Thursday, 3 December 2020
CRC ORE: Summer Students Sharpen Skills

CRC ORE: Summer Students Sharpen Skills

This was originally published by CRC ORE.

Above Image: 2019-20 CRC ORE Summer Internship Program participants (L-R) - Darcy Byrne (UQ), Chanon Kachornvuthidej (UQ), Sachin Fernando (QUT), John Benham (UQ), Mandar Joshi (UQ), Reza Yuniansah (Curtin), Muhammad Soefihara (Curtin) and Joseph Allman (UQ). Image Credit: CRC ORE.

Eight undergraduate students recently completed an intensive ten week program at CRC ORE that included a range of activities such as project planning, hands-on learning and delivery of outcomes.

Students came to the 2019-20 CRC ORE Summer Internship Program from diverse disciplines including computer science, psychology, engineering, and mathematics. Since the program’s inception three years ago, 19 student interns have joined CRC ORE to work across a variety of projects.

Chief Operating Officer Dr Luke Keeney said that the students developed a rapid understanding of quite technical concepts.

“While with us for only a few months, the students were able to present their project outcomes as if they’d been with CRC ORE for much longer,” Dr Keeney said.

“I’m confident the future of mining is in safe hands with bright minds like these entering the industry.”

Project work was split between CRC ORE in Brisbane and the Kalgoorlie-Boulder Mining Innovation Hub. The student interns all attend either Curtin University, QUT or The University of Queensland. 

Bachelor of Chemical Engineering (Honours) student John Benham said the best part about the vacation program was the ability to touch on so many different topics and see a project through from start to finish.

“My project investigated the impact variations in ore physical properties (ore competence) have on the performance of mining operations,” John said.

“This was very relevant to my studies as a chemical engineering major, as simulating process operations and understanding how a process responds to disturbances is critical.”

John said he hopes the project he worked on will help in the design and commissioning of plants by quantifying the impact ore competence variability has on process performance.

All the students agreed that their perceptions of mining had changed for the better following their time with CRC ORE.

Honours year Bachelor of Science student Chanon Kachornvuthidej, who is majoring in Computer Science and Psychology, said he initially thought mining was all about digging up rocks.

“What I found is that there is actually a lot of work and engineering that goes on behind the scene to ensure you're digging up the right rocks in the right way sustainably,” Chanon said.

“CRC ORE works on improving the productivity and sustainability of mining while ensuring a high-grade ore output with cutting edge technologies like Grade Engineering and the Integrated Extraction Simulator.”

Working with Austmine to develop next-gen employees

Two of CRC ORE’s student interns were introduced though Austmine, the leading industry body for the Australian Mining Equipment, Technology and Services (METS) sector. 

The Austmine STEM: METS Career Pathway Program raises awareness of the METS sector within the next generation of employees. The program works to change the perception of a mining industry career from ‘old-world’ to one filled with technology-driven, entrepreneurial opportunities.

Austmine introduced Bachelor of Engineering student Darcy Byrne, whose project focused on identifying potential external factors that have influenced the successful uptake of new technologies in the mining industry. 

Image: Darcy Byrne at final presentation. Image Credit: CRC ORE

Image: Darcy Byrne at final presentation. Image Credit: CRC ORE

“As a Civil Engineering student, the opportunity to learn from and gain experience from a research perspective in another industry was extremely exciting,” Darcy said.

“The background knowledge and understanding of mining processes and challenges I have learned will be of significant value in the future mining engineering subjects I have chosen.”

While fellow Austmine pathway participant Sachin Fernando, who is studying a Bachelor of Engineering majoring in Computer and Software Systems Engineering, assisted in the development of a dashboard for the Integrated Extraction Simulator.

Image: Sachin Fernando at final presentation. Image Credit: CRC ORE.

Image: Sachin Fernando at final presentation. Image Credit: CRC ORE.

“I was always interested in witnessing how a Cooperative Research Centre operates,” Sachin said.

“The Integrated Extraction Simulator Dashboard project offered in the CRC ORE vacation program was an area of an interest to me and I liked the idea of working on a software project that had relevance to the mining industry.”

“Projects such as the Integrated Extraction Simulator play a major role in optimising resources, this is critical for a sustainable future for the mining industry.”

Several of the students nearing the end of their studies have indicated that they will now start actively targeting the mining industry for graduate level roles. CRC ORE staff will continue to mentor and support the students where possible to find fulfilling roles in the industry.

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