Diane Mather, Tunneling Specialist: Mechanised Tunnelling and Mining-How One Industry is Influencing the Other.

Play episode
Hosted by
Rob Tyson

In this episode, we chat with Diane Mather, who specialises in tunnelling. Apart from working for Inland Rail as the design manager, she is also the chair for the Australian Tunnelling Society. She has worked on multiple rail-related tunnelling projects as well as in several mining settings.

Diane was introduced to us by Michael Moore having studied together at Camborne School of Mines. She studied for a Geology, Geotechnical, and Tunnelling degree. Diane is on the podcast to discuss all things tunnelling with an emphasis on mining and how they combine and interact. We talk about the main differences and similarities between tunnelling & mining. As well as what technologies and innovation mining and tunnelling have in common. Plus, much more.


Diane has worked for numerous mines as well as on other types of tunnelling projects. Mining design is temporary compared to infrastructure tunnels. Mine structures are usually easier to build because there is no other infrastructure to work around e.g., sewers. Mechanised tunnel building is a lot faster than drill and blast. Some issues need to be overcome before the use of mechanised tunnelling machines becomes more common in the mining industry. Issues that are discussed in the podcast, Tunnelling is becoming more popular because it reduces the impact infrastructure has on the neighbourhood. Often tunnels are the only practical option in areas of high-density population. Many mining industry innovations have been adopted for tunnelling. Several examples are discussed in the podcast.

Mines are increasingly using LIDAR and GIS systems to map and manage their projects. These tools also have a role in managing the relationship with the public. Mines are taking the lead in the use of autonomous vehicles. An approach tunnellers are starting to adopt. Automation is greatly reducing the risks for both industries. For miners transport of their products from the mine is a major issue. A possible solution is discussed.


‘I fly in and out of some of the best mining and infrastructure projects in Australia. ´

‘The instrumentation, monitoring and geological mapping that´s been used in mining have been implemented in tunnelling.’

‘A mechanised tunnelling machine is a big, long lead time procurement item.’


Diane Mather – QLD Chapter Chair – Australian Tunnelling Society | LinkedIn

The Australian Tunnelling Association Website – https://www.ats.org.au/

Details of ATS committee members – https://www.ats.org.au/about-us/committee-members/







Rob Tyson is the Founder and Director of Mining International Ltd, a leading global recruitment and headhunting consultancy based in the UK specialising in all areas of mining across the globe from first world to third world countries from Africa, Europe, Middle East, Asia, and Australia. We source, headhunt, and discover new and top talent through a targeted approach and search methodology and have a proven track record in sourcing and positioning exceptional candidates into our clients’ organisations in any mining discipline or level. Mining International provides a transparent, informative, and trusted consultancy service to our candidates and clients to help them develop their careers and business goals and objectives in this ever-changing marketplace.

Join the discussion

More from this show


Episode 5