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Introducing our 2023 AusIMM Awards recipients

AusIMM Bulletin
· 2000 words, 8 min read

The AusIMM Awards have been recognising contributions to AusIMM and professional excellence in the resources sector for more than 80 years.

Congratulations to all our 2023 recipients and thank you for your service to AusIMM, our industry and our communities. Read more about their inspiring stories and significant contributions below. 

Highest honours

The Institute Medal

The Institute Medal is the most prestigious award and highest honour conferred by AusIMM. It is awarded in recognition of eminent leadership of AusIMM or the resources sector.

Louis Rozman FAusIMM(CP)


Louis is a recognised leader in the resources sector, particularly in small to mid-tier organisations, and has given exceptional service to AusIMM for 25 years. He received a Beryl Jacka Award in 2014.

As an operator, executive and pioneer, he is known for developing projects and growing smaller companies into mid-tier organisations. Noteworthy leadership positions include Chief Operating Officer with Delta Gold/AurionGold, growing to become Australia’s biggest gold producer in 2001, with gold and platinum projects in Australasia and Zimbabwe; and CEO of CH4 Gas Ltd, leading the development of the Moranbah coal seam gas project, a pioneer in CSG in Queensland. In 2006 Louis co-founded the Pacific Road Capital private equity funds along with Paul Espie, here he had a global investment mandate and was on many resource company boards.

Louis was instrumental in revitalising the Sydney Branch in 2008-10; during his time as Chair, attendances at events and membership grew and the Branch increased its relevance to members. Louis has played a mentoring role for subsequent committee members and served on the Committee until 2021.

Louis led the VALMIN Committee from 2009-2021, including the VALMIN Code 2015 revision and developing and facilitating the VALMIN Code Reporting Course in 2021; was Deputy Chair of the JORC Committee for the 1999 and 2004 revisions of the JORC Code and contributed to the 2018 JORC Code Reporting Course and the 2020 JORC Essentials Course; was a member of the Chartered Professional Board from 2005-2009 and took part in AusIMM’s compliance review in 2017-18. He has assisted the selection panel of the Education Endowment Fund Sir Frank Espie/Rio Tinto Leadership Award.

Louis has been a mentor to many and continues that role to this day, his global multi-commodity experience and knowledge have helped others develop their skills and reach their full potential.

President’s Award

The President’s Award may be presented to any senior and influential professional who has made a notable contribution to, or achievement within AusIMM or the resources sector.

Deborah Lord FAusIMM


Deborah Lord has shown notable leadership and achievement in progressing, communicating and upholding the professional standards that underpin our industry.

As an AusIMM Fellow since 2012 and with 30+ years of industry experience, including as Head of Resource Governance at BHP, Deborah brings a strong technical risk and governance focus to assessing and valuing mineral deposits.

Deborah is the current chair of VALMIN, having served on the Committee since 2011. She was a major contributor to the 2015 VALMIN Code update, including negotiating with both ASX and ASIC. Deborah is also participating in the current JORC Code update via the working groups.

She has been a member of the AusIMM Professional Conduct Committee since 2017, highlighting her commitment to promoting and driving continuing professional development.

She has also shared her expertise with industry through co-developing and facilitating the AusIMM VALMIN Code Reporting Short Course.

In addition to her achievements in the professional standards space, Deborah has been a champion for women in mining. She was an early advocate for flexible working arrangements and was a mentor in the International Women in Mining program. Deborah is generous in sharing her thoughts and opinions, providing professional guidance to those who seek it, as well as being called on as an expert in her field.

Deborah continues to play a leadership role in the resources industry as a director of consultancy VRM, non-executive company director of Lunnon Metals and E79 Gold Mines and board member for the Centre of Exploration Targeting at the University of WA.

Honorary Fellowship

Honorary Fellowship recognises exceptional achievement, service or contribution to the resources sector. This grade of membership may be conferred on any senior and influential professional who has performed notable, active and sustained service to AusIMM or made a major contribution to the resources sector. Two members received Honorary Fellowship in 2023.

John (Steve) Hancock (deceased) HonFAusIMM(CP)


Steve Hancock made an exceptional contribution to the resources sector throughout his career. In particular, he was a driving force for the establishment of AusIMM’s Social Licence to Operate (later Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG)) Committee, which led the development of the first-ever Social Responsibility (SR) Framework and Statement by a professional institute in the minerals sector. Without Steve’s drive and enthusiasm, this would never have happened.

Following a career of 48 years, Steve retired from full time work in 2008, but maintained a contract until 2013 to continue to be available to URS (now AECOM) as a Special Consultant. Steve was also a tribunal member for Planning Panels Victoria until 2018. He was concerned that the long-term impacts of projects in relation to ongoing productive land use were seldom addressed, whilst these were the things which materially affected landholders and land custodians. Steve nominated for and was elected to the AusIMM Consultants Society Committee in 2016.

Steve was pivotal in the AusIMM achieving ‘first mover status’ in ESG amongst the world’s professional minerals related associations; he was, in effect, an ESG trail blazer.

Steve’s endless inquiring and passionate, true professionalism drove everybody on the ESG/SR Committee. His wish was for an AusIMM ESG Committee to continue to act on the recommendations coming out of the most recent ESG/SR Forum.

The minerals community at large was saddened to learn of the passing of Stephen Hancock in his hometown of Melbourne in early 2022. AusIMM is privileged to recognise his significant legacy through Honorary Fellowship.

A detailed account of Steve’s life and career can be found in his obituary published by the AusIMM Bulletin.

John Murray HonFAusIMM


John Murray has 40 years’ experience in resources and executive search, and has an international reputation for adding value to companies, projects, and individuals through his expert advice.

John’s career in resources started at Alcoa, where he worked in corporate affairs. This ignited his lifelong interest in addressing mining’s public image challenges and encouraging bright, young talent into the sector.

After several years building a successful career in mining corporates, John set up Swann Global, a specialist mining executive search and advisory firm. Thirty years later, Swann is a truly global business with offices in three continents.

John has been involved with the appointment of key executives (including CEOs) to many of the world’s leading resources companies, as well as mid-tier and smaller organisations. He has advised senior executives and corporate boards not just on the appointment of individuals but also on structure and strategy.

As co-founder of the Melbourne Mining Club, John helped create a respected venue for industry leaders to share their thinking on important issues and for professionals to meet and share ideas.

Now in his eighth decade, John Murray has stepped away from the day-to-day running of the Swann Group, but he shows little sign of slowing down. He is a founding investor and non-executive director of Descycle, which brings together academia and business to find cleaner, greener ways to recover recyclable metals and minerals from e-waste and batteries.

He continues to encourage the mining industry to enhance perceptions of the sector, thereby helping to inspire people from diverse backgrounds to join the industry.

Beryl Jacka Award

This award is named in honour of Beryl Jacka, a stalwart of AusIMM over a period of 40 years and AusIMM Secretary from 1946-76. The award is presented in recognition of extraordinary and sustained service to AusIMM.

Paul Harper FAusIMM


Paul Harper has provided highly-valued service to the AusIMM, with contributions over an extended period of time in multiple leading roles. He has demonstrated his leadership as an AusIMM Director (2010-2014) and as Chair of the Melbourne Branch (2006-2008), Mining Society (2009-2010) and Publications Committee (2011-2014). He has also been an invaluable contributor to a diverse suite of committees including AusIMM’s Awards Committee, ESG-Social Responsibility Committee, and Consultants Society.

Paul has also served and provided guidance to many AusIMM conference committees and has been involved in the delivery of a number of AusIMM short courses, which promotes professional development for a global audience.

Alongside his committee work, Paul has also guided many people with energy and enthusiasm and has also encouraged others to be more actively involved in AusIMM activities. In addition, he has formed succession plans for many of these committees to help the ongoing success of the Institute.

Paul has the ability to think ‘big picture’ and strategically for the benefit of the AusIMM and our industry communities. He has been a long-term contributor to AusIMM and to the resources sector at large and is highly deserving of the prestigious Beryl Jacka Award.

Professional Excellence Awards

These awards recognise professional excellence demonstrated by a resources professional (individual or group) for significant contributions to the development or application of professional knowledge, practice or leadership.

David de Vries FAusIMM


Throughout his career, David de Vries has applied his expertise to the design, construction and commissioning of numerous smelting plants around the world. Smelters are notoriously difficult projects to deliver in terms of time, budget and operating capability.

As one prominent example of his expertise, David led the design, operational readiness, and start-up of a greenfield copper smelter at Kansanshi, Zambia, and continued as the plant manager. The first concentrate was fed to the smelter in March 2015, and the smelter achieved full-scale commercial production less than four months later.  This represents the highest rate achievable when compared with industry benchmarking. In 2018, the smelter treated an annual record of 1.38 million tonnes of concentrate, compared to the name plate capacity of 1.2 mtpa.

It is an outstanding achievement for a complex smelting project, and David’s technical knowledge and leadership skills were key to its success. David’s ability to analyse detailed and complex situations, identify critical issues, communicate effectively, and create an outstanding team culture, to ensure the best possible outcome is a prime example of professional excellence.

David is well-known as a key contributor in smelter projects, and is highly regarded by his peers as a leader in his field.

Professor David Williams FAusIMM


Professor David Williams is a global subject matter expert in tailings and mine waste management and has a passion and commitment to pass on his professional knowledge and experience.

David is Professor and Director of the industry and UQ-funded Geotechnical Engineering Centre at The University of Queensland (UQ), where he has worked for almost 40 years. He also manages the industry-funded Large Open Pit Project. Over the course of his career, he has published over 300 refereed papers, including seven book chapters, over 100 journal articles and over 200 conference papers.

He has attracted research funding of well over $10 million from the Australian Research Council, the Australian Coal Association Research Program and industry, and successfully supervised over 30 Doctoral students and a number of Master’s students.

David is a member of the Australian National Committee on Large Dams (ANCOLD), where his input to assisting the development and updating of the ANCOLD Guidelines on Tailings Dams has made a significant and lasting contribution to maintaining the safety of tailings containment facilities in Australia.

An AusIMM Fellow, David has shared his knowledge for the benefit of others through webinars and keynote lectures at international conferences and chaired the Mine Waste and Tailings Conference in 2018, 2021 and 2023. David initiated in 2020, and largely developed and presents AusIMM’s highly successful Professional Certificate in Tailings Management.

Graeme Miller FAusIMM(CP)


Graeme Miller is a chemical engineer with more than 40 years’ international experience in the operation and design of processing plants and equipment for a variety of metals and minerals. Over the course of his career, he has made a significant contribution to metallurgical knowledge; in particular, the designs he has developed for the hydrometallurgical industry and their implementation are considered leading edge. His concepts have been included in over fifty solvent extraction operations around the world.

Graeme has authored more than eighty technical papers on hydrometallurgy, coal preparation, copper leaching, solvent extraction/electrowinning (SX/EW), and mineral process developments. These papers serve as valuable reference material for professionals around the world and demonstrate his impressive track record of innovation. His published works on these aspects have been reprinted in collections of seminal papers.

Graeme’s designs for the Girilambone Copper SX/EW plant won an Engineers Australia Engineering Excellence Award in 1994, and his design of the Loaded Organic Coalescer and in-settler coalescing medium won the inaugural Egis Consulting Innovations prize in 2000. In addition, the development of the loaded organic coalescing system was short-listed for the AusIMM Operating Technique Award in 2000-01, and the development of the in-settler coalescing medium was accepted for the Eureka prize in 1998. In 2018 he was jointly awarded the silver medal by the SAIMM for best paper of the year.

Jim Torlach Award

This award was created in 2001 in honour of James (Jim) Torlach, a long standing AusIMM member dedicated to the pursuit of health and safety professional excellence. The award recognises AusIMM members who have made outstanding and sustained contributions to the enhancement of health and safety in the industry.

Jolyon (Jol) Jardine MAusIMM


Jol Jardine has a 30-year mining engineering career filled with many examples of developing and embracing creative, practical solutions that help address health and safety challenges in underground environments.

Examples include trialling the MC51 Hardrock miner at Kanmantoo Copper Mine, deep support for intersections using resin filled self-drilling anchors (SDAs), and face support using flexible thin spray in liner. The application of a TSL as part of the ground support cycle ensures safety at the development face. Several papers co-written by Jol and Ben Roache have been accepted for the AusIMM Underground Operators Conference 2023. 

Jol has had a hand in pioneering or adopting a significant number of safety innovations and making them work in operating mines in Australia and Aotearoa (New Zealand) – not just in theory. The projects are at the cutting edge of leading practice, and Jol’s energy and commitment have seen him achieve success. These attributes set Jol apart from others in this field. 

Alongside his innovative approach to safety technology, Jol was one of the founders of SAMERC, who run the annual South Australian Mines Rescue Competition, which helps hone the skills of mines rescue workers to ensure they are prepared should they be called upon. In 2022 the event celebrated its 12th anniversary, and included five South Australian teams plus a team from Newcrest’s Cadia mine in NSW.

New Professional Award

The New Professional Award recognises the contribution by a new professional to the sector through operational, academic, service or other notable achievement.

This award may be presented to any new resources sector professional (generally within six years of graduation, but at the discretion of the Awards Committee).

Jessica Keast AAusIMM


As the Founder, Creator and Organiser of GeoHUG, Jessica Keast has provided a great service for our community to assist with both knowledge building and supporting mental health of resources professionals.

GeoHUG is an initiative that brings geoscientists together to connect and share ideas with the wider geoscience community through webinars and networking. At regular events, GeoHUG features very high-profile speakers from both Australia and around the world, and the initiative has built a large following of professionals. Speakers cover a wide range of topics including technical, social and resource-related presentations.

GeoHUG was initially set up during the COVID-19 pandemic in Sydney but quickly developed a global reach. Jessica recognised that people’s mental health was being severely impacted during the lockdowns and sought to bring joy into people’s lives so GeoHUG also hosts networking events that open with comedians, quiz masters and magicians.

Jessica is also the CEO of CoreSafe® Core Trays and Prospectors Supplies Pty Ltd, and is constantly seeking ways to expand her mind and learn about new things. She is part of the Sydney Business Leaders Group to help her meet like-minded people, take advantage of their mentoring program, and learn from leaders in other industries.

Institute or Resources Sector Service Awards

These awards may be presented to any AusIMM member or to a group of members. They recognise consistent and significant contribution to the ongoing success of AusIMM and/or the resources sector.

Ivy Chen FAusIMM


Ivy Chen is a long-standing AusIMM member and is a great ambassador for the organisation and the resources sector. She has served in various leadership positions for the AusIMM over many years including as a Director, a long-standing committee member and past chair of the Perth Branch, and as a member of both the VALMIN and Ethics Committees.

In particular, Ivy has shown her commitment to advancing professional best practice through her support of and involvement in AusIMM’s online JORC Code Reporting and VALMIN Code Reporting courses. Ivy takes the opportunity to promote the highest standards through her work with VALMIN and the AusIMM to a wide range of stakeholders.

Ivy is also always willing to stand up and be a role model to other professionals. In 2020 she was named in the Women in Mining UK’s biennial 100 Global Inspiration Women in Mining, and was a finalist in the 2020 WA Chamber of Minerals and Energy – Outstanding Women in Resources award.

Ivy also supports the broader community through leadership roles with Multicultural Futures, a non-for-profit organisation supporting migrants and refugees, and Football West.

Bruce Fulton FAusIMM


Bruce Fulton has been an AusIMM member for more than thirty years, and during this time has made significant contributions as a member of the Sydney Branch Committee, including being Chair on two separate  occasions. In particular, he extends the reach of the Branch and opportunities for members by promoting member interaction with neighbouring and kindred groups, such as UNSW, SMEDG and AMEC.

Alongside his role on the Sydney Branch, Bruce contributes to the resources sector through his roles as a long standing member of the Advisory Board of the UNSW School of Mineral and Resource Engineering and the Association of Mining and Exploration Companies (AMEC), where he is currently serving as the NSW Chair and a National Vice President.

Bruce has a passion for supporting and mentoring students and young professionals as they embark on their careers and his efforts in this space are highly regarded. 

He is passionate about AusIMM, promoting it at every opportunity and provides regular counsel and advice to AusIMM members and the Board and Executive of the AusIMM. He is a regular attendee at AusIMM Congress and other AusIMM and WIMnet events and activities.

Richard Schodde MAusIMM


Richard Schodde is a respected professional who has wide variety of experience within the international resources industry.

Richard is a long-standing committee member of the AusIMM Melbourne Branch (2008-present), an enthusiastic member of the Melbourne Mining Club, and served for nearly a decade on AusIMM’s Heritage Committee (2011-2020).

Richard has been instrumental in helping shape the Melbourne Branch’s technical events, and the Branch and members have benefited from Richard’s involvement through the high standard of speakers he has been able to help attract to its events.

Richard selflessly gives of his time for the betterment and future wellbeing of the resources industry, and he is particularly focused on developing and shaping future generations of mining leadership. He is willing to lend a hand to others, providing advice, guidance and information on the status of the industry.

Richard has published several papers on exploration performance and is internationally recognised by his peers as a leader in mineral economics. He further contributes to professional best practice through his role on the editorial board for the Journal of Resource Policy.

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