Keynote Speakers

NB: Simultaneous interpretation headsets will be available before the start of the plenary sessions. If you require a headset, please ensure you get one no later than 8:15 a.m.  Photo ID will be required.  It is possible to change the headset to either English or French.

Monday, October 7
9 a.m.

Norbert Morgenstern, Ph.D., P.Eng., Professor Emeritus, Faculty of Engineering, University of Alberta  
Geotechnical Risk, Regulation, and Public Policy: An Update

The presentation will review the section in the author's 6th De Mello Lecture dealing with the safety of tailings dams and will summarize subsequent developments that affect public policy. Delegates are urged to read the full Lecture at

About our speaker
Norbert Morgenstern is an internationally recognized authority in the field of geotechnical engineering. He has extensive experience in dam engineering and has worked on over 140 dam projects and served on numerous technical committees throughout the world, including chairing the panels.  He conducted the review into the cause of the failures of the Mount Polley tailings dam in 2014 and the Fundão tailings dam in 2015. 

Dr. Morgenstern is Professor Emeritus of Civil Engineering at the University of Alberta and has authored over 330 publications in the field of engineering.  There is even a method named after him, the Morgenstern Price slope stability.  He has worked on a wide range of geotechnical issues, including slope stability, landslides, dams, mining projects, permafrost, oil sands, pipelines, highways, bridges, buildings and offshore structures. 

Dr. Morgenstern has also received a plethora of honors and awards throughout his career including Order of Canada and the Alberta Order of Excellence.  In 2018, Dr. Morgenstern was the CDA Inge Anderson Award of Merit recipient.

**Presentation in English with simultaneous interpretation available

Wednesday, October 9
9 a.m.

Lianne Lefsrud, Ph.D., P.Eng., Assistant Professor, Faculty of Engineering, University of Alberta 
Renato Macciotta Pulisci, Ph.D., P.Eng., Industrial Professor, Faculty of Engineering, University of Alberta
Safety Management Systems, risk assessments and the role of communication and culture for tailings dam failure preventability

Despite continuous advances in tailings science, soil mechanics and monitoring technologies, unplanned events at tailings facilities occur with alarming frequency.  Although most of these result in minor to no loss of containment, a number of catastrophic events have occurred this decade.  

Analyses of the root causes of these catastrophic events do not point towards current limitations in tailings or monitoring technologies, but to weaknesses in the adequacy, implementation or compliance of the Safety Management System (SMS) in place. In this regard, some momentum now exists for adoption of a Performance-Based, Risk-Informed Safe Design (PBRISD) approach to the construction, operation and closure of tailings facilities which addresses key aspects of the SMS as applied to dams. 

This keynote address discusses the implementation of PBRISD and its relationship with a SMS. It focuses on the links between PBRISD steps and the elements of a SMS, and the role of communication and organizational culture for a successful implementation.

About our speakers
Lianne Lefsrud is an Assistant Professor at the University of Alberta.  She researchers hazard identification, risk management and evaluation, and technology adoption in mining, railroading, pipelining, heavy construction, and other industries.  Dr. Lefsrud’s holds an interdisciplinary M.Sc. in Environmental Engineering and Sociology and a Ph.D. in Strategic Management and Organization.  

Most recently, she was a Dow Sustainability Postdoctoral Fellow with the Erb Institute, Ross School of Business, University of Michigan.  Dr. Lefsrud also spent several years with APEGA regulating engineering/geoscience.  She has also worked for a railroad, an oil and gas company, and environmental consultancies.

Dr. Lefsrud’s research areas include risk management, risk acceptability / tolerability, decision-making for technological developments, computational methods.

Renato Macciotta is an Industrial Professor at the University of Alberta in the Dave and Joan Lynch School of Engineering Safety and Risk Management.  Dr. Macciotta obtained his Ph.D. in Geotechnical Engineering in 2013, specializing in risk engineering aspects of natural and man-made slopes. He then worked as Research Associate at the University of Alberta while simultaneously providing consulting services within Canada and internationally. 

Dr. Macciotta’s areas of practice and research include risk engineering and safety assessments for natural and human-made slopes, mining structures, transport operations, dam structures and operations, ground hazards, and reclamation. His expertise also includes the geomechanical characterization of rock and soil masses, slope failure mechanisms and monitoring, rock fall detachment and trajectory analysis, and remote monitoring techniques. His work integrates his technical skills with risk engineering principles for the design and operation of engineered systems and structures.

**Presentation in English with simultaneous interpretation available

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