Capability Statement , RADIATION ADVICE & SOLUTIONS PTY LTD , and Curriculum Vitae, MARK SONTER

CURRICULUM VITAE of Principal Consultant, COMPANY CAPABILITIES, and selected Clients List

Mark Sonter, Principal Consultant:

Mark Sonterhas 40+ years’ experience in radiation safety in uranium mining, including design input into project concept development; radiation and OHS aspects of BFS and EIS preparation; mine and plant design input and review; licence approvals process; and implementation of operational radiation monitoring and management; covering open pit, underground, and insitu-leach uranium mining projects. He has also been involved in planning, permitting, operation, and review of radioactive site remediation projects, in development and presentation of radiation safety training courses, and in general occupational health, safety and industrial hygiene management of large and small mining and metallurgical operations, both in Australia and overseas.In the last 15 year she has had significant involvement in management of oil industry NORM radium scale, and in design for radiation control in mineral sands and rare earths mining and processing.

Education , Mark Sonter , DOB 27 - 3 - 1947

B.Sc, Dip.Ed (University of New South Wales, Wollongong campus), Physics & Geology, 1964-68

M.App.Sc (Medical Physics), Queensland Institute of Technology, 1976-78. In my thesis I carried out the first-ever estimates of internal organ radiation dosesto uranium mill workers from inhalation of air borne work place uranium ore dust, at Mary Kathleen Uranium mine in NW Queensland.

Graduate Diploma in Occupational Hazard Management,(Grad.Dip.OHM) Ballarat College of Advanced Education, 1981-82.Studiedindustrial safety, accident causation and epidemiology, Event Tree Analysis, occupational hygiene, and risk analysis. My dissertation developed predictions of radiation doses from gamma rays and radon progeny in underground mine air for the Olympic Dam Copper-Uranium mine, then in underground exploration development and initial design phase. Awarded Safety Institute of Australia Prize.

M.Sc (Hons), University of Wollongong, Physics, 1996-98. My thesis was on ‘The Technical and Economic Feasibility of Mining the Near-Earth Asteroids’. This work later won an unsolicited grant from the US Foundation for the International Non-governmental Development of Space (FINDS), worth many tens of thousands of dollars! These studies were revisited in 2011, resulting in my co-founding, in July 2012,of Deep Space Industries Inc, and more recently, of Beyond Earth Resources Pty Ltd, in 2018, in both cases with the intent to mine asteroids to supply resources in space

Work History

  • Science teacher, Physics and Chemistry, Monaro High School, Cooma, NSW, 1969
  • Physics lecturer, University of Papua New Guinea, 1970-75.Developed and ran contract training course for Weather Observers. Developed and taught a wide range of undergraduate courses (including innovative self-paced2ndyearcoursesin Quantum Physics, Thermal Physics, and Electricity &Magnetism).Lecturer-in-charge, 1styear common-core Physics 101. Research in atmospheric physics and soil physics. Sub-Dean, Science Faculty.
  • First full-time uranium mine Radiation Safety Officer in Australia, at Mary Kathleen Uranium,1977-78
  • Radiation Safety Officer, Pancontinental Mining, 1979-81. Wrote the radiation and safety chapters of Jabiluka Project EIS. Visited uranium mines in US and Canada. Set up Operators’ Radiation Committee , for industry-wide uranium mine RSOs’ mutual assistance and networking.
  • Ministerial Appointee, Northern Territory Radiographers’ Registration Board, 1980-81
  • Second ments to Nabarlek and Ranger uranium mines in the Northern Territory during 1979 and 1980.
  • Consulted on radiation safety in mineral sand mining, for WA Chamber of Mines and Energy, 1981.
  • First Radiation & Safety Superintendent, 1981-90, at Western Mining Corporation (WMC) Olympic Dam Project Copper-Uranium-Gold project (Roxby Downs, South Australia). This is a very large underground mine and concentrator / hydrometallurgical plant / smelter / electrolytic refinery. Involved in initial mining and metallurgical concepts development, PFS, and BFS; wrote radiation and safety chapters of EIS; prepared design criteria for OH&S and radiation controls; set up occupational radiation and industrial hygiene monitoring & control programs and reporting mechanisms; industrial safety and hazardous chemicals management system, and inductions, reviews, training, and workers’ compensation system. Worked closely with Emergency Response personnel to define radiological and chemical spill response requirements. Developed the Uranium Transport Spill Emergency Response Plan. Obtained approvals and negotiated licence conditions, initially for the underground exploration, starting in 1982, then the Pilot Plant which operated 1984-5, and then for the full-scale Mine and Treatment Plant which became operational in 1987-88. Trouble-shooting on mine ventilation for radon and silica control and on various chemical and radionuclide-control issues within smelter and hydrometallurgical plant on startup. Supervised development of world-first real-time in-mine multi-sensor radon daughter monitoring network. Responsible for recruiting training& managing a team of about 12 professional and technical staff
  • Consulted to SANTOS on NORM (Naturally Occurring Radioactive Materials) in scales and sludges in oil and gas industry; NORM survey of their Port Bonython gas separation facility, South Australia, 1984.
  • Member, International Labour Organization Expert Group tasked to rewrite the Industrial Radiation Workers Safety Guideline, Geneva Switzerland, September, 1986.
  • With 5 colleagues, planned and constructed the first rental accommodation in the new town of Roxby Downs, South Australia. Organized plans, incorporated company (‘Asteroid Enterprises Pty Ltd’), raised finance, purchased land, constructed units, and acted as landlord (1986-1990).
  • First WMC (Western Mining Corporation) Group Manager, Occupational Health & Safety, 1990-95. Setup corporate OH&S systems, reporting procedures, and auditing. Supervised development of accident /injury reporting and statistics database (ACCSTAT), which became a substantial success with sales to over 20 other mining companies. Implemented company-wide occupational hygiene initiatives. Audited OH&S management of gold, copper, nickel and oil operations in Australia, US, Canada, Chile, Brazil and Fiji. Conducted NORM (Naturally Occurring Radioactive Materials)reviews for WMC Petroleum in WA offshore and West Texas / New Mexico / Louisiana operations. Achieved a 3-fold reduction in LTIFR and Corporate Workers Comp. premium costs. Supervised a staff of five in corporate office, with technical overview for over 50 site based safety, hygiene, and emergency response personnel.
  • Resigned from WMC in Feb 1995 to set up Mark Sonter Consulting P/L (later rebadged as Radiation Advice & Solutions P/L),and restarted Asteroid Enterprises P/L, to pursue space resources studies.
  • Visiting Scholar at the Lunar & Planetary Laboratory, University of Arizona, April-July 1995. Awarded MSc(Hons) from Wollongong Univ. for thesis on mining the Near-Earth Asteroids, 1995-98
  • Contracted by WA EPA to review the proposal to dispose of Rare Earth Plant radioactive thorium hydroxide wastes at Mt Walton Intractable Waste Disposal Facility, near Kalgoorlie, WA, 1996.
  • Consulted to Western Mining Corp on management of contaminant asbestos in nickel ores, 1995-96.Major leadership role in handling the white asbestos issue at Mt Keith Nickel during commissioning
  • Consulted on environmental cleanup of WMC’s Yeelirrie Uranium Project mine site, and demolition, disposal, and radiological decontamination of Kalgoorlie (vanadium-uranium) Research Plant, including setup and operation of the monitoring programs, and training of monitoring assistant, 1996-97.
  • Consultant, General Atomics’ Beverley In Situ Leach Uranium Project South Australia: licence applications, concept development, Radiation Safety Officer (RSO) for field leach trial and pilot plant, trained monitoring staff, wrote EIS radiation and safety input 1996-98, responsible for licencing.
  • Member, Maralinga Atomic Test Range Cleanup Project Health Physics Audit team, set up to review the radiation safety of the cleanup, for Dept of Primary Industries &Energy, March 1997 & June 1998.
  • Consultant to CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization) on exhumation and remediation of animal husbandry research laboratory radioactive waste disposal site, 1997.
  • Member of drafting panel for Radioactive Ores Mining and Processing Code, RPS#9 (publ. 2005)
  • Responsible for License Application, Plan Approval, and RSO for monitoring and control in the demolition and cleanup of WMC’s Olympic Dam Uranium-Copper Pilot Plant, 1998-99.
  • Review for SA Dept of Mines of cleanup requirements for old uranium mining and processing sites at Radium Hill and Port Pirie, and on development of Departmental Radiation Management Plan,1998.
  • Consultant RSO, Ranger Uranium Mine, and for Jabiluka mine underground development during initial ore access period; advisor on radiation protection planning for future mine development; conducted major underground radiation studies campaign, Jabiluka mine, 1998-99.
  • Advice and training for BHP Whyalla Steelworks on radiation issues in installation and commissioning of new 5-strand continuous caster utilizing Cobalt-60 level gauges for liquid steel flow control, 1999.


  • Short courses for Australian Mineral Foundation (on radiation control in uranium and mineral sands mining, for geologists, RSOs, and project engineers), BHP Whyalla (to prepare applicants for exams for licences to handle sealed radioactive sources, for x-ray analysis technicians, and for industrial radiographers), and WMC-Roxby Downs (theory courses for radiation control, occupational hygiene, and mine ventilation staff), 1998-2001.
  • Grant recipient (invited application) from Foundation for the International Non-governmental Development of Space (FINDS) to develop concepts for asteroid mining, 1999-2000.
  • Advice on radiation control aspects of demolition and decontamination of Asian Rare Earths plant (incl. disposal of Thorium Hydroxide waste)for project tender documentation, Ipoh, Malaysia, 2000.
  • Advice on management of NORM in iron ores inter plant, Port Kembla Steelworks (2000, 2005).
  • Senior Policy Advisor, NSW EPA Radiation Control Branch (May 2001 to Dec 2003), advice in mineral sand mines legacy cleanup criteria, advice for cleanup of historical radium refinery contamination, and on licensing requirements for new mineral sands projects. Policy development for the regulation of medical x-ray and radionuclide usage. Wrote licence conditions for the first medical cyclotron and associated positron emitting radiopharmaceuticals production facility under NSW regulation.
  • Advice for demolition and decontamination of mineral sands dry plant, 2003.
  • Consultant / contractor RSO,ERA-Ranger Uranium Mine, intermittent advisory and RSO roles, 2004to2010, including RSO in charge, Yellowcake Calciner Change-out Project, 2010.
  • Consultant, uranium, REE, & mineral sands projects, Australia, Peru, Tanzania, Zambia, Botswana
  • Developed 1-week course on Radiation Safety in Mining, presented six-monthly since Nov 2006
  • Advice on NORM in Oil & Gas Production for upstream service company, Darwin (2006-2010)
  • Consultant, variously, Nolans Bore, Browns Range, and Lynas Rare Earth Projects (2006–2019)
  • Co-Founder, Deep Space Industries 2012-17; authored Concepts Development/ Scoping Study
  • Member, Queensland Radiation Advisory Council, 2005 to 2018, reporting to Minister of Health
  • Co-founder, Asteroid Resource Projects Planning & Services Pty Ltd, 2019

Member, Australasian Radiation Protection Society (ARPS),and Australian Institute of Occupational Hygienists (AIOH), since 1980

Certified RSO, Qld; and Radiation Use Licencee SA, WA, NSW, Qld; Accreditation to Test, NT; Radioactive Materials Transport Licence, WA, NT, and Qld (SA and NSW do not require)

PUBLICATIONS and PRESENTATIONS ( space mining writings in bold )

Carbon Dioxide as a Limiting Factor in Plant Growth: a literature survey–University of Papua New Guinea Dept of Physics Technical Paper, May 1971.

Evapotranspiration-UPNG Department of Physics Technical Paper, Oct. 71

Bibliography of Science Education in Papua New Guinea-Science in New Guinea 1, No. 1 Nov 72

Cloudstreets and Wind Structure-Science in New Guinea 2, No. 2 Sept 74

Teaching Projects in Micrometeorology-Science in New Guinea2,No. 2 Sept 74.

Measurements of Ore Dust in a Uranium Mill, and their significance in Estimates of Radiation Doses to Internal Organs of Workers-M.App.Sc.thesis, Dept of Physics, Queensland Institute of Technology, 1978.

Radiation Safety in Uranium Mining-Australian Radiation Protection Society Conference, May 1980.

Investigation of Radiation Parameters in a Uranium Orebody and their Significance for Mine Design-Dissertation for Graduate Diploma in Occ. Hazard Mgt., Ballarat CAE, School of Engineering, 1983

A Proposal for a Space-based Resources Project-2nd Aust. Space Engineering Conference, Sydney, March 1985.

Gamma Dose Rates as a Function of Ore Grades in Underground Uranium Mines-Radiation Protection in Australia. Vol 5 No 3, 1987.

Estimation of Radon Daughter Levels for Mine Ventilation Design–Rad’n Prot’n in Australia Vol 5 No 3, 1987.

Radioactive Dust Dose Calculations Using the Recommendations of the ICRP (with J Hondros)-Radiation Protection in Australia Vol 5 No 3, 1987.

Statistical Presentation of Radiation Dose Data for the Olympic Dam Project (with J Hondros)-Radiation Protection in Australia Vol 6 No 2, 1988

Occupational Health and Radiation Protection at Olympic Dam-Annual Conference, Australian Institute of Occupational Hygienists, Leura, Dec. 1988

Radon-Radon Daughter Equilibrium Factor Measurements in an Operating Uranium Mine (with J Warneke)-Radiation Protection in Australia Vol 7 No 3, 1989

Personal Dose Estimations for Olympic Dam’s First Year of Production (with J Hondros)-Radiation Prot’n in Australia Vol 7 No 3 1989

Radiation Dose Control in Mining: What is “As Low As Reasonably Achievable?”-Mine safe International, Perth,1990, WA Chamber of Mines

Annotated Bibliography-Arsenic and Smelters-WMC Technical Paper, 1992.

Development of a Corporate Health & Safety Function within WMC-Futuresafe, Adelaide, May 1992

OH&S in the Mining Industry:Concepts and Management-AIC Conference presentation, July 1992.

Occurrence and Management of Contaminant Asbestos in Western Australian Mines (with G Hewson, H Herbert, and A Rogers)-Minesafe International, 1993, WA Chamber of Mines, Perth.

Asbestos Occurrence, Measurement, and Epidemiology: Annotated Bibliography (with H Jenkin)-WMC Technical Paper, 1994.

Difficulties in Assessment of Asbestos Exposure in Metalliferous Mining (with G Hewson)-J. Occ Health &Safety-Aust. & N.Z., Oct 1994.

OH&S Concepts for Risk Managers-Corporate Risk Magazine, March 1995.

Regulation of Risk in Occupational Health & Safety-IPA Review, Oct 1995.

Independent Review of the Proposal to Dispose of Rare-Earth Plant Wastes at the Intractable Waste Disposal Facility operated by Waste Management Division of the Western Australian Department of Environment and Planning at Mt. Walton East.-WA EPA Bulletin, April 1996

Radiation Doses during Demolition of a Uranium Pilot Plant (with C Woolard)–Physics, Engineering, &Radiation in Medicine Conference, Adelaide, Sept 1997.

Environmental Radiation in the Beverley In-Situ Leach Uranium Project (with L Tracy)-Physics, Engineering,& Radiation in Medicine Conference, Adelaide, Sept 1997

The Technical and Economic Feasibility of Mining the Near-Earth Asteroids – MSc(Hons) thesis, Dept . of Physics, University of Wollongong, 1997.

The Technical & Economic Feasibility of Mining Near Earth Asteroids-Acta Astronautica41, pp637-647, 1997

Development of Asteroid Mining Concepts(and Initial Simulants TestResults)(with W Zealey & SKollias)-Space 2000, Albuquerque, Amer. Soc.of Civil Engineers, March 2000.

Underground Radiation Studies and Findings in the Jabiluka Ore Access Drive during and after its Development-Australasian Radiation Protection Society Conference, June 2000.

Underground Radiation Studies and Findings in the Jabiluka Ore Access Drive during and after its Development-Australasian Radiation Protection Society Conference, June 2000.

Near Earth Objects as Resources for Space Industrialization–Solar System Development Journal, June 2001,

Rehabilitation of Radioactively Contaminated Sites-Four Case Studies-ARPS Conference, Sept 2001.

Radon Flux from Rehabilitated and Unrehabilitated Uranium Tailings Deposits (with Samantha Holdsworth and Riaz Akber) -Australasian Radiation Protection Society Journal19No. 1, April 2002

Asteroid Mining and Impactor Deflection: A Dual-Use Capability–Australian Minor Planet Workshop, Nelsons Bay,NSW,July 2003.

Gamma Dose rates over Land Contaminated with Uranium and Thorium decay chain Nuclides (with Mike Carter)–Australasian Radiation Protection Society Conference, Hobart September 2003.

NORM-Naturally Occurring Radioactive Materials-Their Ubiquity and the Regulatory Issues-ARPS Conference, Hobart September 2003.

Thirty Years of Uranium Mining: What have we learnt?–ARPS Conference Brisbane 2007.

Radiation Management of NORM in the Oil Industry (with Katrina Sonter and Cameron Wills)–ARPS Conference Fremantle 2009.

Radiation Protection in a Rare Earths Project (with Gavin Beer)–ARPS Conference Fremantle 2009

Mining Concepts Development for Accessing Asteroid Resources–Space Manufacturing 14, Critical Technologies for Space Settlement, Space Studies Institute, NASA Ames, Oct 2010

‘Don’t send the Astronauts to an Asteroid, Bring the Asteroids to the Astronauts’–International Space Development Conference, Washington DC June 2012 (with A Globus, S Covey, J Luebke & C Cassell).

Project Concepts for Near-term Commercial Asteroid Mining–Off Earth Mining Forum, Australian Centre for Space Engineering Research, Univ. of NSW, Sydney, Feb 2013.

Applying Terrestrial Mining Concepts to Asteroid Mining Projects, ISDC, La Jolla, May 2013

The Boyce Worthley Oration: A Health Physicist’s Review of the History of Uranium Mining in Australia (keynote), ARPS Conf., Cairns, Oct 2013 (& Radiation Protection in Australasia, Apr 2014, Vol 31 No 1)

Applying Terrestrial Mining Concepts to Asteroid Resource Projects–International Space University Southern Hemisphere Summer Program, Univ of South Australia, Feb 2014 (keynote)

Mineral Resource Estimation for Asteroid Mining Projects–with S.Covey, JS Lewis, and A Rao, Lunar & Planetary Science Conference, Houston, Mar 2014.

Applying Terrestrial Mining Concepts to Asteroid Resource Assessments, AMIRA International Geoscience Exploration Managers Conference, Barossa Valley, March 2015 (keynote).

Gamma Doserates over Land Contaminated with U or Th minerals (with Mike Carter as original co-author)-Radiation Protection in Australasia May 2015, Vol 32 No 1.

Mulga Rock Uranium Project Radon Testwork (with Xavier Moreau & Morris Wu)-Rad’n Protection in Australasia, May 2015, Vol 32 No 1

Advances in Development of Asteroid Mining Concepts: Target Selection, Regolith Modelling, and Resource Definition,2nd Off Earth Mining Forum, UNSW, November 2015.

Thinking about Thorium and Thoron: Radiation Studies & Interpretations for a Rare Earths Project(with JimHondros)-ARPS Conference 2015; Radiation Protection in Australia,May2016, Vol 33, No 1

Behaviour of Radon and its short & long lived daughters in LNG Liquification Plants–Radiation Protection in Australia, June 2017

Offworld Economy–Profits in Space from Asteroid Mining: Feature Article /extended interview in Popular Science Australia, Aug 2017

Scoping Studies for Asteroid Mining Projects–Off-EarthMiningForum3, UNSW, Sydney, Sept 2017

Space Mining–What’s it all about?–AusIMM Future Mining Conference, Sydney, Nov 2019

Why the Near Earth Asteroids are the Targets of Choice for Near Term Space Resource Projects–Off-Earth Mining Forum 4, UNSW, November 2019.