Robert Hall


Additional Responsibilities

  • Associate Dean Engineering Students
  • Director: Mine Automation / Environmental Simulation Laboratory (MAESL)

Biography
Mining was certainly never an initial choice. It just happened in the course of perusing other things. I started out life in rural New Brunswick and left school early to work in the food processing industry. After a few years I pursued an undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering at the University of New Brunswick. After getting my degree I spent four years in the steel construction industry working around Ontario and a brief stint in Regina. Having received an NSERC grant at the end of my undergrad degree (which I deferred) I decided to pursue a masters degree before it expired. The NSERC grant allowed me the option of selecting both the university and the degree of my choice.

In the end I chose Queen’s mechanical engineering and went to work on a mining engineering project in Chile. As a result of this experience I chose to get a Ph.D. in mining engineering with an emphasis on mechanical applications. I saw that the global aspect of mining would provide the best opportunity for new research and travel. In addition, there are more challenges in the mining industry than in any other engineering discipline. During my Ph.D. I was able to do contract research with Inco in Sudbury and Syncrude in Fort McMurray.

My experience in Fort McMurray and Sudbury led me to specialize in mining equipment design and control because mining has the biggest and most technically advanced equipment in the world. A good example of this is the 797 caterpillar haul truck. At 350 tons haul capacity, it can carry a fully loaded 747 jet, including passengers and fuel. Based on my experiences in university, choosing academia over higher-paying industrial opportunities was, for me, an easy choice. I could see that an academic career path would offer flexibility in lifestyle and research as well as on-going learning opportunities. I enjoy teaching as it provides with an opportunity to positively influence students to excel not only in their engineering studies, but in life as well.

A major portion of life outside work is taken up with sports and personal development. I’m active in all kinds of sports, but most particularly in Ironman triathlons, for which I’ve traveled across Canada, and in 2003, Australia. I also enjoy spending time with family and friends.

Research Interests

  • Mine Automation
  • Equipment Maintenance and reliability
  • Wear and material
  • Crushing and plant optimization

511 Frank Forward
t: 604 822 0066
e: robhall@mining.ubc.ca

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