Keynote and Panel

We are delighted to commence the Minefill 2024 Convention with a symposium’s opening keynote, to be presented by Russell Evans.

Mr. Evans boasts more than 35 years of experience in the mining industry, during which he has overseen surface and underground mine projects across various continents. His expertise spans all facets of mine backfill.

With a career that has seen him contribute to organizations such as Lac Minerals, Golder Paste Technology, Barrick Gold, Goldcorp, Kirkland Lake Gold, and his current role as Director of Backfill Operations at Agnico Eagle Mines, Mr. Evans has played integral roles in the design, construction, commissioning, and operational support of more than 30 paste plants and 8 cemented rock fill plants worldwide. His achievements include spearheading the construction and commissioning of Australia’s inaugural Paste Plant and introducing the first gold mine paste tailings system.


Monday, MAY 13th | 08:00 – 10:00


30 Years of Paste Backfill – 1994 to 2024
The 30-year progression from a “New Type of Backfill” to an Integral Part of a Holistic Mining Strategy.

Minefill 2024 will open with keynote speaker Russell Evans, a mining veteran with 35+ years of global experience who will reflect on 30 years of paste backfill. Currently Director of Backfill Operations at Agnico Eagle Mines, Russ has played key roles in over 30 paste plants and 8 rock fill plants worldwide, including leading the construction of Australia’s first paste plant and introducing the first gold mine paste tailings system. 

Profile Picture for Russel Evans

Russell Evans

Director of Backfill Operations, Agnico Eagle Mines

Tuesday May 14 | 10.10-11.40

Panel Session

Panel topic:  Bringing Minefill Full Circle

Join the Minefill panel on Day 2 to delve deeper into the conference theme, where four industry leaders will explore the pivotal role that backfill plays in the mining cycle. Facilitated by mining engineer Kate McLaughlin, the discussion will analyze the evolving roles of backfill and its potential for future mining endeavors, addressing both opportunities and challenges within the mine cycle.

The panelists include Cliff Lafleur, Véronique Falmagne, Ryan Veenstra, and Ward Wilson, each bringing extensive operational and technical experience directly and indirectly related to backfill. Their diverse backgrounds promise stimulating and insightful conversations throughout the session.

Panel Facilitator

Kate McLaughlin

P.Eng. Independent Mining Consultant

Kate McLaughlin, boasts a diverse career spanning various roles within the mining industry.

Previously serving as an Advisory Director at Stratalis Consulting, Kate provided invaluable guidance on innovation and facilitated client growth. Prior to this, Kate held positions such as Senior Consultant at BBA Consultants, focusing on mining projects, and fulfilled multiple roles at Stantec, including Innovation Leader, Discipline Leader, and Managing Principal in the mining sector. With earlier experiences at McLaughlin Engineering and Xstrata Copper, Kate’s expertise encompasses strategic consulting, project management, and technical system development. Starting as an Operations General Foreman at Falconbridge, Kate’s illustrious career is underpinned by a robust education, culminating in a Bachelor of Applied Science and a Master of Science in Mining Engineering from Queen’s University.


Cliff Lafleur

P.Eng. Vice President Operations,
Silver Crest Metals

Dr. Véronique Falmagne

Senior Mining Advisor,
Agnico Eagle Mines Limited

Dr. Ryan Veenstra

P.Eng. Global Backfill Specialist,
Newmont Corporation

Dr. G. Ward Wilson

P.Eng., P.Geol., FCAE, FEIC
Professor of Geotechnical and GeoEnvironmental Engineering, University of Alberta