Rennie Kaunda

Assistant Professor, Mining Engineering

Rennie Kaunda

Academic Appointment and Responsibilities

2014 – Present: Colorado School of Mines, Department of Mining Engineering, Assistant Professor

Responsibilities include the education, mentoring, and professional development of undergraduate and graduate students, the pursuit of research activities, and performing service contributions both internal and external to CSM. Current research interests include fundamental and applied rock mechanics in mining and civil operations, slope stability, computational and applied artificial neural networks in mining and earth systems engineering, occupational health & safety, and environmental sustainability.

Current Research

  • Artificial Neural Networks Applications in Surface and Underground Mining
  • Slope Stability
  • Internal Erosion in Embankments
  • Rock Fragmentation Optimization
  • Characterization of Deep In-Situ Stresses

Professional Experience

  • 2011 – 2013: SRK Consulting Inc.
  • 2007 – 2011: Golder Associates Inc.
  • 2006 – 2007: Michigan Department of Environmental Quality
  • 1999: Zambia Consolidated Copper Mines

Professional Certifications

  • Colorado Professional Geotechnical Engineer (License #48308)
  • Occupational Health and Safety Hazardous Waste Certification
  • MSHA Safety Certificate


  • Ph.D. Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, Michigan (2007)
  • M.S. University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona (2002)
  • B.S. University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona (1999)

Honors and Awards

  • WMU Research Grant
  • David Kuenzi Award
  • GSA Research Fellowship
  • Phi Eta Sigma Honor Society Award
  • ZAL Holdings Fellowship

Professional Affiliations

  • International Society of Rock Mechanics
  • Society of Mining, Metallurgy, and Exploration
  • American Society of Civil Engineers
  • Association of Environmental and Engineering Geologists
  • Geological Society of America

Peer Reviewed Publications

  • Kaunda, R. “Predicting shear strengths of mine waste rock dumps and rockfill using artificial neural networks.” International Journal of Mining and Mineral Engineering, under review.
  • Kaunda, R. “New artificial neural networks for true triaxial stress state analysis and demonstration of the effects of the intermediate principal stress on intact rock strength.”  Journal of Rock Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering, (2014), DOI:10.1016/j.jrmge.2014.04.008.
  • Kaunda, R. “An extrapolation technique for subsurface geomorphology in active natural slopes using limited borehole deformation data”.  Geomorphology, Vol. 134, No. 3-4 (2011), 503-508.
  • Kaunda, RB. “A linear regression framework for predicting subsurface geometries and displacement rates in deep-seated slow moving landslides”.  Engineering Geology, Vol. 114, No. 1-2 (2010), 1- 9.
  • Kaunda, RB, RB Chase, A Kehew, K Kaugars and J Selegean. “Neural network modeling applications in active slope stability problems”. Environmental Earth Science, Vol. 60, No. 7 (2009), 1545- 1558.
  • Kaunda, RB, RB Chase, A Kehew, K Kaugars and J Selegean. “Interpretation of a progressive slope movement using balanced cross sections and numerical integration”. Environmental and Engineering Geoscience, Vol. 14, No. 2 (2008), 121- 131.
  • Kemeny, J, R Kaunda, E Mofya and P Lever. “Improvements in blast fragmentation models using digital image processing”. Fragblast, Vol. 6 No. 3-4 (2002), 311-320.
  • Kemeny, J, R Kaunda, E Mofya, D Streeter, T Dangi and G Perry. “Effect of blasting on the crushability and grindability of rock fragments”. NARMS-TAC, Toronto, Canada, 2002.
  • Call, C.J., Gleason, A.E., Kaunda, R.B.,  Mcneill, M.J., Mkandawire, E., Palmer, J.D., Portney, B.S.,  Sternberg, B.K., Tembo, J., Wagner, S.L.,  “Geophysical Surveys near Fort Huachuca, Arizona” Geophysics  2002, Laboratory for Advanced Subsurface Imaging (LASI), The University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, 2002.
  • Kemeny, J, E Mofya and R Kaunda. “Predicting blast fragmentation using digital image processing and drill monitoring data”. Proceedings of the International Symposium of Mine Planning and Equipment Selection (ISMPES), New Delhi, 2001.


  • Bouali, H.Y., Kaunda, R., Chase, R.B., Kehew, A.E., “The stability of the Lake Michigan Bluffs in Allegan County, Michigan, and the relationships between air temperature, groundwater levels, and downslope displacement”.  Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs Vol. 45 No. 4 47th Annual Meeting, MI, May 2013.
  • Chase, R, A Kehew, R Kaunda and M Glynn. “Mitigation of slope failures in a freeze/thaw environment by removal of ground water”. Proceedings of the First North American Landslide Conference, Vail, CO, June, 2007.
  • Kaunda, R. “Mathematical and Artificial Neural Network Modeling of Landslides”. Western Michigan University Graduate College Annual Award Ceremony, Kalamazoo, MI, April 2007.
  • Kaunda, R, R Chase and A Kehew. “Effects of ground water flow patterns on slope stability”. Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs Vol. 38, No. 7 Annual Meeting, Philadelphia, PA,  October 2006
  • Kaunda, R, R Chase and A Kehew. “Using rate-dependent relationships from inclinometer data to monitor landslides and slope movements”. Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs Vol. 38. No. 7 Annual Meeting, Philadelphia, PA, October 2006.
  • Kaunda, R, R Chase, A Kehew and K Kaugars. “Neural network modeling of failure surface development in bluff displacement studies using a simple pole-and-cable survey system”. Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs Vol. 38 No. 4 North Central Region Meeting, Akron, OH, April 2006.
  • Kaunda, R, R Chase, A Kehew and K Kaugars. “Application of a Gaussian quadrature algorithm to cross section constructions in bluff displacement modeling studies”. Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs Vol. 37 No. 7 Annual Meeting, Denver, CO, October 2005.
  • Kaunda, R, M Glynn, R Chase and A Kehew. 2005. “Bluff stabilization along Lake Michigan using active and passive dewatering techniques”. National Defense and Industry Association (NDIA) Conference, St. Louis, MO, September. 2005.
  • Kemeny, J, R Kaunda, D Streeter and T Bobo. “Effect of blasting on the strength of rock fragments”. Proceedings of the 29th Annual Conference on Explosives and Blasting Technique, International Society of Explosive Engineers, Nashville, TN, 2003.
  • Kemeny, J, J Mofya, R Kaunda, G Perry and B Morin. “Improvements in blast fragmentation models using digital image processing”. Proceedings of the 38th US Rock Mechanics Symposium, Washington, D.C, 2001.


Brown Hall 221
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