Robertson GeoConsultants Inc. (RGC) is a highly-specialized consulting firm that provides geotechnical, geochemical, and hydrogeological expertise to the mining industry worldwide.
RGC was formed by Dr. Andy Robertson in 1994 after he left the firm Steffen, Robertson & Kirsten (SRK), a firm he founded in South Africa in the 1970s. Today, RGC is managed by Dr. Christoph Wels (a principal and Senior Hydrogeologist at RGC).
Since 1995, RGC has worked in 16 countries and completed over 150 projects at some of the largest and most remote mines in the world.
Dr. Christoph Wels
Dr. Christoph Wels is President and Senior Hydrogeologist with Robertson GeoConsultants Inc. (RGC). He has over 25 years of consulting experience in the assessment of mining impacts on groundwater resources and design of remedial activities. He has led numerous field investigations and modeling studies (using groundwater flow and solute transport models) to assess current and future impacts from mine waste facilities to groundwater, to design seepage interception systems, to support mine closure design and to assess mine dewatering requirements. He has also completed several water balance studies for large tailings impoundments.
Christoph Wels has been a third-party reviewer of pre-feasibility investigations, permitting documents and hydrogeological studies for mining projects on behalf of government agencies, mining companies and other consulting firms for projects in Canada, USA, Australia, Germany and Chile. He is also a member of several independent tailings review boards for some of the largest tailings dams in the world.
Christoph Wels has written over 30 technical papers on seepage and groundwater movement, contaminant transport, cover design and mine closure planning and was the lead author for the BC MoE Groundwater Modeling Guidelines for the Resource Industry.
Dr. Paul Ferguson
Dr. Paul Ferguson has thirteen years of consulting experience at Robertson GeoConsultants Inc. (RGC) in the fields of environmental geochemistry and hydrogeology and specializes in the prediction, characterization, and control of Acid Rock Drainage/Metal Leaching (ARD/ML) impacts to groundwater and surface water at mine sites.
Paul has a B.Sc. (Honours) in Earth Sciences and completed his Ph.D. in Earth Sciences in 2007 with a focus on isotope and trace element geochemistry. Paul has worked closely with regulatory agencies, mining companies, and other consulting firms during the pre-feasibility, active mining, and closure stages of mining projects in Canada, Chile, and Australia, so is well-versed in the permitting process and required regulatory interface during various stages of mining.
Paul is RGC’s project lead for the Rum Jungle Rehabilitation Project and directs RGC’s work at the Myra Falls Mine in western Canada, the former Bouchard Hebert mine in Québec, and the Sandy Flat Mine Site in Australia, amongst other projects. He has also worked at the former Mount Morgan Mine Site in Queensland (Australia), the Faro Mine Site in Canada’s Northwest Territories, the Browns site in Australia’s Northern Territory, as well as on several active mines in Chile.
Dr. Mahmoud Hussein
Dr. Mahmoud Hussein has a B.Sc. in Civil Engineering, an M.Sc. (Eng.) in Groundwater Modelling and a Ph.D. in Hydrogeology. He has over 13 years of consultancy experience and 5 years of research experience in the field of hydrogeology.
Dr. Hussein is Principal and Senior Groundwater Modeler with Robertson GeoConsultants Inc. He specializes in the application of groundwater flow and solute transport modelling techniques to assess seepage and associated groundwater impacts from mine waste facilities, and to design and predict the performance of proposed mitigation measures. He joined RGC in 2016 and has applied these techniques to a wide range of mining applications, including seepage from tailings impoundments and tailings dams, open pits, underground mine workings and waste storage facilities for mine sites located in Canada, Chile and Australia.
Dr. Hussein is also experienced in the field of physical hydrogeology and the application of the following techniques used for numerous consultancy and research projects:
- Aquifer storage and recovery testing,
- Design, implementation, supervision and interpretation of hydrogeological investigations,
- Analysis of aquifer and well performance testing, and
- Time series analysis applied to borehole water levels response to natural and anthropogenic influences.
Dr. Hussein has written 5 technical papers on groundwater flow & contaminant transport, time series analysis and groundwater vulnerability.
Tara Raketti has a B.Sc. in Environmental Engineering and in Biology and has nine years of professional experience in mining hydrogeology and environmental analyses. Tara joined Robertson GeoConsultants Inc. in 2013.
Tara’s technical experience includes development of water and load balance models, both in Excel and GoldSim, to support mine closure planning. She is well-practiced in supervision of both Dual-Rotary and Sonic drilling, well construction and development, and hydraulic testing and analysis. She has managed large multi-year drilling programs with budgets exceeding US$ 1 million. Tara has also managed her own water quality sampling programs and is well-seasoned in groundwater and surface water sampling.
Alex Trapp has a M.Sc. in Water Resources Engineering and Management and a B.Eng. in Civil Engineering. He has eight years of professional experience in mining hydrogeology and environmental analyses. Alex joined Robertson GeoConsultants Inc. in 2012 as a Water Resources Engineer and again in 2016.
His technical experience includes planning and supervision of drilling programs, hydraulic testing, well installation, and water quality sampling. Alex also has experience in numerical groundwater flow and transport modeling ranging from 1D models for seawater intrusion and seepage analysis to large, complex 3D models in support of mine water management. Furthermore, he has experience in reviewing geotechnical testing and finite strain consolidation modelling for tailings seepage analysis.
Petr Kuranov has a B.Sc. and a M.Sc. in Hydrogeology. He has over 10 years of professional experience on mining, civil and site remediation projects. Petr has joined Robertson GeoConsultants Inc. in 2019 as a hydrogeologist and groundwater modeler.
Petr has been involved in numerous projects for oil and gas and mining clients throughout Western Canada, in South America, Europe and Western Asia. His areas of expertise include:
- Numerical modeling of groundwater flow, solute transport and surface water-groundwater interaction processes,
- Planning and supervision of hydrogeological field programs,
- Hydraulic tests interpretation,
- Hydrogeological data visualization and analyses,
- Geological modeling.
Cristobal Vargas has a M.Sc. in Hydrogeology and Environmental Engineering and a B.Eng. in Civil Engineer with specialization in Hydraulic, Environmental and Sanitary Engineering. Cristobal has five years of professional and research experience in the field of groundwater modeling and joined Robertson GeoConsultants Inc. in 2019 as a Groundwater Modeler.
Cristobal’s technical experience includes saturated and unsaturated groundwater flow modeling, solute transport modeling and reactive transport modeling. Furthermore, he has experience in the analysis of hydraulic testing, and hydrological information to model the interaction between surface water and groundwater.
Dr. Mina Seyedali
Dr. Mina Seyedali completed her Ph.D. in Earth and Ocean Sciences in 2020 with a focus on use of stable isotopes and trace metals in understanding evolution of paleo-seawater chemistry. Mina has an M.Sc. and B.Sc. in Mining Exploration Engineering with special focus on use of geostatistical techniques in exploration of ore deposits. Mina joined Robertson GeoConsultants Inc. in 2021 as a consultant in geochemistry. She has ten years of research experience in areas of:
- Low-temperature hydrothermal systems active in oceanic crust,
- Designing experiments, running, and interpreting result of various analytical instruments (e.g., ICP-MS, XRD, SEM), and
- Implementing predictive models, data processing and visualization.
Arturo Velasco has a B.Eng and M.Sc. in Hydraulic Engineering and Environment with a specialization in water resources analysis. He has six years of professional and research experience in water resources and remote sensing environmental applications. Arturo joined Robertson GeoConsultants Inc. in 2021 as a Hydrology Consultant.
Arturo’s experience includes the construction of numerical models as well as the interpretation and analysis of results in water-related projects. He also has experience in the processing and application of remote sensing techniques using spaceborne and airborne data for water resources analysis.
His areas of expertise are:
- Hydrological and hydraulic modeling,
- Geographic information system and geospatial analysis, and
- Remote sensing (optical and radar sensors).
Aria Zhang has a B.Sc. (Honors) and an M.Sc. in Earth Sciences with specialization in hydrogeology and geochemistry. She has three years of professional experience in environmental site assessment, remediation, and data management, as well as two years of research experience in mine remediation, cover performance evaluation, and numerical modeling of flow and reactive transport. She joined Robertson GeoConsultants Inc. in 2023.
Aria’s knowledge and experience includes variably saturated groundwater modeling, reactive transport modeling, site characterization, and groundwater monitoring. She is also experienced in geographic information system, database management, and data analysis, with proficiency in Python, SQL, and ArcGIS.
Alex Bastyr has a B.Sc. in Earth and Planetary Sciences and a Masters of Geomatics for Environmental Management. He has two years of research experience in utilizing forest inventories and satellite derived datasets to map and predict tree species across Canada. He joined Robertson GeoConsultants Inc. in 2023 as a GIS/Geomatics Analyst.
Alex has experience in the application of GIS and remote sensing tools and technologies for environmental and forestry applications. He specializes in geographic information systems, spatial analysis, machine learning, data visualization, and has proficiency in ArcGIS, SQL, and R.
Claudia Tu has more than 20 years administration experience and over 5 years bookkeeping experience. She joined with Robertson GeoConsultants Inc as of June 27, 2023 as Bookkeeper and Office Manager.
Claudia has rich experience in marketing, event management, and project management. She is proficient in MS office suite and familiar with accounting software.
Julia Tancon has a B.Sc. in Chemistry with a focus on Environmental Chemistry. She has research experience in transition metal catalysis for the synthesis of small organic molecules, which formed the basis of her honors thesis. She joined Robertson GeoConsultants Inc. in 2023.
Julia’s knowledge and experience includes experiment design, data analysis and interpreting the results of various analytical techniques (e.g., ICP-MS, SEM, XRD, NMR and IR spectroscopy).
Mr. Bryan has collaborated extensively with RGC on the following projects:
- Britannia Mine (B.C.) reclamation study,
- Cantung Mine (N.W.T.) site water and chemical load balance study,
- Faro Mine (Yukon) site water and chemical load balance study,
- Pogo Project (Alaska) water balances for tailings impoundments, and
- Questa Mine (New Mexico) comprehensive site water and chemical load balance studies.
Founder: Dr. Andy Robertson
Dr. Andy Robertson was founder and President Emeritus of Robertson GeoConsultants Inc (RGC). As founder and president of RGC, and prior to that SRK Consulting, he was directly responsible for a wide range of mining, geotechnical and environmental engineering projects for the mining industry and government clients, including site investigations and foundation design, rock mechanics and soil slope stability for open pit mines; design of a wide variety of tailings impoundments; and waste dump investigations and designs, including acid rock drainage (ARD) evaluations and control, mine closure plan development and risk assessment.
He was the lead investigator and/or designer for numerous project teams for mining companies and provided review and senior evaluation and counseling to a number of mining companies, research establishments, professional associations and provincial, state and federal agencies. Dr. Robertson participated on numerous technical review boards for tailings and mine waste facilities for mining companies and regulatory authorities. He published extensively, participated in the drafting of numerous technical guides currently used by industry and regulatory bodies alike, and was the recipient of a number of technical and industry awards. He performed numerous dam safety inspections and environmental liability assessments for tailings and water dams, mine waste dumps and mining properties.
Projects were undertaken in Canada, the USA, Germany, France, Sweden, Norway, the Czech Republic, Chile, Brazil, Argentina, Peru, Guatemala, Australia, Philippines, Vietnam, South Africa, Mali, Namibia and Papua.
More detail on Andy’s life and history can be found here.
- The R.M. Hardy Award presented by the Canadian Geotechnical Society in recognition of Dr. Andrew Robertson’s contribution to Canadian Geotechnique through the preparation and presentation of the Allocation R.M. Hardy Keynote Address. This Award was presented at the 48th Annual Canadian Geotechnical Conference, Vancouver, September 1995.
- Excellence Award from the Consulting Engineers Council of Colorado to Woodward-Clyde Consultants and Steffen, Robertson & Kirsten for Island Copper Seepage Barrier Wall, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, 1992.
- Honor Award from the American Consulting Engineers Council to Woodward-Clyde Consultants and Steffen, Robertson & Kirsten for Island Copper Seepage Barrier Wall, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, 1992.
- Merit Award for Andrew Robertson’s distinguished contribution to the Mine Environmental Neutral Drainage (MEND) Program and the British Columbia Acid Mine Drainage (BCAMD) Task Force in addressing the industrial and public concern of the impact of mining on the environment. Presented at the Second International Conference on the Abatement of Acidic Drainage, Montreal, Canada, 1991.
- Environmental Engineering Design Award from the Association of Professional Engineers of British Colum