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Michel Aubertin
B.Sc.A. et Ing. (Sherbrooke), M.Sc.A., Ph.D. (École Polytechnique de Montréal)

Research interests and affiliations

Research interests

- Mining geotechnique 
- Mine waste management
- Environment and hydrogeology
- Rock behavior
- Stability of openings in rock masses

Expertise type(s) (NSERC subjects)
  • 1002 Geotechnical engineering (including engineering geology)
  • 1401 Mining engineering
  • 1403 Rock mechanics
  • 1501 Water quality, pollution


Recent publications


Michel Aubertin obtained his bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering from the Université de Sherbrooke Coop program in 1979. He then went on to complete a Master’s degree in Geotechnique and a Ph.D. in Geomechanics at École Polytechnique de Montréal.

M. Aubertin worked as a Project Engineer for a consulting firm specialized in geotechnique and materials testing from 1979 to 1983. In 1984, he joined the Department of Applied Sciences at the Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue (UQAT) as an Assistant Professor. He later became in charge of the undergraduate engineering program (offered in collaboration with École Polytechnique) and was also Director-Founder of the Unité de recherche et de service en technologie minérale ( He was hired at École Polytechnique in July 1989; he became Associate Professor in 1992 and full Professor in 1996. From 1994 to 1999, he was responsible for the undergraduate coop program in mining engineering at Polytechnique.

Throughout his academic career, Professor Aubertin maintained an extensive research program that has been strongly supported by funding agencies and private companies. In June 2001, he was appointed to the Industrial NSERC Polytechnique-UQAT Chair in Environment and Mine Wastes Management. This Industrial Research Chair (IRC) involved the participation of two universities, as well as mining companies, specialized consulting firms and government agencies. The mandate of the IRC was renewed by NSERC in June 2006 for a second (extended) phase that ended in December 2012. Between 2013 and 2016, Dr Aubertin was the Scientific Director of the Research Institute on Mines and the Environment (RIME UQAT-Polytechnique; at École Polytechnique; the work of RIME is financed by industrial and governmental funding.

Professor Aubertin’s teaching and research activities are mainly focused on mining geotechnique. Over the years, Professor Aubertin has directed or co-directed more than 110 graduate students, including about 30 Ph.D. candidates, 60 Masters, and 20 Post-doctoral fellows and researchers; furthermore, 11 students enrolled in European universities (from France, Belgium and Switzerland) have conducted their research project (typically for 6 to 8 months) under his supervision. About 35 undergrad students have also been involved in his research program during coop work terms and final (undergraduate thesis) projects.

In addition to teaching at École Polytechnique, Dr Aubertin has provided several professional development courses on various geotechnical topics for different organisations. His teaching contributions also include the creation of the first French-language undergraduate and graduate courses on mine wastes management in Canada. He is the first author of the Manual Environnement et gestion des rejets miniers (in CD-ROM format), published in 2002 by Presses Internationales Polytechnique; this is the first French-language manual on the subject of mining wastes management worldwide, and it is used in Canada and other francophone countries.

Professor Aubertin is also recognized for his research contributions related to the geomechanical behaviour of rock and rock masses, analysis of backfilled stopes, unsaturated water flow in and around disposal sites, design of surface disposal facilities (including tailings dikes), environmental management of mining wastes, covers to control acid mine drainage, and reclamation of mine sites. He is the author of more than 300 papers published in scientific journals and refereed conference proceedings, and over 100 technical reports and articles. His research programs have received substantial funding from several agencies (NSERC, FRQNT, IRSST, MEND), governmental departments (Natural Resources, Environment, Science and Technology), mining companies and consulting firms.

Professor Aubertin was director of the rock mechanics division of the Canadian Geotechnical Society, going on to become one of the Society’s two vice-presidents (1997- 1998). He co-edited the proceedings of the 1st Canadian Conference on Environmental Geotechnics (1991), was President and Editor of the 2nd North American Rock Mechanics Symposium (NARMS ’96), and President of the 4th Conference on the Mechanical Behaviour of Salt (MECASALT IV) for which he also edited the proceedings. He was Associate Editor of the Canadian Geotechnical Journal (for 5 years) and was on the editorial board of the Pergamon-Elsevier International Journal of Plasticity (for 7 years). He chaired the Canadian Geotechnical Research Board for 4 years. He then became President (2009- 2010) of the Canadian Geotechnical Society ( He later helped create and was the first Chair of the Mining Geotechnique technical committee of CGS (2011-2014). Since January 2015, Dr Aubertin is the CGS Executive Director (on a part time basis).

He continues to be involved in the organization of congresses, seminars, and national and international conferences. He regularly acts as a reviewer for scientific committees, technical journals, and funding agencies such as the NSERC (Civil Engineering Grant GSC 06, Committee member and Chair; Selection Committee for the E.W.R. Steacie Fellowships, Discovery Accelerator Grants, and Herzberg Medal), the FCAR-NATEQ (Young Researchers Program), and the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI, Chair, Expert panel on Environment-Water). He was a Board member for the Canadian Mining Innovation Council (CMIC) and the Institut national des mines du Québec (INMQ). In 2013, he was invited by the Canadian Council of Academies to join the Expert Panel on “The Potential for New and Emerging Technologies to Reduce the Environmental Impacts of Oil Sands Development”; the Panel published its report in June 2015.

Dr Aubertin is a member of various professional organisations including the OIQ (Ordre des ingénieurs du Québec), CGS, CIM, ASCE, and CSCE. He has been acting as a specialized consultant for several organizations, mining companies and consulting firms.

Michel Aubertin received various awards for his teaching and research activities. These include: Fellow of the Canadian Society for Civil Engineers (1999); the J.A. Franklin and Stermac Awards from the Canadian Geotechnical Society (1999); the R&D Award of Excellence from the North American Geosynthetics Society (NAGS, 1999); the Mérite géoscientifique du Québec (2001); and the Réseau Environnement Arnold Drapeau award (2001). In 2003, Professor Aubertin was named Fellow by the Canadian Academy of Engineering (FCAE) and the Engineering Institute of Canada (FEIC). In 2005, he received the John B. Sterling medal from the EIC for his leadership and professional contributions. In 2008, he was invited to present the Cross Canada Lecture Tour by the Canadian Geotechnical Society. In April 2012, ADRIQ and NSERC awarded his Industrial Research Chair a prize for partnership accomplishment. He was selected to give the R. M. Hardy Address at the opening of the CGS GeoMontreal 2013 Conference; that same year, he was invited to give Keynote Lectures at the Canadian Dams Association annual Conference and at the Tailings and Mine Waste Conference. He received the 2014 CSCE's Thomas C. Keefer Medal for a paper that he co-authored and published in the Canadian Geotechnical Journal. A few months later, he received the 2014 CGS Geoenvironmental Award. In April 2015, he was given the best paper Award for a technical paper published in the IMWA (Mine Water and the Environment) Journal. He presented a Keynote lecture at the ASCE Geo-Institute Conference GeoChicago 2016. In April 2017, he was awarded the Julian C. Smith Medal from the EIC for his contributions to the development of Canada. He was named Professor Emeritus at Polytechnique shortly after his retirement in February 2017. In 2018, he received the Frederick W. Firlotte Career Distinction at the Symposium on Mines and the Environment (UQAT-URSTM-CIM), and a few months later the Robert F. Legget Medal, which is the highest honour given by the Canadian Geotechnical Society.


Teaching in undergraduate program

  • MIN3313 - Environment and management of mine wastes (in part)
  • MIN3311 - Géotechnique minière

Teaching in graduate program

  • GML 6003 - Geomaterial seminars (in part)
  • GML 6112 - Mine environment and sites restoration (in part)

Supervision at Polytechnique


News about Michel Aubertin

NEWS | November 13, 2018
Professor Michel Aubertin receives the 2018 R.F. Legget Medal from the Canadian Geotechnical Society | Read
NEWS | February 23, 2015
Two new research projects near $2 million for RIME UQÀT-Polytechnique | Read

Press review about Michel Aubertin

October 15, 2023, ICI Nouvelles, Restaurations minières : mythe ou réalité? Michel Aubertin, professeur au Département de génies civil, géologique et des mines, explique ses travaux sur le projet Manitou de la minière Agnico Eagle.
June 18, 2020, Ici Radio-Canada, Un doctorat honoris causa de l'UQAT pour les fondateurs du Festival du cinéma Mention de Michel Aubertin, professeur émérite au Département des génies civil, géologique et des mines de Polytechnique Montréal.
June 19, 2018, Radio-Canada, Des matins en or - Symposium Mine : Michel Aubertin, invité spécial Entrevue de Michel Aubertin, professeur émérite au Département des génies civil, géologique et des mines de Polytechnique Montréal (0:35).
February 17, 2017, UQAT, Des chercheurs de l'IRME UQAT-Polytechnique honorés par l'Institut canadien des ingénieurs Michel Aubertin, directeur scientifique de l'IRME à Polytechnique Montréal (2013-2016), recevra la prestigieuse médaille Julian C. Smith.