Associated Event

26th International Conference on Paste, Thickened and Filtered Tailings
16–18 April 2024 | Pullman Melbourne on the Park, Melbourne, Australia

Mine Fill Seminar

19 April 2024 | Stradbroke Room, Pullman Melbourne on the Park, Melbourne, Australia

Collaborating Organisation

Backfill has evolved considerably over the last century, particularly with the introduction of cemented paste backfill (CPF) over three decades ago. During this time, CPF has become the most widely utilised type of backfill. It has many advantages, ranging from its speed of delivery and engineered strength to environmental advantages due to placing tailings underground and reducing the size of surface tailings storage facilities.  

This seminar will start by introducing how CPF fits within the both the mining and tailings cycles. From there it will focus on more operationally driven topics, dealing with how to monitor and document a backfill system, how to update a system due to operational changes, as well as analysing case studies on how operations have dealt with these operational changes.     

The objective of this ACG seminar, facilitated by Dr Ryan Veenstra, Newmont Australia, is to bring together backfill specialists, leaders, and operators from around the globe to present a comprehensive learning experience.  

Time Seminar Program*



Welcome and introduction Dr Ryan Veenstra, Newmont


Backfill within the mining cycle Dr Will Bawden, Canada (remote presenter)


Backfill within the tailings cycle Kim Morrison, Newmont, USA (remote presenter)


Dealing with tailings changes Dr Ryan Veenstra




Types of backfill and their uses Tony Grice, AMC Consultants, Canada


Seismics in relation to backfill Dr Matt Helinski, Minefill Services




The backfill quality control system Dr Ryan Veenstra


Using as-built data Dr Ryan Veenstra


Impact of cemented paste fill quality on an operation's quality control program Ben Barsanti, Operational Geotechs




Upgrading an operating underground distribution system Leslie Correia, Paterson & Cooke


Pipeline wear monitoring Glenn MacGregor, ArmorPIPE


Panel discussion



*Program subject to change.

Seminar Facilitator and Presenter

Dr Ryan Veenstra
Global Backfill Specialist

Ryan is Newmont’s global backfill specialist, providing technical and operational expertise and leadership for Newmont’s underground mines. Over the last 15 years, he has been involved in backfill as an academic, consultant, and onsite engineer, and presently coaches and mentors Newmont’s backfill engineers in Australia and the Americas. His expertise and experience cover the entire backfill system with a particular speciality in backfill geomechanics. He has a geological engineering degree from the University of Waterloo and holds a PhD in civil engineering from the University of Toronto.

Seminar Presenters

Ben Barsanti
Operational Geotechs Pty Ltd

Ben has broad mining experience over his 19-year career with exposure to underground and open pit mining and gold and nickel commodities in Western Australia and the Northern Territory. During his career, Ben has gained a variety of geotechnical and backfill experience working for Gold Fields Australia, La Mancha Resources, and Newmont Asia Pacific, as well as for several clients since co-founding Operational Geotechs in 2016. Ben has undertaken backfill feasibility studies, implemented paste fill systems and processes, conducted paste fill optimisation projects and provided operational support. Ben graduated from RMIT University in 2004 with a Bachelor of Engineering (Geological).

Dr Will Bawden

Will received his bachelor and master’s degrees in engineering geology in 1970 and 1972, respectively, and his PhD in rock mechanics in 1980. His career has been focused on hard rock mining geomechanics with a special interest in underground geomechanical mine design. After working for the Noranda mining corporation, Will joined academia and is a professor emeritus in the Lassonde Mineral Engineering program at the University of Toronto. Along with maintaining a personal consulting practice, he is co-founding partner for two companies – Mine Design Technologies and Mine Design Engineering (now RocEng Inc). Will received the rock mechanics award from the strata control committee of the Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum. He is a registered professional engineer in Ontario, a fellow and life member of the Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum, a fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering, and an American Rock Mechanics Association fellow.

Leslie Correia
Senior Project Manager
Paterson & Cooke, Canada

Leslie is a senior project manager at Paterson & Cooke (P&C) Canada and is based in Sudbury, Ontario. His key areas of expertise include the hydraulic, process, and mechanical design of mine backfill plants, slurry pipeline systems, and underground reticulation systems. He is a member of P&C’s Global Backfill Group, having worked extensively on a wide range of backfill projects in Africa and the Americas. Leslie is dedicated to the management of large projects and the detailed design of P&C’s global backfill systems.


Tony Grice
Global Leader – Backfill/Principal Mining Consultant
AMC Consultants, Canada

Tony has over 40 years of broad global experience in mining. This experience spans underground mine production, quarrying, scheduling, planning, and technical computing. He has specialised in mine backfill systems for over 30 years and is a leading expert. He consults on all areas of backfill from selection, design, and implementation through to operational support, technical audits, and training. He is a co-author of two books” Handbook on Mine Fill and Paste & Thickened Tailings: A Guide (3rd edn).

Dr Matt Helinski
Minefill Services

Dr Helinski is a mine backfill engineer with over 12 years’ experience in operations and a PhD in mine backfill geomechanics. During this time he has published eight journal papers on the topic of mine backfill, in Australian academic Category A ranked geotechnical journals, and worked with over 50 different mine backfill operations. Matt was a lead researcher on the ACG’s industry sponsored mine backfill project, “An effective stress approach to mine backfill”.

Glenn MacGregor
Sales and Technical Manager

Glenn is the general manager of sales for Imatech ArmorPIPE™ technologies and has been working in heavy industry for more than 30 years. Since 2005, his focus has been the development and supply of pipe systems for mine backfill and shotcrete transportation and he has worked on projects in Europe, north and central America, Africa and Australia and as such, has become a recognised member of the global backfill community. This work has also included pioneering ArmorSCAN™ backfill pipe surveying services to enable maintainable backfill borehole systems.

Kim Morrison
Senior Director, Global Tailings Management
Newmont Corporation, USA

As founding Chair of the Tailings and Mine Waste Committee of the Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration Inc. (SME), formed in 2020, Kim actively works to raise awareness about responsible tailings management through programs and training. Kim served as the managing editor for the first edition of SME’s Tailings Management Handbook: A Life-Cycle Approach, published in early 2022, and as managing editor for the SME’s recently published Tailings Case Studies: Real-World Lessons in Tailings Management.

For five years, commencing 2019, Kim served as the global function lead for tailings, dams, and heap leach at Newmont’s corporate headquarters in Denver, Colorado, where she was responsible for oversight of this critical infrastructure, including leading the company’s implementation of the Global Industry Standard on Tailings Management (GISTM). Kim also served as the Chair of the Steering Committee for the GeoStable Tailings Consortium, which brings together eight global mining companies to study options to combine tailings and waste rock to create ‘geo-stable’ landforms.