Events and announcements

November 2023: Dr. McKinnon to give keynote address at 1st Chilean ISRM Congress on Rock Mechanics, Santiago, Chile.

December 2021: Dr. McKinnon resigned as a Commission Member of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission. This decision was made with great sadness, but was required in order to focus effectively on consulting activities with mining companies.

December 2020: Dr. McKinnon was appointed to the Independent Review Team for the Chuquicamata Underground mine, in northern Chile. This is a new cave mining project underneath one of the world’s largest open pit mines.

August 2020: Dr. McKinnon was appointed to the Geomechanics Review Boards of the Resolution Copper Project in Arizona, and the Oyu Tolgoi mine in Mongolia. Both appointments were through Rio Tinto, Brisbane.

December 2019: Dr. McKinnon resigns from Queen’s University, but is continuing his relationship with the Mining Department as Professor Emeritus. He will continue to supervise graduate students and to be engaged with research projects at the University. Through this change, he is spending more time working directly with the mining industry as an independent mining geomechanics consultant.

December 2019: Video links has been added to the Utility page. This provides links to various videos on rock engineering topics, including numerical modelling. As new videos are found, additional links will be provided. Suggestions to expand this list are welcome.

September 2019: Weizhang Liang joined the RocMech research group as a Visiting Scholar. Weizhang is a PhD student in the mining engineering program of Central South University, China. His research area is the application of machine learning techniques to rockburst prediction in tunnels.

June 2019: Professor McKinnon was appointed as a part-time Permanent Member of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) for a 4 year term. The CNSC is an independent regulatory agency and administrative tribunal, with jurisdiction over all nuclear-related activities and substances in Canada. CNSC’s Commission make decisions on all nuclear licensing matters, and their decisions are supported by the more than 800 employees of CNSC.

Research opportunities

Currently, there are no positions available for new graduate students.

Due to the high volume of applications for graduate studies, there is no guarantee that unsolicited requests will receive a response. More general inquiries about graduate studies should be sent directly to the Department here.

Invited talk

On January 26th 2018, Professor McKinnon give an invited talk on stress fields at the Department of Petroleum Engineering, University of Wyoming in Laramie, WY.

Recent graduations

Andrew McDonald, Ph.D. – Geological controls on strainbursting in deep mining drifts. Andrew defended his thesis in October 2019 and is now working in the Vale Technical Services group in Sudbury, Canada.

Yousef Abolfazlzadeh, Ph.D. – Far-field stress determination using seismic stress inversion. Yousef defended his thesis in December 2017 and is currently working as a ground control engineer for Vale, Sudbury operations.

Anna Perry, M.A.Sc. – Determining the mechanisms of subsidence at a dewatered Carlin Trend underground mine using numerical modeling methods. Anna defended in December 2017 and is now working as a geomechanics engineer at MDEng., here in Kingston.

Jessa Vatcher, Ph.D. – Listening to the story of the rock mass. Successfully defended in November 2017. This was completed through the Technical University of Luleå in Sweden, where I am appointed as a Visiting Professor. She is now working as a geomechanics engineer with Itasca Consultants AB, in Luleå.

Kris Gringas Little, M.A.Sc. – The analysis of strainbursts in the Sudbury region and the numerical modelling of destress blasting. Kris defended in September 2017. Kris works as a geotechnical engineer for Shell Canada, in Calgary.

Recent Conference Papers

McKinnon, SD & Ferguson, GA (2018), ‘The role of research in cave mining’, in Y Potvin & J Jakubec (eds), Proceedings of the Fourth International Symposium on Block and Sublevel Caving, 15-17 October, Vancouver, Australian Centre for Geomechanics, pp. 499-510.

Perry, A.P., McKinnon, S.D., and Kalenchuk, K.S. (2018) Effect of hydrothermal alteration on material properties in a Carlin-style gold deposit and developing a method to delineate material domains for numerical model geometry-building. In: 52nd US Rock Mechanics / Geomechanics Symposium, Seattle, Washington, USA, 17–20 June 2018

Graduate students from the research group recently presented papers at the Deep and High Stress Mining conference in Perth, Australia, and at the Underground Mining Technology conference in Sudbury, Canada:

Abolfazlzadeh, Y., Penhall, S.L., and McKinnon, S.D. (2017) Statistical analysis of the outlier events from seismic stress inversion. First International Conference on Underground Mining Technology, Sudbury, 11-13 October.

Vatcher, J. and McKinnon, S.D., and Sjoberg, J. (2017) Ground falls, overbreak, and geomechanical characteristics at the Kiirunavaara Mine, Sweden. Eighth International Conference on Deep and High Stress Mining, 28-30 March, Perth, Australia.

Abolfazlzadeh, Y. and McKinnon, S.D. (2017) Stress field characterization in the Nickel Rim South mine using seismic stress inversion. Eighth International Conference on Deep and High Stress Mining, 28-30 March, Perth, Australia.