Senior Management

Managing Director

Dr Ian Gray PhD (UNSW,1983), MAppSc (UNSW, 1979), BE (Auckland, 1976) RPEQ, MAusIMM, SPE
Prior to setting up Sigra Ian has had varied experience. He started work as a civil engineer in New Zealand in the mid 1970s. From 1979 to 1982 he worked for Australian Coal Industry Research Laboratories based on mine sites in Queensland during which time he worked on outbursts, gas drainage and rock mechanics. He completed his PhD while  working in this role. He then worked as a geotechnical engineer for the Hong Kong Government on slope stability, foundations, groundwater and tunnelling until the near the end of 1988 when he returned via the UK and New Zealand to Australia.

Ian initially worked in Australia  supervising the installation of the first gas drainage system at Central Colliery and then went on to work as Senior Geotechnical engineer building a mining wing to the consulting company DJ Douglas and Partners. In 1990 he became Principal Engineer, Mining Research with the Safety In Mines Testing and Research Station of the Department of Resource Industries of the Queensland Government. In this role he worked on frictional ignitions, mine explosions, windblasts, gas drainage and directional drilling including the first surface to in-seam operation in the country in 1991. In 1994 he started Sigra as a one man business. Since then the company has grown under his guidance to span mining, gas, civil, geotechnical work and a number of mechanical and electronic product developments.

Projects Manager

Bruce Neels BE(Civil) QUT Brisbane 1990, NZCE 1974
Bruce started his professional working life as a cadet draftsman with the Beca Carter Hollings and Ferner in Auckland in the period 1970 to 1974. Once qualified he moved on to work for other consultants in New Zealand and then Australia in the role of steel and reinforced concrete structural design. In 1982 he joined Conforce, a start up specialist construction company involved in post tensioned concrete structures and ground stabilisation. His duties there involved the design of prestressed structures, tendering and project management. He also completed his BE degree part time during this period.

In 1992 Conforce was bought by VSL, a major contractor involved in the civil and building industries. He became projects manager there. His duties included the design of prestressed concrete structures, tendering, project management and reporting and contract administration of major projects. He joined Sigra in 2007 bringing a wealth of experience to the company.

Principal Geologist

Jeff Wood BSc (Geology) 1969 University of Queensland
Jeff started his career as a laboratory technician with the University of Queensland, a position which he held through his undergraduate training, initially in chemistry and then in geology. He then became a base metal exploration geologist with Pioneer Mining and Exploration Pty Ltd before nearly a decade in the same field with Australian Anglo American Pty Ltd.

In October 1978 he joined Dampier Mining Pty Ltd (a BHP subsidiary) as senior geologist in Blackwater, Queensland where his role was mine geology, outburst and gas investigation, exploration boreholes and surface seismic management.

In March 1982 he moved to Newcastle with BHP working in the areas of geological modelling, geological interpretation, opencut stability and groundwater issues, gas and groundwater evaluation. He moved to BHP Illawarra Coal in 1989 and continued in much the same role before becoming Geological Services Manager in 1993, a position he held until 2003. The work there involved providing a full geological service to Operations including exploration, coal quality, mining geology, gas evaluation, gas production and wastewater disposal.He was in addition responsible for initiation of investigation and evaluation of the effects of longwall coal extraction on surface drainage systems and infrastructure.

Jeff became Principal Geoscientist 
BHPBilliton Illawarra Coal in January 2003 and held this position until his attempted retirement in July 2008. During this period his responsibilities included the cost effective evaluation of longwall coal extraction on natural surface features, including streams and upland swamps. Monitoring of groundwater and surface water systems was achieved by manual, data logging and chemical techniques. Techniques used included surface mapping, GIS based interpretation and data storage, prediction, borehole instrumentation, surface water flow and quality monitoring, remediation and prevention management. Geomorphological evaluation techniques were introduced. Duties included liaison with consultants, government representatives and local stakeholders.

In July 2008 Jeff joined Sigra to fill the role of Principal Geologist.

Jeff’s numerous post graduate industry courses include hydrogeology, reservoir engineering, hydrogeology, reservoir engineering, management, statistics and geological modelling.

Senior Engineer

Brett Stewart B of Eng (Tech) (USQ 2005), SPE, J.P. (Qual).
Brett’s working life started as an apprentice fitter and turner with Redcliffe Engineering and finishing his trade qualifications in 1979. From here he completed a degree in commercial art at Queensland Art College. Brett worked as a sign writer after completing his trade qualifications. Brett completed his engineering degree, after studying externally, in 2005 whilst self employed. His professional career started at Joe Bradley Fibreglass Pty. Ltd. where his duties included drafting and structural design of long and short haul heavy vehicles.

Brett joined Sigra in 2006 where he has immersed himself in learning the aspects of geomechanical, geotechnical and geological engineering Sigra specialises in. Bretts professional advancement has continued participating in post grad short courses in rock mechanics, mining geo-mechanics, well characterisation, and hydrofracturing.

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