Dr. Tikou Belem

Dr. Tikou BELEM

Professor of Geomechanics and GeoEnvironmental EngineeringResearch Institute of Mining and Environmental (RIME)Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue (UQAT)

Dr. Tikou Belem is a Professor of Geomechanics and GeoEnvironmental Engineering at the Research Institute of Mining and Environmental (RIME) of the Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue (UQAT). He started working on mine fills since 1998 and accumulate over 24 years of experience in industry-related research on solid mine wastes management, including cementitious materials through underground mine backfilling. Thanks to the proximity of UQAT to the numerous mines in Abitibi-Témiscamingue, Prof. Belem has developed a strong expertise on mining with backfill. He has also served as a specialist external reviewer for some consulting engineering firms. Dr. Belem has contributed to the realization of numerous technical service contracts on mine backfills with almost all the mining companies operating in Quebec and many others internationally (Finland, Mali, Mexico, Sweden). Prof. Belem has also attracted the trust of many engineering consulting firms in Canada and abroad to benefit from his strong expertise on mine backfills.

Concerned with the need to always find practical, reliable, and affordable solutions for the mining operations with backfill, Prof. Belem has largely contributed to the development of physical models simulating the hydro-mechanical properties of backfilled mine stopes at the laboratory scale. Dr. Belem’s work on the backfilling sequencing was awarded the Best paper award at the 23rd World Mining Congress, organized by the Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum (CIM). More recently, Dr. Belem carried out a major research project on the evaluation of the performance of superabsorbent polymers in the management of mine tailings in terms of dehumidification, cemented paste backfill preparation, retention of heavy metals and metalloids, and creation of a barrier layer to water and oxygen.

Since 2003, Prof. Belem has implemented a course on mine backfills whose presentation notes are highly valued by rock mechanics and ground control engineers in the mining industry. This course is given to undergraduate students in mining engineering and to graduate students in mineral engineering at UQAT and Polytechnique Montréal.

Keynote Title:  “Mining with backfill: from the prediction of the required strength of the backfill to its long-term behavior through its placement underground.”

Yure Mladinic , Co-Presenter


Manager Research & Development Copper, Rio Tinto, Australia

Yure Mladinic is Manager Research & Development within Rio Tinto Copper based in Brisbane, Australia. He graduated with an engineering degree from Universidad de Santiago de Chile and obtained an MBA from Vlerick Business School in Belgium.

In his current role he has supported the shaping of the Rio Tinto Copper technology pipeline by accelerating key programmes with a focus on growth and strategic priorities. This has included establishing a partnership with BHP to jointly accelerate the development of tailings dewatering technology.

Yure has over 15 years of experience in the mining industry including JV management and governance, partnerships, technology development, capital projects, mine operations and technical. He is passionate about teamwork, partnering internally and externally, and designing and implementing innovative solutions.

Keynote Title:  “The Tailings Management Consortium, a unique industry collaboration to achieve safe tailings facilities.”


Ingrid Oyarzún, Co-Presenter


Head of Sustainability and Innovation, BHP, Australia

Ingrid Oyarzún is BHP Head of Sustainability Innovation as part of the Global Innovation Team based in Melbourne, Australia. She is a Hydraulic Civil Engineer from Universidad de Chile, with an MBA in Universidad Adolfo Ibañez (Chile) and a Master of Science in Hydrogeologist from Universidad Politecnica de Cataluña (Spain).

Ingrid has 22 years of experience in the mining industry. She led development of BHP’s Long Term Tailings Strategy as part of the BHP Tailings Taskforce team, based in Melbourne, Australia. Previously Ingrid was responsible for the Minerals Americas studies portfolio as Head of Directional Studies, and Project Engineering Manager for the US$3.5B Escondida Desalination Project.

Ingrid participates in several activities with local universities and communities to promote and increase female participation in STEM and mining career pathways, and “inclusion and diversity” initiatives.

Keynote Title:  “The Tailings Management Consortium, a unique industry collaboration to achieve safe tailings facilities.”

Dr. Michel Julien

Michel JULIEN,  P.Eng., MSc, PhD, FEIC, ASC

Vice-President, Environment and Critical Infrastructure for Agnico Eagle Mines Limited (AEM)

 He joined AEM in 2011.  In his current role, he is providing guidance, mentoring and alignment on strategical issues on environmental management, mine waste and water management and site rehabilitation.  Prior joining AEM, he was with Golder Associates Ltd (Golder) between 1990 and 2011 where he was Principal in the field of environmental management in mining.   Dr. Julien has also been involved with University of Toronto since 2012 as Adjunct Professor at the Lassonde Institute of the Civil and Mineral Department.  He has been co-responsible of the course Environmental Management in Mining since 2012.  He is also Director at Large on the Board of the Canadian Dam Association (CDA) since 2021.  Over the years, he has authored or co-authored several articles, publications and presentations in the field of mine waste and water management.

Keynote Title: “Tailings dewatering: a key ingredient in the on-going mining industry transformation”. 

David Machin
David MACHIN , P.Eng(Ont), FIEAust CPEng, RPEQ
Senior Manager Tailings Strategy, Antamina, Peru

David has over 30 years’ experience as a consultant and corporate employee working on a variety of projects in Australia, Europe, South-east Asia, Africa, North and South America. This experience has included; assessment of tailings, waste and operational facilities for corporate governance of tailings facilities and water dams, financial due diligence, mine closure planning, technical feasibility and implementation methodology and schedules; construction management of tailings and water management facilities; design, monitoring, and inspection of tailings and water management facilities; design of soil covers on waste rock spoil piles and tailings facilities; development, costing and implementation of mine closure plans; rehabilitation of acid mine drainage; design and supervision of site investigations for civil geotechnics, hydrogeology and hydrology; evaluation and modelling of potable and process water supplies; hydrological evaluation and design of river diversions and stormwater runoff control measures; evaluation, design, modelling and construction management of sediment and erosion control measures for storm water runoff; and design and installation of automated performance monitoring instrumentation.

Keynote Title:  “Evaluation of commingled tailings and waste rock as an integrated approach to mine waste management – outcomes of a pre-pilot trial”.

Carlos Espinoza Asencios - Co Author


Project executive, Project Management Expert – PMBOK- with experience in the mining and energy sectors. Mechanical Engineer from the Pontificia Universidad Catolica del Peru, with a master’s degree in Control and Automation Engineering from the same university. Fluid Contract Management – EPCM and EPC – for industrial segments, with outstanding results in Quality, Aligned Times and Costs. Comprehensive Management of Management, Engineering, Construction, Procurement, Contracts, Project Control and Permitting. Proven competencies in Strategic and Analytical Thinking, Empathy, Leadership and conflict management. Researcher about witricity  (energy transmission without cables). Professor of the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering.

Carlos Leon Aguilar - Co Author

Carlos Leon AGUILAR

Chemical Engineer, with complementary studies for mining business management. 25 years of experience in the operation and comprehensive management of mining. Experience leading the development of growth strategy considering mine operations, waste rock dumps, concentrator and tailings deposits. Development of studies of the above areas considering multidimensional analysis: technical, economic, environmental, social and permits.  Development of the Tailings Strategy. Implementation of compliance with the GISTM tailings standard. Manager, Tailings Waste Management Technology Study, Commingling. Development of Pre Pilot Plant for the project.  Expert in Concentrator Plants; management of studies and projects focused at optimizing the process conditions and associated costs. Researcher with participation in national and international technical contests as exhibitor, 1st place Perumin Mining Convention 2009, Metallurgical Processes Category. Developer of expert milling systems and information systems.


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