Meet our Team

Dr. Andy Robertson has a B.Sc. in Civil Engineering, a Ph.D. in Rock Mechanics and 30 years of experience in mining geotechnics and environmental engineering. His experience includes periods of work with a mining company and specialist foundation construction contractor, providing him with practical field experience. In the 27 years he spent as one of the three senior principals of Steffen, Robertson & Kirsten and as the president of Robertson GeoConsultants Inc., he has been responsible for the development of the mining geotechnical and environmental engineering practices in the areas of:

He has been the lead investigator and/or designer for numerous project teams for mining companies and provides review and senior evaluation and counseling to a number of mining companies, research establishments, professional associations and provincial, state and federal agencies. Dr. Robertson participates on numerous technical review boards for mining companies and regulatory authorities. He has published extensively, participated in the drafting of numerous technical guides currently used by industry and regulatory bodies alike, and has been the recipient of a number of technical and industry awards.

Dr. Christoph Wels has a B.Sc. in Hydrology, a M.Sc. in Watershed Ecosystem Studies and a Ph.D. in Hydrogeology with over 20 years of professional experience in academic research and consulting. He has published several scientific papers in the areas of contaminant hydrogeology and watershed hydrology. Dr. Wels is Principal and Senior Hydrogeologist with Robertson GeoConsultants Inc. and specializes on groundwater modeling and evaluating the impact of mining projects on groundwater resources. He joined Robertson GeoConsultants in 1995 and has since been consulting to the mining and environmental industry in the areas of:

As senior hydrogeologist of RGC, he is responsible for all aspects of hydrogeological investigations from field work to detailed groundwater flow and transport modeling. His fluency in English, Spanish and German allows direct communication with clients and regulatory agencies all over the world.


Jack Caldwell, P.Eng, has a B.Sc. in Civil Engineering, an M.Sc. (Eng.) in Geotechnical Engineering and a post-graduate law degree. He has over 35 years engineering experience on mining, civil, geotechnical and site remediation projects. He has worked on numerous projects throughout southern Africa, Europe, Canada and the United States. His project experience includes:

In addition, Mr. Caldwell has been the lead specialist for various geotechnical and civil engineering projects in Southern California. Mr. Caldwell has written many engineering reports, proposals, and technical papers. He is the lead author of the book, Principles and Practice of Waste Encapsulation, on the design of waste disposal facilities for radioactive and hazardous wastes.

Dr. Paul Ferguson completed his Ph.D. in Earth Sciences in 2007 with a focus on isotope and trace element geochemistry. He has ten years of experience in the fields of environmental geochemistry and hydrogeology and specializes in characterizing the impacts of acid rock drainage (ARD) and metal leaching (ML) on groundwater and surface water quality and the determining the implications for mine closure.

Paul has worked closely with regulatory agencies, mining companies, and other consulting firms during the pre-feasibility, active mining, and closure stages of mining projects in Canada, Chile, and Australia so is well-versed in the permitting process & required regulatory interface during various stages of mining.

Paul is RGC’s project lead for closure planning at Nyrstar Myra Falls in western Canada and at the former Rum Jungle Mine Site, an abandoned uranium mine in Australia’s Northern Territory. He has also worked at the former Mount Morgan Mine Site in Queensland (Australia) and the Faro Mine Site in Canada’s Northwest Territories, as well as on several active mines in northern Canada and Chile.     

He joined Robertson GeoConsultants in 2008 and has been a consultant to the mining and environmental industry in the areas of:

Mr. Neil Robinson, P.Eng, has a B.A.Sc. in Civil Engineering. He has over 20 years of experience in contaminated site investigations and remediations and hydrogeological studies for mining projects. His experience includes:

  • groundwater interception, groundwater pump and treat, multi-phase extraction and treatment, semi-permeable barriers and in-situ and ex-situ soil treatment
  • preparation and management of long-term monitoring programs, and review and modification of existing remedial systems
  • drilling supervision/well installation in overburden and bedrock, design and analysis of hydraulic testing (slug tests, packer tests and pumping tests) and groundwater monitoring
  • development of 2D and 3D groundwater flow and solute transport models (Seep/W and Modflow) to assess remedial options for contaminated sites, dewatering requirements for open pit and underground mines as well as seepage and contaminant transport from mine waste facilities
  • project management

Andy Thomas is a Geological Engineer with over nine years working as a consultant in the field of ground engineering.  His academic background is in civil engineering and science, specialising in geology.  He has professional experience in geological and geotechnical site investigation; characterization, design, specification and construction stage supervision of foundations and earthworks for projects in the mining and civil sectors.  Specialist experience includes soil and rock slope stability analyses.  Other areas of experience include hydrogeology and contaminated site investigations.  Andy has worked on a wide variety of projects in Australia and Canada, recently focusing on mine site remediation.

In 2014 Andy completed his master’s degree in the field of geological engineering at the University of British Columbia.  Particular focus was on engineering rock mechanics, specifically the behavior of rock under high stress conditions.  Prior to this, certification was achieved with Engineers Australia as a Chartered Professional Engineer (CPEng). 

Ernesto Ruiz, P.Eng, is a senior civil/geotechnical engineer with over 10 years of experience. He has proficiency in Tailings Storage Facility design with technical capabilities including: slope and seepage stability analysis for earthen dams and rock dumps using Geostudio; dam liquefaction and deformation assessments; geosynthetics, geotechnical site investigations planning, implementation and reporting; and instrumentation installation and monitoring.

He has experience in the development of OMS manuals for Tailings Management Facilities, Request for Proposals, Technical Specifications and IFC drawings.

Mr. Ruiz has significant experience in geotechnical field work, including subsurface investigation, instrumentation installation and monitoring, drilling investigation design and supervision, and construction QA/QC. His experience with contracting and construction supervision has been based out of both Canada and Latin America.

Aida Farkish, EIT, has a M.A.Sc. in Geo-Environmental Engineering with focus on tailings and solid waste management. Since joining RGC, Aida has been providing technical services focusing on dewatering of oil sands MFT, supervision of geotechnical field investigations, and design and supervision of specialized geotechnical laboratory testing.

She joined Robertson GeoConsultants in 2014 and has been a consultant to the mining and environmental industry in the areas of:

  • Oil sand Mature Fine Tailing (MFT) treatment and dewatering
  • Hydrological modeling
  • Geotechnical laboratory testing
  • Project management

Tara Raketti has a B.Sc. in Environmental Engineering and in Biology. She is an Engineer-In-Training in the province of British Columbia with over two years of professional experience in mining hydrogeology and environmental analyses. Tara joined Robertson GeoConsultants Inc. in 2013 first as a co-op student and again as an environmental engineer upon completion of her degree.

Her experience includes supervision of drilling and well construction, hydraulic testing, hydrological analyses, water quality sampling, and QA/QC analysis.