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Alumni Innovator Series: Innovation, Safety and the Future of Mining

Join us at the Alumni Innovator Series: Innovation, Safety and the Future of Mining on Wednesday 31 May 2017 at our Bentley Campus.

We are honoured to have four prominent alumni lead this conversation and share their expert knowledge:

  • Mr Neil Warburton (Master of Ceremonies), Executive Chairman at White Rivers Exploration
  • Mr Greg Lilleyman, Director of Operations at Fortescue Metals Group
  • Dr Vanessa Guthrie, Chairman of the Minerals Council of Australia
  • Mr Steve Durkin, Managing Director at Safescape.

Following individual presentations focusing on innovation, safety, policy and leadership within the industry, our expert panel will discuss the future of mining in our great state and respond to questions from the audience.

The first step in looking forward is engaging in the conversation, so please register to join us at this exciting event.


Event details

DATE Wednesday 31 May 2017

6pm - 6.30pm: Registration and light refreshments
6.30pm - 7.30pm: Presentations and panel discussion
7.30pm - 8pm: Light refreshments


John Curtin Gallery Foyer
Building 200A, Curtin University
Bentley WA 6102


Parking is available in D3 carpark


$15 (includes refreshments)


By Wednesday 24 May 2017


Register now

About the speakers

Neil Warburton

Neil Warburton
Mr Warburton has worked within the mining industry his entire career in roles ranging from underground miner through to senior mining engineer to executive directorships managing large mining and contracting companies. He has over 35 years of experience in all areas of mining operations. Over the period 2000-2012, Mr Warburton held senior positions with Barminco Limited culminating in being the Chief Executive Officer from August 2007 to March 2012. He successfully grew Barminco into Australia and West Africa's largest underground hard rock mining contractor with annual revenues of more than Aus$800m. Prior to joining Barminco, Mr Warburton held several senior corporate positions, this included serving as Managing Director of Coolgardie Gold NL from 1990 to 1995. Mr Warburton started his career with Western Mining Corporation as a graduate mining engineer and progressed to Manager of Underground Operations.

Mr Warburton is a graduate from the Western Australia School of Mines with an Associate Degree in Mining Engineering. He is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (FAICD), Member of the Australian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy (MAusIMM), Chairman of the Australian Mining and Prospectors Hall of Fame Foundation, Councillor of the Western Australian School of Mines Alumni association and serves as a director on a number of smaller private companies. He currently serves as a Non-Executive Director of ASX listed Australian Mines Limited, Independence Group Limited and Flinders Mines Limited.

Neil is married to wife Rebecca, lives in Perth, Western Australia and has five children. His main interest’s outside of the mining industry are open water swimming, horse racing and enjoying a good glass of red.


Greg Lilleyman

Mr Lilleyman joined Fortescue in January 2017 with over 28 years' experience in the mining sector. Mr Lilleyman brings a wealth of industry knowledge with a personal style and approach strongly aligned with Fortescue's values and culture. His extensive experience in leading safety and operational excellence combined with his thorough knowledge and passion for technology and innovation provides for further development of Fortescue's strong operational and cost performance.


Vanessa Guthrie

Dr Vanessa Guthrie is a highly accomplished Executive and Director with a career spanning thirty years in the resources sector in diverse roles such as operations, environment, community and indigenous affairs, corporate development and sustainability. Vanessa has qualifications in geology, environment, law and business management including a PhD in Geology. She was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Science from Curtin University in 2017 for her contribution to sustainability, innovation and policy leadership in the resources industry.

Vanessa was the MD & CEO of ASX-listed Toro Energy, and is currently Chair of the Minerals Council of Australia, Deputy Chair of the WACA and a Director of the ABC. She is an active member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and Chief Executive Women (CEW), and a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (ATSE).

In 2013, Vanessa was recognised by the mining industry as the Outstanding Professional Woman from the WA Chamber of Minerals and Energy and was recognised as one of the world's Top 100 list of inspirational women in mining globally.


Steve Durkin

Steve Durkin
Steve Durkin graduated with a Bachelor of Engineering in Mining Engineering from the Western Australian School of Mines in 2001. Steve has worked hands on at more than 40 mines in Australasia and managed projects at dozens more. Steve has significant experience in narrow vein underground mining and tunneling. He started Safescape to develop and market the Laddertube fully enclosed non metallic ladderway concept. Safescape is a company focused on practical innovation in the mining industry. Steve's passion for innovation and safety in the industry inspired his invention of Safescape Laddertube. Since launching Safescape in 2010, over 19 kilometres of Safescape Laddertube has been installed in 12 countries.


Register now

Further information

Please note that tickets are non-refundable and non-transferable.

If you have any special requirements to enable you to participate at this event please advise when you RSVP. We will contact you to provide assistance.

For information about disability services at Curtin, please visit