Associate Professor Eun-Jung Holden, or EJ as she is known to most, is a perfect example of the sort of academic the Energy and Minerals Institute has the pleasure of working with in collaboration with industry

A Theme Leader responsible for the computational data analysis research at UWA’s renowned Centre for Exploration Targeting (CET), Eun-Jung Holden is softly spoken, highly respected and a self-confessed ‘people person’.

She is well known within the Rio Tinto Iron Ore geotechnical group after a three-year project to build a standalone software product to process the company’s large volume of televiewer data captured in-situ from borehole probes and detect and analyse geological fractures within the images.

Planar fractures are discontinuities in rock formation and their analysis is critically important for resource industries, both in that they can act as pathways for fluid flow of petroleum or water and that they can cause weakness in rocks, impacting the stability of a mine.

EJ and the team including Daniel Wedge, Mike Dentith and Nick Spadaccini not only improved the original fracture detection algorithm but worked with Rio Tinto on building a variety of interactive refinement and analysis functionalities to promote the use of automated detection within the existing workflow of industry geoscientists.

A UWA alumnus, EJ came to Perth from Korea as an international student in 1985, training in computer science before completing a PhD and postdoctoral research on developing algorithms for automated human gesture recognition and visualization.

In 2006 she made the transition to geoscience as a researcher at CET, UWA’s world-class geology research centre which is focused on developing effective methodologies for mineral exploration.

During her tenure at CET EJ has established and led a group of researchers and students from computational and mathematical academic backgrounds, all who work closely with diverse industry and academic geoscientists to identify and help resolve their challenges in data analysis.

She says her biggest achievement is bridging the multidiscipline of computational science and geoscience and that she has developed an overwhelming respect for the complexities of issues dealt with by geoscientists.

The group’s strength in automated data analysis and visualisation combined with end-user focused interface design has not only attracted industry’s attention at the recent “mining hackathon” Unearthed, but has already led to the commercialisation of two software products: CET Grid Analysis and CET Porphyry Detection extensions for Geosoft Oasis Montaj.

Both products are licensed and marketed globally by Geosoft Inc.

EJ’s group has also been working closely with The Geological Survey of WA to support full utilization of their data for mineral explorers operation in Western Australia, research that led to an Australian Research Council (ARC) linkage grant being awarded this year.

In addition to these activities, EJ heads the WA chapter of the Korean Australian Scientists and Engineers Association, which aligns with EMI’s international focus on building capacity and networks, particularly in the Asia-Pacific zone, through a wide range of alliances, including the Australia Korea Business Council. 

Photo: EJ Holden (centre) with the The CET-team Fifty Grades of Shale at the 'Unearthed' mining hackathon

Media reference

Rachael Penning-Bourne
email: rachael.penning-bourne@uwa.edu.au