Keynote Speakers

Our Technical Program Committee have secured an impressive and diverse line-up of Keynote Speakers for AEGC 2023 who will be speaking on thought provoking topics related to our principle conference theme of Geoscience – Breaking New Ground with a focus on Petroleum, Minerals and Near-Surface. 

Read more about them below.

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Dr. Teresa Ubide Garralda,
Associate Professor in Igneous Petrology/Volcanology – University of Queensland


Teresa is an Associate Professor in Igneous Petrology/Volcanology at The University of Queensland. She is passionate about understanding how volcanoes work and what causes them to erupt, or accumulate metals that are critical for our sustainable future. Originally from San Sebastian (Spain), Teresa joined UQ’s School of Earth and Environmental Sciences as a Lecturer in July 2016, after completing her PhD in Spain (December 2013) and holding a research fellowship at Trinity College Dublin (2014-2016, Ireland). She is an advocate for women in science and chaired the Dorothy Hill Women in Earth Sciences Symposium in 2017 and 2019 (UQ). She is co-founder (2020) and Vice-President of the network for Women in Earth and Environmental Sciences in Australasia (WOMEESA).

Presentation title: Women in Geoscience – fixing the Leaky Pipeline

Michelle Thomas
Global Practice Lead Geophysics – BHP



As Global Practice Lead for Geophysics in the Resource Center of Excellence at BHP, Michelle is responsible for connecting geophysics technical excellence and capability across BHPs global value chain, today and into the future.

Michelle joined the mining sector early in 2021 following a 22-year career in the petroleum industry.   With BHP and Hess corporation, Michelle’s career has spanned functional geophysics from exploration to production, as well as international exploration and innovation leadership, most recently as Head of Gulf of Mexico Exploration and as Head of Petroleum Innovation for BHP. 

The petroleum and mining sectors share a common need to understand the Earth but have evolved along distinctly different paths.  Michelle’s breadth of experience in petroleum coupled with knowledge across the mining value chain give her a unique perspective on the intersection of geophysics and business challenges along with an ability to leverage the strengths of both industries.

Michelle holds a BA(hons) in Earth Sciences from the University of Cambridge and a Master of Science in Petroleum Geology from the Institut Français du Pétrole (IFP) in France.  

Presentation theme: More than Ore: The future of geophysics in mining

Greg Walker
Chief Geophysicist – Newmont



Greg Walker has over 35 years’ experience as an exploration geophysicist, living and working on 5 continents. After graduating from the University of Sydney in 1985, he commenced his career at the Bureau of Mineral Resources in Canberra, then subsequently worked for Aberfoyle Resources as Senior Geophysicist. In 1995 Greg joined BHP, where he held several roles spanning 18 years in South Africa, Australia, Russia and Singapore. He is currently Chief Geophysicist at Newmont Corporation based in Denver, where he is responsible for the technology portfolio and leading the global geophysics team.

Presentation theme: Geophysics at Newmont – Past, Present and Future

Click here to discover more about Greg

Prof Tariq A. Alkhalifah
Professor in the Physical Sciences and Engineering Division at KAUST

Jon Cocker 
Manager of Geophysics at Beach Energy

Sandeep Chandola
Head (Geophysics) at PETRONAS Exploration







Tariq A. Alkhalifah is a professor in the Physical Sciences and Engineering Division. He joined KAUST in June 2009. Before he joined KAUST, Alkhalifah was research professor and director of the Oil and Gas Research Institute at King Abdulaziz City for Science & Technology (KACST). Previously, he held the positions of associate research professor, assistant research professor, and research assistant at KACST. From 1996 to 1998, Alkhalifah served as a postdoctoral researcher for the Stanford Exploration Project at Stanford University, United States. He received the J. Clarence Karcher Award from the Society of Exploration Geophysicists (SEG) and the Conrad Schlumberger Award from the European Association for Geoscientists & Engineers (EAGE) in 2003, and honorary lecturer for the SEG in 2011. Alkhalifah is a member of SEG and of EAGE. Alkhalifah received his doctoral degree in geophysics and his master’s degree in geophysical engineering, both from the Colorado School of Mines, United States. He holds a bachelor’s degree in geophysics from King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals, Saudi Arabia.

Presentation theme: A newparadigm for seismic data processing using machine learning



Jon Cocker is the Manager of Geophysics at Beach Energy. He started his working life as a Mathematics Teacher before switching to Geophysics, gaining a M.Sc. in Geophysics from Curtin University in 1998. Jons’ oil and gas career began as a data processing and QI geophysicist at WAPET in Perth, prior to moving to the US in 2001 with Chevron, returning to Australia in 2017. Throughout his career Jon has had a particular interest in testing new acquisition and processing technology and optimising seismic acquisition design to improve seismic data quality while minimising the impact on the environment and stakeholders.

Presentation theme: A seismic source field trial in the Bass Strait: testing the impact of several different source configurations on geophysical quality, received sound and direct impact on scallops and lobsters


Sandeep is currently leading a team of 130+ geophysicists supporting the exploration, development and new energy business in PETRONAS. He has spent more than 37 years in the oil & gas industry in various technical and leadership roles. Sandeep has championed the deployment of cutting-edge geophysical technologies globally for PETRONAS and led strategic talent development initiatives. He is an IPTC board member, SEG’s APAC chair, recipient of the National Petroleum Management Award (India), SEG Honorary Lecturer (2014) and a candidate for Director at Large (2022). Sandeep works actively to promote diversity, equity and inclusion.

Dr Victorien Paumard
Research Fellow at the Centre for Energy Geoscience (The University of Western Australia)


Victorien Paumard is currently a Research Fellow at the Centre for Energy Geoscience, University of Western Australia, specializing on the characterization of siliciclastic and carbonate systems using seismic stratigraphy and seismic geomorphology. He graduated with a PhD in Basin Analysis and Seismic Stratigraphy from the University of Western Australia. He is now a principal investigator for the Quantitative Seismic Stratigraphy and Reservoir Analogues research consortiums at UWA. His research interests are focused on the development of quantitative methods to build 3D seismic and sequence stratigraphic frameworks to better understand the controls on the architecture of sedimentary margins. He is also interested in the geomorphologic characterization of modern deltas and the reconstruction of submerged paleolandscapes with implications for underwater cultural heritage.

Presentation theme: Shelf-to-basin sediment transfer mechanisms in contrasted tectonic settings: Insights from quantitative 3D seismic stratigraphy

Click here to discover more about Victorien

Dr Erdinc Saygin
Principal research scientist at the Deep Earth Imaging, Future Science Platform of CSIRO

Dr Jan Francke 
International Groundradar Consulting Inc, PhD

Mr Ashley Grant
Superintendent Geophysics & Geochemistry, BHP’s Western Australian Iron Ore








Erdinc Saygin is a principal research scientist at the Deep Earth Imaging, Future Science Platform of CSIRO. In this role, he leads a group of early-career research fellows, conducting research in various sub-fields of computational and observational seismology. He has designed several scientific field campaigns to deploy and operate seismic instrumentation across Australia and Indonesia to characterise the Earth’s crustal structure. 
His current research interests span developing and applying new seismic methods to interrogating large seismic datasets using novel approaches. The outcomes of his work aim to improve the understanding of the Earth’s structure using advanced geophysical data and model inference methods for applications ranging from mineral exploration to subsurface greenhouse abatement. 

Presentation theme: Applications of Passive Seismic Imaging & Monitoring Across Scales.


Dr. Jan Francke has spent the entirety of his 32 year career in geophysics on a quest to understand where ground penetrating radar works. He runs Groundradar Inc, which designs and deploys custom GPR systems for mineral exploration, as well as Geolitix, a cloud-based GPR and geophysics processing platform. He has worked in 108 countries, and holds a BSc, MSc and PhD all in GPR-related geophysics.

Presentation theme: State of the art in near-surface geophysics


Ashley Grant has 20 years of experience in geophysics applied across a range of applications in exploration, mining, petroleum, and in the near surface.   He joined BHP in 2009 and enjoys leading a diverse team of geophysicists, geochemists and geo-data scientists who are focused on delivering innovative solutions to meet our business needs across mining life cycle.  

Ashley has an Honours degree in geophysics from Monash University.  He is passionate about driving the development of new technologies and innovation, and progressing the use and geophysics, advance sensing and data science to exploration and mining.   He led the team that developed the first log-while-drilling (LWD) tool for exploration and mining reverse circulation drilling and run the first 3D seismic-while-drilling experiment of the imaging of shallow bedded iron ore in the Pilbara.

Presentation theme: Near Surface Geophysics in the Mining Life Cycle

Dr Adrian McCallum
Discipline Lead for Engineering at University of the Sunshine Coast


Dr Adrian McCallum serves as Discipline Lead for Engineering at University of the Sunshine Coast. He holds a PhD from the Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge and additional degrees in oceanography, meteorology, and civil engineering. He served for twenty years across the Australian Defence Force in numerous diverse roles, and he is fortunate to have led or participated in adventurous scientific expeditions to many far-flung locations including Svalbard, Greenland, across the Arctic and Antarctica, and to the Himalaya and the ice caps of Patagonia. In 2002 he was awarded the Australian Centenary Medal for his stewardship of the 2001 Australian Army Centenary Everest Expedition, and he is a Menzies Scholar and previous Director of the Menzies Foundation.

Presentation theme: Geophysics in the Antarctic: reflections and futures

Click here to discover more about Adrian



Bert De Waele
Principal Geologist – Fortescue Metals Group

Simon Marshall
Chief Geochemist, Newmont Corporation


Bert is a Structural Geologist, currently working in the Global Project Generation team at Fortescue Metals Group Limited (FMG). The first part of his career was focused on academic work in the fields of tectonics, geochronology and palaeogeography, combined with extensive regional mapping as part of the Zambian and then the British Geological Surveys. His work in Zambia culminated in a PhD from Curtin University on the tectonics of the basement to the Central African Copperbelt. In 2006, Bert joined SRK Consulting in Perth to provide structural mapping support to exploration and mining companies across the world. He joined FMG in 2020, where he is involved in developing a global exploration portfolio, focusing mostly on African opportunities.

Presentation theme: “A Recipe for Sedimentary-Basin Associated Copper Deposits” will explore what we know about Sediment-Basin Associated Copper mineralisation (also knows as Sediment-Hosted Copper) based on examples from the Central African Copperbelt and the Chu-Sarysu Basin, and expand into what is required to form such deposits.

Click here to discover more about Bert


Simon Marshall has over 20 years’ experience as an exploration geoscientist, and is third generation industry lineage with his mother, father, brother and both grandfathers all having careers in hard rock exploration and mining. After graduating from the University Western Australia and cutting his teeth on gold focused exploration and operational geology roles in Western Australia, he moved to West Africa and worked for several years in grass roots and near mine settings searching for gold in the Paleoproterozoic before transferring and spending 15 years with Newmont‘s global exploration geochemistry team which he now heads up as Chief Geochemist, working on projects throughout the Americas, Asia Pacific and across Africa.

He is currently Chief Geophysicist at Newmont Corporation based in Perth, and responsible for Newmont’s Geochemistry focused technology portfolio and leading the global geochemistry team.

When not passionately discussing geochemistry and exploration, he can be found roped up scaling rocks with his partner (who is also a geologist but on the Petroleum side of the business).

Presentation theme: The next generation of surface geochemistry; understanding what that means for covered exploration – a Newmont perspective.