Providing Specialized Services in Geomechanics 613.507.7575

Ben Thompson, Ph.D.

ben-thompson-picDr. B. Thompson offers world-leading expertise in geotechnical instrumentation and seismic and microseismic analysis. He has previously led internationally recognized state-of-the-art instrumentation projects at numerous mines to improve backfilling efficiency through better understanding of in-situ conditions. Dr. Thompson’s strong field background is founded on a result-driven approach. This is combined with a rigorous scientific training in geophysics and geology, and in particular, the application of seismological techniques to understand rock fracture and fault-slip.

Areas of Expertise:

  • Field instrumentation of mine backfill
    • Backfill instrumentation to improve efficiency and safety
    • Design of varied instrumentation packages for backfill monitoring
    • Full stope instrumentation for operational/research objectives
    • Routine installation of barricade instrumentation for operational QA/QC
    • Backfilling strategies to reduce stope cycle time/minimize binder content
    • Training of staff in operation of instrumentation and backfill related soil mechanics theory
  • Rock Mechanics through Applied Seismology techniques
    • Application of seismic techniques to monitor rock failure
    • Advanced and routine processing of micro-seismic and acoustic emission events
    • Design of micro-seismic/ultrasonic laboratory rock mechanics experiments
    • Familiar with ESG and ASC software packages
    • Field installation of microseismic accelerometers
  • Project Management
    • Expertise in management of large scale instrumentation projects from inception to completion
    • Results and budget oriented approach
    • Multi-year onsite/underground experience running fieldwork projects
    • Excellent communications from the rock-face to the boardroom

Technology Transfer / Workshops and Courses

  • ‘Paste2010’ International Seminar on Paste and Thickened Tailings (2010) – ‘Backfill Instrumentation’ industry workshop – lead presenter
  • CIM ROCENG09 Instrumentation Workshop (2009) – ‘Mine Backfill Monitoring’ industry seminar, speaker


PhD in Geophysics, 2006 ‘Acoustic Emission investigation of Fracture and Fault Mechanics in the Laboratory’, University of Liverpool, UK, (Supervisor, Prof. Paul Young)

MEsci (Master of Earth Science) in Geophysics and Geology, 2002
(a 4 year undergraduate degree), University of Liverpool, UK

Refereed Publications:

  1. Thompson B.D., M.W. Grabinsky and W.F. Bawden. In-situ measurements of cemented paste backfill at the Cayeli Mine, Canadian Geotechnical Journal, (49 (7), 2012, pp. 755-772(18) doi: 10.1139/t2012-040). AWARDED EDITOR’S CHOICE
  2. Thompson B.D., M.W. Grabinsky and W.F. Bawden, In Situ monitoring of cemented paste backfill pressure to increase backfilling efficiency, CIM Journal, 2 (4), pp. 199-209, 2012
  3. Abdelaal. A.G., B.D. Thompson, D. Simon, W.F. Bawden, M. Grabinsky Characterizing Stiffness Development in Hydrating Mine Backfill Using Ultrasonic Wave Measurements, Canadian Geotechnical Journal, (2011, 48(8): 1174-1187, 10.1139/t11-026).
  4. Thompson, B.D., D.A. Lockner and R.P. Young, Premonitory acoustic emissions and stick slip in natural and smooth faulted Westerly granite,J. Geophysical Research, Vol 114, B02205, doi: 10.1029/2008jb005753, 2009.
  5. E. Townend, B.D. Thompson, P.M. Benson, P.G. Meredith, P. Baud and R.P. Young, Imaging compaction band propagation in Diemelstadt sandstone using acoustic emission locations, Geophysical Research Letters 35 (2008), p. L15301 10.1029/2008GL034723
  6. Benson PM, B.D Thompson, P.G. Meredith. Imaging slow failure in triaxially deformed Etna basalt     using 3D acoustic-emission location and X-ray computed tomography, Geophysical Research Letters, 34 (3): Art. No: L03303, 2007.
  7. Thompson, B.D,R.P. Young, D.A. Lockner, Fracture in Westerly Granite under AE Feedback and Constant Strain Rate Loading: Nucleation, Quasi-static Propagation, and the Transition to Unstable Fracture Propagation. Pure and Applied Geophysics, 163 (5-6): 995-1019 2006.
  8. Schubnel A, E. Walker, B.D. Thompson, J. Fortin, Y. Guéguen and R.P. Young. Transient creep, aseismic damage and slow failure in Carrara marble deformed across the brittle-ductile transition Geophysical Research Letters, 33 (17): Art. No. L17301, 2006
  9. Schubnel. A., P.M. Benson; B.D. Thompson, J.F. Hazzard, R.P. Young. Quantifying Damage, Saturation and Anisotropy in Cracked Rocks by Inverting Elastic Wave Velocities.Pure and Applied Geophysics, 163 (5-6): 947-973, 2006.
  10. Thompson, B.D,R.P. Young, D.A. Lockner, Observations of Premonitory Acoustic Emission and Slip Nucleation during a Stick Slip Experiment in Smooth Faulted Westerly Granite. Geophysical Research Letters, 32, Art. No: L10304, 2005.

Selected Conference Proceedings

  1. American Rock Mechanics Symposium (ARMA) 2012, In-situ pressures in paste backfill, a review of fieldwork  B. D. Thompson, W. F. Bawden, M.W. Grabinsky,
  2. ‘Paste2010’ International Seminar on Paste and Thickened Tailings 2010, B. D. Thompson,W. F. Bawden, M.W. Grabinsky, K. Karaoglu, ‘Monitoring Cemented Paste Backfill Barricade Performance’.
  3. Canadian Institute of Mining (CIM) AGM, Vancouver, 2010, W.F. Bawden, B. D. Thompson, M. W. Grabinsky. ‘Real Time Monitoring of Cemented Paste Backfill’.
  4. RockEng09, Toronto, 2009, B.D. Thompson, D.B. Counter, W.F. Bawden, M. Grabinsky, ‘In situ measurements of Cemented Paste Backfill in Long-Hole Stopes’.
  5. Canadian Institute of Mining (CIM) AGM, 2008: W.F. Bawden, B.D. Thompson and Grabinsky M., Field instrumentation studies in Cemented Paste Backfill
  6. Canadian Geotechnical Conference, Ottawa, 2007: Grabinsky M., W.F. Bawden andB.D. Thompson,  In Situ monitoring of cemented paste backfill in an alimak stope
  7. ISRM Congress, Lisbon, 2007: Young R. P. andB. D. Thompson, Imaging dynamic rock fracture    with acoustic emission and x-ray tomography.
  8. AGU Fall meeting, San Francisco (USA), 2005, Thompson, B.D,R.P. Young, D.A. Lockner, Fracture in Westerly granite under AE feedback and Constant Strain Rate loading: Nucleation, Quasi-static Propagation, and the transition to Unstable Fracture Propagation