Fortieth Annual Meeting – IGUASSU FALLS 2014

The International Tunnelling and Underground Space Association held its fortieth meeting in Iguassu Falls, Brazil, from 9 to 14 May 2014, in conjunction with the World Tunnel Congress 2014 "Tunnels for a better life" organized by ITA and the Brazilian Tunnelling Committee.  More than 1500 persons participated in the Congress. 52 of the 71 Member Nations participated or were represented in the General Assembly.


South Africa, Germany, Saudi Arabia, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium, Bhutan, Bolivia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Republic of Korea, Costa-Rica, Croatia, Denmark, Egypt, Ecuador, Spain, United States of America, Finland, France, Greece, Hungary, India, Iran, Iceland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Norway, The Netherlands, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Romania, United Kingdom, Russia, Serbia, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, Czech Republic, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine.


Algeria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cambodia, United Arab Emirates, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Lao PDR, Lesotho, Macedonia (FYROM), Malaysia, Morocco, Montenegro, Myanmar, Nepal, Panama, Singapore, Slovakia, Venezuela, Vietnam.



The ITA General Assembly has elected a new member of the council: Mrs Anna Sieminska-Lewandowska from Poland.


Søren Degn Eskesen, President, Denmark (2013-2016)
In-Mo Lee, Korea, Past President (2013-2016)
Rick P. Lovat, First Vice-President, Canada (2013-2016)
Tarcisio Celestino, Vice-President, Brazil (2013-2016)
Amanda Elioff, Vice-President,USA (2013-2016)
Daniele Peila, Vice-President, Italy (2013-2016)
Alexandre Gomes, Chile (2013-2016)
Ruth Gunlaug Haug, Norway (2013-2016)
Nikolaos Kazilis, Greece (2013-2016)
Eric Leca, France (2013-2016)
Jinxiu (Jenny) Yan, China (2013-2016)
Anna Sieminska Lewandowska (2014-2017)
Felix Amberg, Treasurer, Switzerland (2013-2016)
Davorin Kolic, Croatia (2012-2015)



The Association has registered the membership of  12 new Affiliate Members (11 Corporate Members and 1 Individual Member); the total results to 71 Member Nations and 285 Affiliate Members (192 Corporate Members and 93 Individual Members) taking into account some resignations. One company joined as Prime Sponsor (Total: 15) and 8 became Supporters (total: 52). The General Assembly voted the creation of a Young Member Group as well as new Membership fees for members.

The General Assembly approved the creation of a Young Member Group inside ITA which main goals are:

  • to provide a technical networking platform within ITA for young professionals and students;
  • to bridge the gap between generations and to network across all experience levels in the industry;
  • awareness of the tunnelling and underground space industry to new generations;
  • to provide young professionals and students with a voice in the ITA, including the Working Groups;
  • to look after the next generation of tunnelling professionals and to pass on the aims and ideals of the ITA.


The Open Session, which took place on May 13th, was dedicated on "Underground Space and Natural Ressources" with a special focus on Mining.

 "Mining operations are always very complicated . Ramps and access tunnels, the use of TBMs is becoming standard around the world" recalled Mark Diederichs, Queens University professor in Canada. "There are many opportunities and challenges. Both the industry and the mining tunnels have to adjust and adapt to face these challenges." Besides Diederichs, the following participated in the debate: Alexandre Gomes, Member of ITA Executive Committee and Chairman of ITA Chilean Committee of Tunnels and Underground Space, Yann Leblais, Ppresident of the French Association of Tunnels and Underground Space and Global Head of Infrastructure Arcadis, Jorge Baraqui Schwarze, Manager of Continuous Mining Codelco, Frode M. Nielsen, President of Leonard Nilsen & Sonner AS ( LNS ), and Sergio Brito, President of BVP Engineering . 

Experts advocated mutual cooperation between industries and mining tunnels. An arduous task, but it can bring benefits to both parties. Sergio Brito spoke about some challenges that must be faced by the Brazilian mining industry. "We need to be more competitive in the copper mines projects. Another challenge, even more difficult, is trying to underground mining."

 "Mining is a laboratory scale for the behavior of rocks. And we can learn a lot about the behavior of processes if we add the two activities."

Currently , about 80 % of ore production are derived from open pit mining. A rapid change in this industry is expected over the next 20 or 30 years, due to the decrease in available ore superficial level, the need to preserve the environment and the emergence of new technologies. It is estimated that 50% of the ore production is obtained from underground mining within 20 years.



  • Dubrovnik, Croatia, from May 22 to 28, 2015, during the ITA-AITES WTC 2015 “Promoting Tunnelling in South East European Region”
  • San Francisco, USA, from April 22 to 28, 2016, during the ITA-AITES WTC 2016 “Uniting our Industry”
  • Bergen, Norway, from June 9 to 16, 2017, during the ITA-AITES WTC 2017 “Surface problems – Underground solutions"







The Executive Council held 5 plenary meetings and carried out its traditional activities in taking into account the conclusions of the Auditor’s report, notably to take care of the relationship with the new Member Nations.

To take into account some specific topics the ITA Executive Council created task forces. Five task forces have been activated this year on the following topics:

  • New Strategy
  • Working groups and Committees
  • Industry relations
  • ITA Young Members
  • Open Session 2014


A task force worked during the year to clarify the mission, the goals and actions.

A new vision statement has been defined for the Association :

« ITA, the leading international organization promoting the use of tunnels and underground space through knowledge sharing and application of technology »

Seven strategic goals have been defined :

  • Goal #1: Consolidate/Activate Member Nations – particularly newly joined Member Nations
  • Goal #2: Improve Communication and Functioning of Working Groups and Committees
  • Goal #3: Expand Industry Relations
  • Goal #4: Encourage knowledge sharing through education and training
  • Goal #5: Create and develop an ITA Young Members Group
  • Goal #6: Promote the use of underground space
  • Goal #7: Improve communication towards Member Nations, industry and public


In 2013, the General Assembly lelcted a team of three persons to review the ITA’s compliance against the Code of Ethics & Conduct for NGOs, an initiative of the World Association of Non-Governmental Organizations. The team was able to confirm that the ITA as managed by the ExCo generally complies with the Code of Ethics & Conduct for NGOs.


The Executive Council pursued the development of its relations with the Member Nations in visiting, participating and granting meetings or events organised by 29 Member Nations. It presented ITA at various congresses and meetings in several countries not ITA members yet. 

The contacts with the International Sister Associations PIARC, ISRM, ISSMGE, ITIG, IFME, ISOCARP, ACUUS ICLEI and IRF were pursued. 


The 13 active Working Groups met regularly during WTC and for some of them in between during the year. The production of guidelines and recommendations is increasing and shows good work done by all participants - more information is available on the dedicated web pages.

As mentioned earlier, a task force has dedicated its work to improve relationship between Working Groups, Committees and Executive Council Members, notably concerning the management and the interactions between Working Groups and Committees, the peer reviewing process and a better recognition of the work accomplished.

The ITA four Committees ITA COSUF, ITA-CET, itacus and ITAtech are very active. Three guidelines have been published this year. More information is available on the web page of each committee

During the year, itacus has continued its work with its global partners in participating notably in the World Urban Forum in Medellin (Colombia). During the WTC itacus organised a #u2fc - urban underground future conversation to better address issues such as climate change.

At the WTC, in addition to the work of the different activity groups, ITAtech organised an "Innovation Forum" to discuss on the possible future innovations in the tunnelling industry.


A task force was implemented to better take into account relationship between ITA and the industry at large but mainly the companies Affiliate, Supporter and Prime Sponsor.

A special leaflet summarizing the roles and benefits has been prepared. The table is available on the membership web page  and shows the different benefits for each category.


In 2013, the relationships with the United Nations and specifically with UN-ISDR and UN Habitat have been strengthened with the participation of ITA members in the Urban Planning Group of UN. ITA is now partner of the resilient cities campaign. ITA also participated in the UN Habitat Expert Group on urban drainage and itacus organized side events and training during the World Urban Forum 7 in Medellin (Colombia). 


  • ita@news: 5 issues of the ita@news have been published this year and distributed to about 8’000 subscribers. ITA would like very much to have feedback of regular readers.
  • Tunnelling and Underground Space Technology (TUST): ITA Members have access an electronic version of TUST (including archives).
  • Website: The website which exists since 1998 has been renewed. The new version was online at the occasion of the WTC2013 in Geneva. This new version is more user-friendly and can be seen from computers as well as from tablets or smartphones.The number of distinct visitors has been around 4 700 from 130 countries per month during last year.
  • ITA – Reports: 4 reports have been published, one from ITA Working Group 5, two from ITAtech Activity Groups and one from ITA COSUF Committee: “Refuge Chambers” (WG5), “Guidelines on Monitoring Frequencies in Urban Tunnelling” (AG on Monitoring), “Guidelines on best practices for segment backfilling” (AG on Excavation) and “An engineering methodology for performance-based fire safety design of underground rail systems” (ITA COSUF). All these documents are available free of charge on ITA website and available for comments. 
  • Press: In 2013-2014, ITA has participated directly or indirectly to articles published in technical newspapers or magazines of information such as World Tunnelling (UK), Tunnelling Journal (UK), and Tunnel Talk (USA). ITA is now working with a press agency and the press kit is regularly updated. .
  • Video: ITA produced a video on the DemInar organized by ITAtech in June 2013 on “Sprayable Waterproofing membranes” It is available on the ITA YouTube channel.
  • Social networks: the ITA group in the social network LinkedIn is very active. There are nearly 2 600 members in this group.