Dr Italo Onederra

Senior Lecturer

School of Mechanical and Mining Engineering
Faculty of Engineering, Architecture and Information Technology
+61 7 336 54780


Dr Onederra is a senior lecturer at The School of Mechanical and Mining Engineering of the University of Queensland and an internationally recognised expert in explosives and advanced blasting engineering. Dr Onederra holds a Bachelor of Engineering (Civil) with Honours from the University of Melbourne, Masters of Engineering Science and PhD from the University of Queensland. He has over 20 years of experience in the field of explosives engineering, blast design & analysis, performance monitoring and process optimisation. He has been actively involved in R&D and expert consulting in several mining operations and associated clients in Australia, South America, Africa and Europe. Dr Onederra has been actively engaged with industry through a wide network of contacts in Australia and Overseas, particularly Latin America given his background and ability to communicate in Spanish at the corporate, technical and operational levels.

Over the years Dr Onederra has been recognised for contributions in blast performance monitoring, applied modelling and process optimisation. He has developed predictive fragmentation modelling tools that have been successfully embedded in commercial software that is now used by industry in over 60 countries. He has a strong record of publications in international conferences and top-rated mining engineering journals. In 2014 he was awarded the Douglas Hay Medal from the Institute of Materials Minerals and Mining (UK) for the best journal publication contributing to the further understanding of confined blasting techniques such as preconditioning and de-stressing.

Recently Dr Onederra established a research group that is leading the development of novel explosives that can eliminate hazardous nitrogen oxide fumes. The development of this technology has been supported by industry and recognised as one that could potentially disrupt the well-established ammonium nitrate based industry. The application of this new technology is expected to span across mining and civil construction industries.

Research Interests

  • Alternative explosive formulations
    Since 2014 I have been involved in the development of novel explosive formulations to eliminate nitrogen oxide emissions (fumes) after rock blasting. The Australian Coal Association Research Program (ACARP) has contributed significantly to this as it is an issue affecting Coal operations. The idea to solve this problem came from one of my PhD students and involves replacing ammonium nitrate with hydrogen peroxide as the main oxidizer in explosives. We are currently at the testing stages and are facing many challenges, one of which is making sure that the product is stable in blastholes over long periods. To that end we have looked at different alternatives such as manufacturing higher density prills using different types of cross-linkers (gums) and sustainable fuels. We are also looking at surfactants and other type of stabilizers to make peroxide more stable.
  • Blast fragmentation and damage modelling
  • Fragment conditioning
  • Blast performance monitoring
  • Open pit and underground drilling and blasting
  • Explosive rock breakage

Research Impacts

My area of expertise is in the science of explosive rock breakage, together with the development and implementation of advanced blasting engineering technologies. My research currently focuses on novel explosive formulations to minimise environmental impacts, development of advanced sensors and blast performance monitoring techniques; engineering design and modelling tools to improve safety productivity and minimise the energy footprint of mining activities.


  • PhD, The University of Queensland
  • Master of Engineering, The University of Queensland
  • Bachelor of Engineering (Hons), University of Melbourne


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  • Doctor Philosophy

  • Master Philosophy

  • Master Philosophy

View all Supervision


Featured Publications

Journal Article

Conference Publication

Other Outputs

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Note for students: Dr Italo Onederra is not currently available to take on new students.

Current Supervision

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Master Philosophy — Principal Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Master Philosophy — Principal Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Joint Principal Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Master Philosophy — Associate Advisor

    Other advisors:

Completed Supervision