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consultants society forum

Consulting and Clients in the Future World – Navigating the Changing Landscape

PD Hours

The AusIMM Consultants Society is excited to be hosting a one-day forum on Thursday, 24 October 2024 in Perth following the 2024 Mill Operators Conference. Registration will open soon - read more about this event below.

About this event

With the rapidly changing environment in which consultants and their valued clients operate, it is opportune to engage with industry-leading experts on the theme - 'Consulting and Clients in the Future World – Navigating the Changing Landscape.'

The Forum will commence with a morning session of presentations and a panel discussion on future-facing technologies including robotics, automation, data and reporting systems and the cybersecurity risks introduced by these technologies.

The afternoon session will focus more on the human challenges expected from the changing world we are racing headfirst into. We will consider topics including upskilling management and the workforce in this changing environment, ethics and ESG implications and how consultants can add value in preparing for and navigating the changing landscape. 

An overview of the program for the Forum is provided below, as well as bios of confirmed speakers.

We look forward to seeing you there, hearing from our range of expert presenters, and engaging directly with our experts and members in the two panel discussions.

While this has been many years in the making, notably since 2016, we are looking forward to continuing our engagement and supporting our members.

We are also pleased to announce the Mill Operators Conference will also be supporting the forum, ensuring a valuable continuation of industry insights and networking opportunities.

Program overview




Registration and pre-forum networking


Welcome - Introduction from the Consultants Society Chair, Ms Lisa Park

Morning Session


Keynote 1

Presenter: Ms Phoebe Whattoff


Session 1

Theme: Mining and infrastructure : Drilling automation

Presenter: TBC 



Session 2

Theme: Technology, AI and robotics

Presenter: Mr Paul Hodkiewicz 

Title: ‘Technology and Innovation in the Mining Industry: How Hard Is It?’

Abstract: This talk will present examples of how new data and workflows can deliver better results for the downstream customers of the orebody, in mine planning, operations and processing.


Morning Tea – 30 mins


Session 3

Theme: Info and reporting systems, data quality, digital twinning

Presenter: John Vagenas


Session 4

Theme: Cyber security, data management 

Presenter: Mr Chris Morrissey, Ever Nimble




 Morning Panel

(from morning presenters)


Lookahead – lumps & bumps or smooth sailing?


12h20m -13h20m

Lunch – 1 hour

Afternoon Session




Keynote 2


Presenter: Mr Paul Harper

Title: Dealing with a rapid evolving and complex industry – A consultants’ perspective


Session 5



Session 6

Presenter: Jo Heyes 

Title: TBC


Afternoon Tea – 20 mins


Session 7

Theme: Upskilling management and our workforce

Presenter: Mr Alex Goldrick



Session 8


Theme: Ethics in ESG


Presenter/s: Mr Bruce Harvey / Mr Geoff Deans


Title: 'Can you dig it - Modifying factors and multi-factor risk’

15h40m – 16h40m



Afternoon Panel

(from afternoon presenters)


Clients and consultants


Ethical consulting and value adding – responsibilities vs expectations




Forum Close


Phoebe Whattoff

Country Director, Minviro Australia
Phoebe Whattoff is the Country Director at Minviro Australia and brings a wealth of expertise in life cycle and environmental impact analysis, particularly in the realm of mining and metal projects.

Phoebe is known for her contributions to academia and research, with publications exploring the environmental implications of battery manufacturing and raw material supply chains. Of notable significance is Phoebe's invaluable insights into Li-ion battery cell and pack manufacturing and recycling processes. Her expertise offers invaluable guidance in navigating the complexities of sustainable practices within these critical industries.

Paul Hodkiewicz

Paul has worked as a geoscientist in the mining industry for 35 years across a range of commodities and mineral systems, in exploration, resource development, mining operations, technology development, research, consulting and senior management, with Anglo American, BHP, SRK Consulting, Newmont and Freeport McMoRan.

He completed BSc and MSc degrees in geology and structural geology in the US and a PhD in economic geology at the University of Western Australia. Paul is currently an independent consultant, advisor and mentor based in Perth.

John Vagenas

John is a process engineer with over 20 years’ experience in the mining and minerals industry. He has a Bachelor of Engineering (Hons.) in Industrial Chemistry from UNSW, and has worked as a Company Director since 2006. He is the founder and Managing Director of three prominent industry organisations: Metallurgical Systems, Industrial Sustainability Solutions and Elemental Engineering (founded 2006)—a consulting firm that provides world-leading process simulation and design services to the minerals processing industry.

John is a fellow of the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy (AusIMM) and has also served as an Alternate Director of Austmine (October 2019 – Dec 2023). He supports and contributes to a range of industry events and publications. This has included presenting as keynote speaker for Metplant 2023, on global best practice metallurgical plant design and operating strategies, as well as AusIMM’s 2021 thought-leadership series and 2022 series on technology and decarbonisation.

John’s key areas of expertise include:
- Metallurgical accounting, production reporting and process optimisation: John is a subject matter expert and has consulted globally to some of the world’s most complex mining and minerals processes. He has built and tested hundreds of steady-state and dynamic process simulation models using his extensive knowledge across Ni, Cu, Co, Zn, Au, U, PGM’s, Li, Va to name a few.

- Digital transformation: he has practical and in-depth understanding of the technology challenges faced by the sector and what is required to ensure continued growth and profitability.

- Sustainability/ESG objectives: he has implemented ESG measurement and optimisation solutions for several of the world’s most successful mining and metals organisations and is actively working to fast-tracking the sector’s overall evolution in this area.

- Mining’s skills shortage: he believes strongly in the need to make mining more attractive to the next generation of talented workers, and currently facilitates a range of graduate/mentoring opportunities to support this.

Jo Heyes

Non-Executive Director
A Mining Engineering (Hons) graduate from the University of Leeds, UK, Jo has worked in the mining industry for over 25 years.

Jo has operational expertise in manganese, nickel and iron ore, as well as technical leadership, strategic and studies roles. A considerable portion of Jo’s career has been in mine closure, developing BHP’s global governance processes and standards. This also included a period as the Chair of the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM) Closure working group. Jo’s most recent role was the BHP Global Practice Lead Technical Capability, working on securing a robust talent pipeline of interns through to technical experts in core geoscience and resource engineering disciplines.

Jo is currently a Director of the CoRE Learning Foundation, an organisation focused on the improvement of STEM education engagement and industry pathways, for primary and secondary students she is also a member of the Grant Assessment Panel of the Minerals Research Institute of WA.

She has been actively involved with AusIMM for over 10 years holding various leadership and committee roles including for the Social and Environment Society, Life of Mine conference and the Awards Committee.

Bruce Harvey

Geologist, Social Performance Professional
Bruce has 45 years of worldwide field experience in the resources sector as an exploration geologist and for the past 25 years as a Social Performance professional. He was Global Practice Leader Social Performance at a global minerals company for eight years before early retirement in 2014. Since then, he has provided extensive advice to many resource extractive companies, with a preference for helping secure ESG-related financing and insurance conditionality at projects and operating assets.

He is an Adjunct Professor at the Sustainable Minerals Institute at the University of Queensland and an independent company director. For six years he delivered a course called ‘Leading Sustainable Enterprises’ at the MBA School of the University of Otago in NZ.

Bruce is an active member of the AusIMM. He facilitated the development of the Institute’s Social Responsibility Framework and the Environment and Social Performance competency development tool. He developed and leads delivery of the AusIMM ESG and Social Responsibility Professional Certificate course and the Operationalising ESG course in the Mine Operations course series. He contributed to the Permitting, Environment and Social chapter of the AusIMM Study Processes Handbook.

Geoff Deans

Project Director, Modifying Factors Specialist, Social Performance Professional
Geoff has two decades of hands-on experience, having lived and operated within complex environments to spearhead the assessment, exploration, development, operations and execution of greenfield mining developments, brownfield expansions and large-scale linear infrastructure projects. As an expert in multi-factor risk, he holds a proven record of mitigating project uncertainties and enhancing total project outcomes.

Previously serving as Project Director for the Carrapateena Block Cave Expansion and Growth, as well as holding the role of Principal Advisor for Land Access and the inaugural Group Manager Social Performance at a prominent global minerals corporation, Geoff embarked on his entrepreneurial journey by founding Modifying Factors in 2023. His career is marked by a meticulous approach to evaluating and mitigating the direct, indirect, and cumulative impacts of modifying factors on projects and their stakeholders.

Geoff is a member of the AusIMM, actively contributing to the field by developing and delivering content for the AusIMM ESG and Social Responsibility Professional Certificate program, as well as the Operationalising ESG course within the Mine Operations course series.

Alex Goldrick

Alex is the Founder and Managing Partner of a boutique executive search practice, Goldrick. He is also a technology investor and advisor to varying technology start-up and scale up ventures.

As an executive search consultant with over 20 years of experience servicing clients within heavy industrial market sectors, Alex has extensive experience advising engineering, technical and technology consulting clients around organisational development and leadership talent acquisition.

Date and Time

Thursday, 24 October 2024
8.00am – 5.00pm (UTC+08:00)


Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre



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