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WA School of Mines News

Latest news for the WA School of Mines
20 November 2017
Staff achievements -
From the VC Note to Staff

Associate Professor Roman Pevzner from Curtin WA School of Mines has won the inaugural CO2CRC 2017 John Tyndall Award for Excellence in Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) research. Roman received the award for pushing the boundaries of CO2 monitoring.
10 November 2017
WA’s first aeroplane
Belmont Park racecourse, Friday 10 December 1915. A visiting pressman from the Perth-based Daily News clambers into the cockpit of the first aeroplane built in Western Australia. His purpose? To explain to his readers ‘how it feels to fly’.
8 November 2017
2017 Vice-Chancellor’s Excellence Awards for Professional Staff
Mike Ridout is the individual winner of the 2017 Vice-Chancellor’s Excellence Awards for Professional Staff, 'Excellence in Engagement or Collaboration Award’.
8 November 2017
Professor Pete Kinny
Producing internationally recognised techniques for geological dating.
2 November 2017
WA’s first aeroplane
Belmont Park racecourse, Friday 10 December 1915. A visiting pressman from the Perth-based Daily News clambers into the cockpit of the first aeroplane built in Western Australia. His purpose? To explain to his readers ‘how it feels to fly’.
16 October 2017
Professor Andrew Putnis recipient of Robert Wilhelm Bunsen Medal
John Curtin Distinguished Professor Andrew Putnis is the recipient of the European Geosciences Union's Robert Wilhelm Bunsen Medal for 2018. This prestigious award honours individuals for their important contributions to Earth, planetary and space sciences. Professor Putnis will receive his prize at the EGU 2018 General Assembly next year. Congratulations to Professor Putnis on this outstanding recognition.
10 October 2017
Curtin researchers ‘muddy’ current thinking on Earth’s mantle
Curtin University researchers have for the first time discovered the melting of mud in the Earth’s mantle, providing insights into the nature and history of the continental crust.
5 October 2017
Interview with Dr Christopher Spencer
Dr Christopher Spencer [Curtin FM Perth, Radio Interview Audio, MP3 6MB] from the Curtin WA School of Mines discusses new research that explains how volcanic systems are connected to pulses under the earth’s surface.
5 October 2017
“Innovator, reformer and leader” appointed Western Australia’s 20th Surveyor General
Surveying graduate Dione Bilick has been named the new Surveyor General of WA – the first woman to hold the position since it was established in 1829.
5 October 2017
Mine jobs tough to fill as interest in the sector wanes
Professor Sam Spearing form the Curtin WA School of Mines comments on student numbers in the mining industry.
5 October 2017
National focus on safety in the workplace
Professor Sam Spearing from the WA School of Mines comments on National Safe Work Month and the importance of safety in the mining industry.
4 October 2017
Japanese uni to help technology go global
Kalgoorlie Miner WA
Professor Chris Aldrich from the Curtin WA School of Mines comments on teaming up with Japan's Akita University to take its virtual reality technology international.
4 October 2017
NASA spacecraft to pass over our skies
Canning Examiner Perth
Professor Phil Bland from the Curtin WA School of Mines comments on the OSIRIS-REx space probe that will be travelling over Australia on September 23.
3 October 2017
Researchers unlock secrets of the 'Earth's heartbeat'
Researchers have unlocked new information about the youngest plutonic rocks found on the Earth, which help to pinpoint the timing and recurrence of major magmatic pulses beneath the planet’s surface.
3 October 2017
New solution to South Korea’s natural resources scarcity
A Curtin scientist is collaborating with a South Korean production company to research a new method of recovering precious metals hidden in discarded smartphones and other end-of-life consumer products.
19 September 2017
Curtin academics recognised among nation’s top teachers - From the VC Note to Staff
Congratulations to Dr Robert Madden [Applied Geology], Ms Christina Do, Associate Professor Janet Beilby and Dr Daniel Southam who will be recognised for their outstanding contributions to student learning at an Australian Awards for University Teaching event this week.
19 September 2017
WA School of Mines project awarded grant from Australia-Japan Foundation
A new project launched by the WA School of Mines in collaboration with Akita University in Japan has been awarded a grant by the Australia-Japan Foundation. The project’s aim is to develop educational virtual reality content for mining education. Congratulations to all those involved in securing this grant.
19 September 2017
Deep Exploration Technologies CRC awards Curtin top prizes
Last week’s Deep Exploration Technologies CRC conference in Adelaide saw Curtin awarded all three final prizes. Curtin geophysics PhD student C.V.A. Le, supervised by Dr Brett Harris and Dr Andrew Pethick, won the award for “Best Paper”.
18 September 2017
The hottest place ever recorded on Earth’s surface was 2370°C
Dr Nick Timms from the Curtin WA School of Mines comments on the discovery of a crater that was once hot enough to transform the common mineral zircon into gem-like cubic zirconia.
17 September 2017
BBC World Service story, ‘How Do We Stop People Dying in Floods?’
Features commentary from WA School of Mines lecturer Dr Ashraf Dewan
12 September 2017
Curtin student wins Australian Falling Walls Lab
Congratulations to PhD Scholar and recent winner of the Australian Falling Walls Lab, Mortaza Rezae, who will be travelling to Berlin to showcase his mobile app which enables independent public transport access for people with autism.
22 August 2017
50 Years of Innovation - Carlos Espitia

In 1995, The Ministry of Mines and Energy of Colombia granted me a scholarship to study a postgraduate course in mineral processing and extractive metallurgy at Curtin University’s WA School of Mines in Kalgoorlie W.A. due to the school’s global recognition in the field of mining and mineral processing.
21 August 2017
Student Success - From the VC Note to Staff

Congratulations to Curtin WA School of Mines student Janelle McPhee who was awarded the Ray Finlayson medal for leadership and academic excellence at the recent Diggers and Dealers Mining Forum in Kalgoorlie.

Janelle completed a Bachelor of Science (Extractive Metallurgy) at the end of last year and is currently studying a Bachelor of Engineering, majoring in Metallurgical Engineering.

This latest industry accolade follows a series of awards Janelle has received during her studies including the WA School of Mines Alumni Silver Medal (2016) awarded to the highest achieving student in their given discipline. She is also a Vice-Chancellor’s List Recipient. When not studying, she is busy organising events, and inspiring other students as Vice President of the WA School of Mines Metallurgy Club and as a committee member of the Women of WA School of Mines club.
17 August 2017
Curtin University honours mining champion

Curtin University has officially acknowledged the contribution and influence of mining great Dr Roy Woodall by naming a residential hall at Agricola in Kalgoorlie “Woodall Hall”.
12 July 2017
Remembering Captain James Peat

This year marks 100 years since Captain James Peat – the first surveying graduate from the Western Australian School of Mines – was killed by sniper fire on the Western Front.
10 July 2017
National Cooperative Research Centre funding

Congratulations to Professor Will Featherstone, Dr Ralf Schaa and Professor Peter Teunissen who are part of a successful consortium that received funding under the National Cooperative Research Centre – Project (CRC-P) funding scheme.
The consortium was awarded $1,996,200 to further develop High-resolution Real-time Airborne Gravimetry technology and also included CMG Operations Pty Ltd, Airship Solutions Pty Ltd, Airborne Research South Australia Limited, Geoscience Australia, Geosoft Australia Pty Ltd, Intuitive Machines LLC and the University of Texas Institute for Geophysics.
Strength in mining puts Curtin on world stage
Curtin has been ranked second in the world and first in Australia for mineral and mining engineering, up 17 places from 2016.

The University is second only to the Colorado School of Mines, and enjoys a strong education and research partnership with the School.

Director WA School of Mines Professor Sam Spearing says the results reflect the University's long-standing reputation for innovation in the mining sector and reinforces the strength of the school.

"Ours is one of the oldest mining programs around and, certainly within the [WA] School of Mines, the University has developed an international reputation over its past history", he says.

"But it is also pleasing, considering Curtin University is only 50-years old, to see the University is going toe-to-toe with some of the world's oldest and most renowned universities and is a credit to the whole staff we have here".

The ranking assessed university performance across research, teaching, employability and internationalisation, and looked at four performance indicators, including academic reputation.
Distal footprints project to uncover hidden resources
Curtin has collaborated with key research centres and government bodies aligned with the UNCOVER Initiative to develop a distal footprint 'toolkit' that hopes to improve the success rate of mineral exploration in Australia.
The toolkit, designed as part of the Science and Industry Endowment Fund Capricorn Distal Footprints project, brings together a suite of data, methodologies, technology and field and laboratory analysis techniques to help assist in exploration targeting.
Head of Curtin's Department of Applied Geology, Associate Professor Chris Clark, says the project is necessary to help find deeply buried financially viable rock systems to improve national prosperity.

"Australia's high standard of living is intrinsically linked to the contribution made by the minerals industry to the economy. It is important that we fast-track new and innovative techniques that will lead to the discovery of the next generation of Tier 1 mineral deposits," says Clark.
"The project is one of the first aligned with the UNCOVER Initiative and shows how universities, government and the minerals industry can come together to solve a problem that will benefit the broader Australian community".
Gindalbie reaches agreement to use game-changing leaching process
Australian resources company Gindalbie Metals Ltd has reached an agreement with Mining and Process Solutions (MPS) to use Curtin-developed mineral processing technology on new projects.
Professor Jacques Eksteen and Dr Elsayed Oraby from WA School of Mines invented the GlyLeach process, which leaches copper, gold and other base and precious metals from low-grade ores using glycine.
Gindalbie CEO Chris Stevens says the agreement is a fantastic opportunity to use the innovative technology on the Mount Gunson Copper-Cobalt Project in South Australia and new primary gold, copper and zinc projects identified around the world.
"We are looking forward to working with MPS in the course of our ongoing business development to consider how we might use this and other technologies to unlock deposits with the aim of creating near-term revenue streams for our shareholders", he says.
By using glycine, the process has significant advantages over other base and precious metals lixivants, as it is environmentally safe, easily recovered, recyclable and boasts low operating costs.
16 May 2017
Alumni News - WAIT alumni give back to Curtin University

Curtin University is partnering with valued alumni from the University's predecessor institution, the Western Australian Institute of Technology (WAIT), to raise funds to help students achieve their academic aspirations.
Alumni News - Curtin alumnus helping guide the world's biggest copper producer

Roberto Rodrigo Fréraut Contreras reveals how his master degree helped prepare him for the position of Exploration Manager at the Chilean state owned mining company Codelco - the world's largest producer of copper.
15 May 2017
From the VC Note to Staff
Odwyn Jones Building revitalised through Heartwalk Project

The Odwyn Jones Building on our Kalgoorlie Campus, named after long serving Kalgoorlie staff member Emeritus Professor Odwyn Jones, has undergone a facelift as part of the Heartwalk project. The Project brought more than 30 artists to Kalgoorlie-Boulder, transforming the windows of vacant shops and blank building walls into works of art.

The mural that now adorns the exterior of the Odwyn Jones Building was painted by Kalgoorlie artist Jason Dimer and his family. Other artists involved in the project were Askew One, Stormie Mills, Brenton See and Amok Island.

Heartwalk is a two year public art project that seeks to revitalise the Kalgoorlie CBD through the installation of professionally curated, high quality painted murals.
15 May 2017
Curtin's Kalgoorlie campus to host Open Day

WA School of Mines, Curtin University's Kalgoorlie campus is hosting an open day on Wednesday 17 May, from 9:30am to noon.
4 May 2017
Half-century WA School of Mines alumni recognised in Kalgoorlie

Five WA School of Mines, Curtin University alumni will be acknowledged at a special ceremony in Kalgoorlie in recognition of their 50 year-long connection with the WA School of Mines.
10 April 2017
From the VC Note to Staff, 10 April 2017
WA School of Mines Rock Mechanics researcher receives Materials, Minerals and Mining Award

Chris Drover receiving medalCongratulations to Chris Drover, current PhD Candidate in the Curtin WA School of Mines’ Rock Mechanics Group, for being awarded the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining’s (IOM3) Mann Redmayne Medal. Chris was recognised for his paper which featured in the IMM Transactions A: Mining Technology publication, entitled: Estimation of dynamic load demand on a ground support scheme due to a large structurally controlled violent failure: A case study. The paper was co-authored by Professor Ernesto Villaescusa.

Congratulations to both Chris and Ernesto who will collect their award at a dinner in London later this year.

Curtin team places third at AAPG Imperial Barrel Awards

Curtin’s Applied Geology student team placed third at the international finals of the AAPG Imperial Barrel Awards. They were awarded the Stonely Medal along with US$5,000 for their outstanding presentation on the evaluation of the hydrocarbon prospectively of the Taranaki Basin. The team comprised Kirk Gilleran, Mike Maher, Jerome Paz, Jiaojing Bi and Elena Alganaeva.
13 March 2017
From the VC Note to Staff, 13 March 2017
50 Years of Innovation Staff Launch

Thank you to everyone who attended the 50 Years of Innovation staff launch on Friday.

Over 1000 staff at Bentley were joined by our colleagues in Singapore, Malaysia and Kalgoorlie via video link-up. This was the first time we have connected with our campuses in this way, and I was delighted that we were able to join together for this very special occasion. Many staff I spoke to commented that they now felt a greater connection with our other campuses and I hope that feeling was shared across all our locations.

The launch was a great celebration of the many achievements and contributions of WAIT and Curtin over the past 50 years, and showcased what a strong, diverse and global university we are today. The inspiring staff video is included below and links to other highlights of the event will be provided soon.
Watch the video
8 March 2017
Curtin climbs in world subject rankings

Curtin University has ranked second in the world for Engineering - Mineral and Mining in the QS World University Rankings by Subject, up 17 places from last year.
28 February 2017
New research 'rocks' long-held geological theory

New research into ancient rocks in Western Australia contradicts the commonly held belief that Earth's first stable continents were formed in a plate tectonic setting.
27 February 2017
Transfer Pricing in Mining with a Focus on Africa

Written by experts in mining and economics, Transfer Pricing in Mining with a Focus on Africa: A Reference Guide for Practitioners captures the results of a study commissioned by the World Bank and supported by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, which was designed to help strengthen fiscal control in mineral-rich developing countries, and deal with base erosion and profit shifting by multinational enterprises.
27 February 2017
From the VC Note to Staff, 27 February 2017
Professor Chris Aldrich appointed Head of Department for Mining Engineering and Metallurgical Engineering, WA School of Mines

I am pleased to announce that Professor Chris Aldrich has been appointed Head of Department for Mining Engineering and Metallurgical Engineering at Curtin’s WA School of Mines for 2017. Professor Aldrich will be based out of our Kalgoorlie Campus providing support to the Department and the School.
20 February 2017
From the VC Note to Staff, 20 February 2017
New WA School of Mines Deputy Director

I am pleased to advise that Associate Professor Chris Clark, Head of Department for Applied Geology, has been appointed Deputy Director of Curtin’s WA School of Mines for 2017. Associate Professor Clark will be based at our Bentley Campus and provide support to Director Professor Sam Spearing who will remain based at the Kalgoorlie Campus. I am sure Associate Professor Clark will make a great contribution in his new role.

Asia Pacific Imperial Barrel Award

A team of Curtin honours and masters students has won the Asia Pacific heat of the American Association of Petroleum Geologist’s (AAPG) Imperial Barrel Award (IBA) competition. The IBA is an annual competition for geoscience graduate students from universities around the world, simulating the exploration work undertaken by geologists and geophysicists in the oil industry. The team, comprising Elena Alganaeva, Jiaoying Bi, Kirk Gilleran, Mike Maher and Jerome Paz, will now represent the Asia Pacific region in the international finals of the competition which will be held during the Annual Conference of the AAPG in Houston in April.

This achievement is a great credit to the team, the Department of Applied Geology and Curtin’s reputation for Petroleum Geoscience. This is the second time Curtin has won the Asia-Pacific competition in four years of competing (on the other two occasions, we received honourable mentions). Congratulations and best of luck to the team.
23 January 2017
From the VC Note to Staff, 23 January 2017
Kalgoorlie Agricola accommodation opening

This morning the redeveloped and expanded Agricola accommodation at our Kalgoorlie campus was officially opened by the Deputy Premier, Liza Harvey, and Wendy Duncan MLA, representing the Minister for Regional Development.

Agricola first opened in 1971 and so needed to be expanded and redeveloped to meet the needs of current students. The accommodation now consists of a new 180-bed facility and a refurbished 48-bed facility, with capacity to now accommodate up to 228 students.

The $32 million redevelopment has involved an important partnership between the Departments of Training and Workforce Development and Regional Development, Curtin University, the City of Kalgoorlie-Boulder and Central Regional TAFE. The State Government’s Royalties for Regions program provided $21.2 million, with the balance of funding being provided by Curtin.

The newly redeveloped and expanded Agricola will contribute significantly to the vibrancy and attractiveness of our Kalgoorlie campus, benefiting the WA School of Mines and helping to support a broader range of university offerings on the campus. I thank all who have been involved in this important project.

Find out more

2017 Women in Resources awards

Two Curtin alumni are finalists in the Chamber of Minerals and Energy 2017 Women in Resources Awards. The awards recognise those working to build an industry that enhances the recognition and participation of women.

Jayne Finch, Vice-Chair of the Kalgoorlie branch of the Western Australian School of Mines Alumni, is a finalist in the ‘Outstanding Woman in Resources’ category. Jayne is an Underground Project and Planning Engineer with Kalgoorlie Consolidated Gold Mine. Alumnus Andrew Bywater is a finalist in the ‘Women in Resources Champion’ category. Andrew works as General Manager of Gold Fields Australia’s Darlot Gold Mine.

Winners will be announced on Friday 3 March. I wish our graduates the very best of luck and encourage staff to take the opportunity to cast a vote in the People’s Choice Award.
16 January 2017
From the VC Note to Staff, 16 January 2017
WA School of Mines sponsors artwork competition for local schools

Last year Curtin’s WA School of Mines sponsored an artwork competition for local Goldfields schools that encouraged students to submit mining themed artwork. The winning students for each year group received a $75 book voucher, $125 towards something educational for their classroom and had their artwork featured in a 2017 calendar. The School printed and sold 1350 calendars. These were mainly purchased by local mining companies, and all profits were donated to Goldfields Education Mining Industry Alliance. This is a great initiative that encourages interest in the mineral resources industry among school children and supports education in mining. I congratulate the staff who helped organise this excellent community engagement activity.
30 November 2016
2016 Alumni Achievement Awards

Curtin's annual Alumni Achievement Awards recognise Curtin graduates who have achieved excellence, made significant contributions to the local, national and international communities in their chosen fields, and demonstrate Curtin's values of integrity, respect, courage, excellence and impact.