth projects and technology management with a focus on operational excellence and improving project economics.  He is presently working as a Director of Strategic Technology Solutions for Barrick Gold’s corporate office in Toronto focusing on operations & projects optimization, technology transfer & breakthroughs for integrating the mining value chain.  Previously, he served as a Group Leader at Cominco (now Teck) in BC, Canada and also worked for Coal India and Hindustan Zinc (now Vedanta). Barun has a PhD in Metallurgical Engineering from JKMRC (The University of Queensland) in Australia and a first class B. Tech degree in Mineral Engineering from Indian School of Mines. 

Barun now serves in the steering committee of Canadian Mining Innovation Council (CMIC). He has participated as an invited speaker in various international forums and has made several contributions to books, journals, conferences focusing on industrial applications. He has several patents, and his AMBS technology is commercially used by Antofagasta Minerals in Chile and Barrick Gold.

Barun's goal is to be a leader in developing the next generation of mining that is highly profitable yet sustainable involving innovative stakeholder engagement, technology and business models with a sole focus on making this world a better place to live.

Myles Johnston - Oz Minerals

General Manager Operations, Carrapateena Project

Myles has worked in the mining industry for almost 3 decades since graduating from The University of Queensland with a BSc (Hons) majoring in geology in 1986. He has worked for a number of major mining companies in Australia including BHP, Newcrest, Mount Isa Mines and MMG in a range of roles from exploration through technical operational support and direct operational management. 

Myles has spent 15 years working in NW Qld with MIM/Xstrata/Glencore in a variety of senior technical roles including the Chief Geologist for both the copper and lead zinc streams. He was responsible for the Xstrata Copper Strategic Planning group that coordinated the successful Ernest Henry Mine (EHM) Underground Feasibility study leading to Board approval in 2009. He was then appointed to the EHM General Manager role and Site Senior Executive in 2010 and was responsible for all ongoing operations and the execution of the construction project to build the new EHM underground SLC mine. That project was successfully completed in early 2014.

In January 2016 Myles was appointed Chief Operating Officer of emerging copper producer Lighthouse Minerals/Capricorn Copper and more recently, General Manager Operations Carrapateena Project, at Oz Minerals.  

Colin Moorhead - Merdeka Gold

Chief Executive Officer

Colin has worked in exploration and mining for almost 3 decades since graduating from the University of Melbourne with a BSc (Hons) majoring in geology and geophysics in 1987. Most of his career was spent with Newcrest Mining Limited where amongst other roles he was Chief Geologist for periods at Telfer (WA), Cadia (NSW) and Gosowong (Indonesia) mines before returning to Melbourne in 2006  as General Manager Technical Services for the Newcrest Group. In 2008 Colin was appointed Executive General Manager Minerals responsible for global exploration, mining geology, resources and reserves governance and orebody knowledge. Colin left Newcrest in August 2015 and in January 2016 was appointed Chief Executive Officer of emerging Indonesian gold producer PT Merdeka Copper Gold, Tbk. (IDX:MDKA). Colin was recently appointed as Non-Executive Chairman of Finders Resources Limited (ASX:FND).

Colin is the current President of the Australian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy (AusIMM). He is also a Graduate of Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) and a graduate of Harvard Business School, Advanced Management Programme (AMP).

Brigitte Seaman - Newcrest

Ian Sheppard - Aeris Resources

Chief Operating Officer

Ian Sheppard is a mining engineer with more than 30 years’ experience in mine operations, technical studies and business development gained in gold, base metals and iron ore. His experience includes both underground and open pit mining.

Ian has worked in Australia, Canada, Papua New Guinea and been involved with mines in Laos and Indonesia. His current role is the Chief Operating Officer for Aeris Resources, a small copper mining company based in Brisbane. Previously he held General Manager Roles with Norton Gold Fields Limited and PanAust Limited and more than seven years with Ok Tedi Mining in Papua New Guinea as General Manager and Executive Manager with responsibility for operations, technical services, business development and exploration. Mine management experience was at Mount Isa Mines in Queensland and the Kalgoorlie region in Western Australia.

Ian holds a degree in Mining Engineering from the University of New South Wales, a Masters in Mineral Economics from Curtin University of Technology, as well as a First Class Mine Managers Certificate from Western Australia. He is a member of the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy.

Natascha Viljoen - Anglo American

Group Head Processing

Natascha is responsible for Group Processing a function which provides specialist technical support and service for safe and sustained operational performance, optimises resource and capital utilisation through people, process, and plant enhancements, and realises value from our endowment through implementation of step change technologies and processes.
Natascha holds a Metallurgical Engineering degree from North West University (University of Potchefstroom) in South Africa and an Executive MBA from the University of Cape Town (Cum Laude).  She serves on advisory boards at the University of Cape Town, Stellenbosch, Pretoria and the Production Centres of Julius Kruttschnitt Mineral Research Centre and W.H. Bryan Mining & Geology Research Centre at The University of Queensland in Brisbane. Natascha previously held a non-executive position on the Kumba Board.
Natascha's experience stretches globally across most commodities and disciplines in the mining industry including Sustainability, Mining, Processing, Marketing, Strategy Development and External Relations & Communications.  Prior to her role at Anglo American her career developed through roles held at ISCOR, Anglo Gold, Anglo Platinum, Samancor Chrome, BHPBilliton and Lonmin.  Most of these roles were in operations with the last 4 years being technically focused.