Page 1


TERM 3, 2020




mining jobs of the future p8

Meet an outback drone pilot p7

Why the future of mining is out of this world… literally p4




Remote technician




e r e h s i 0 . 2 g n i min T

g and resources sector, nin mi e th ing nis tio olu rev is Discover how technology ury will be all about tech skills nt ce st 21 e th of s job g nin mi and how


Modelling and visualisation

AI is being used to combine and analyse masses of data from millions of sensors to build 3D simulations and models. These can be used to ‘see’ and better understand mineral deposits underground. It will also calculate how safe existing mines are and better predict any impact on the environment and communities.


Integration through digitalisation

Mining involves finding minera ls in the Ear th, dig ging them out, processing them and trading and transportin g them. These are all ver y diff erent activities, often in different locations, so joining them up is complicated. New tech aims to create one super-efficient integrated supply chain, using control centres, digital twins and advanced analytics to test loa ds of scenarios across all operations and make sure eve rything works smoothly.


resources study

Bachelor of Engineering (Hons) (Mining), major in Mine Automation, The University of Adelaide Bachelor of Engineering (Electrical Powe r), Edith Cowan University Bachelor of Engineering (Hons) Chemical Process, Queensland University of Technology

Resources JOBS Automation

there will be an increasing need for new skills”

Engineer: $59K–$121K Data Analyst: $51K–$99K Mining Engineer: $83K–$159K* *Source: salaries according to payscale.com



Safer mines

More automation


 he first wave of mining tech innovation brought new technologies such as aut onomous drills and driverless haul trucks and trains. The second tech wave means more automation and rob otics, as well as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning; Intern et of Things (IoT); 3D simulation and modelling; and data analy tics. Cly tie Dangar, the Gene ral Manager of Commercialisation at the Cooperative Research Centre for Op timising Resource Extraction (CRC ORE) say s the industry is moving towards more autonomous mining and remote opera tion. “There will be an increa sing need for new skills. Data scientist s, mathematic modellers, sensor techn ology consultants and simulations experts,” she predicts.

More automation means fewer humans have to work in dangerous areas. Also, tech can now better predict risks, like when a mine’s rock structures might collapse or machines might wear out or break. – Matthew Brace

es h driverless trucks and machin Entire mines are now run wit p. dum and p kee to s t the one that can ‘read’ rocks to spo g drones to check things like usin are erts exp l nta me Environ of places. Drills with hundreds the health of trees in remote to ng ppi tial data and 3D ma sensors combine with geospa e. rows through it – in real tim bur l dril analyse the rock as the

olog y? n h c e t t r a m s driven by entury e r u t u f n o b r a 1st c w- c 2 lo e a h f t o in t r a le ing, a p o r e l ys Debra Stirl Want to b ineers will play a vita ever y day,” sa e us d e who iv an ut do ec e w ining ex to ever ything er Newcrest M rm ry fo so d vi Mining eng artphone to the solar panels on an Ad or s ct ce sour company dire g.” s Mining and Re world er y in your sm s our modern From the batt gy that power lo no ed. ch in te m e th be at need to your roof – and metals th s mining is t al er an rt in m po of ise how im consists gn co re t n’ do rally “People gene

out minin h Universit y’ ern world with chairs Monas od m a in n tio n't func Board. “You ca





S ’ W O R R O M O T MINING IS OUT D L R O W S I H T OF companies rals we need, mining ne mi e th of re mo d e To fin another level – spac are taking things to


ery, extraction pace mining is the discov rals beyond the and processing of mine nds like sou Earth ’s atmosphere. It become ily eas ld science fiction but it cou e. a rea lity in your lifetim e STEM-smart And it’s going to need som skilled in precision people – especially those tics – to create and robotics and data analy d drillers, harvesters program fully automate for use in space. and mineral processors

Helping us go further

mining will almost In the short term, space g things we need din fin cer tainly focus on is much easier and for space exploration. It s from the Moon cheaper to launch rocket y because its gravit y is than from Earth, mainl t to build and fuel on ly one sixth of ours. Bu and process raw rockets, we need to find ngs like iron, thi materials up there too; d old H2O. Split goo d tungsten, titanium an d oxygen and there are water into hydrogen an nly used ingredients of two of the most commo es from severa l rocket fuel. Space agenci

Asteroids are another tar get, with their water, iron, nickel, cobalt , nitrogen, hydrogen, ammonia and precious metals. Governments and privat e businesses are busy investigating what they are made of and estimating their va lues. Some are loaded with platinum and gold and wo rth hundreds of trillions of dollars.

Australia in the space race

Space mining companie s are being set up all over the world. The UK ’s Asteroid Mining Company plans to start space mining operations by 2030, Japan ’s ispace is ma king robotic rovers and Ameri can robotics company OffWorld is cre ating modu lar robot systems that operate aut onomously using AI. Australia is in the race too , using its globally renowned mining expert ise. CSIRO’s space road map includes using space resources and the Australian Centre for Space Engineering Research (at the Universi ty of New South Wa les) has launched its ‘Wilde’ Project with a mission to mine water from the Moon, starting with its south po le. – Matthew Brace

nations, including Australia, are already racing to mine water on the Moon. In the long term, space-mined resources could also be used to build and maintain human colonies on other planets and moons.

Where are these space minerals?


The Moon has potential resources of helium-3 and water, with evidence of gold, platinum and rare earth metals present but trickier to get to. Also, we have mapped some of its surface in detail, so we have a bit of a head start.

Asteroids are anot cobolt, nitrogen, hy her target, with their water, iron, nic drogen, ammonia a nd precious minerakel, ls"



Principal, Global Technology Strategy, BHP


pa nima sher expert

PhD, Space resources, Colorado School of Mines / The University of Adelaide

space mining

Mining for opportunities Nima Sherpa took a leap and moved from the US to Australia, where her career in the resources industry took off. Now she’s set her sights out of this world s , Nima Sherpa says her parent riginally from Colorado, USA she so age ng you her from a instilled a love of learning in nce. Nima graduated with scie and ths ma d has always love sity g and science from the Univer qualifications in engineerin es. Min of School of Denver and the Colorado ry working in the medical indust e tim e som ng ndi spe After of to Australia in search and for startups, Nima moved She when she was 21 years old. 3, 201 adventure at the end of al son per a on t ging time. “I wen recalls that this was a challen was I ; did it way ld affect me the journey I never thought wou ning no friends or family and lear h wit y ntr cou in a brand-new to adjust was difficult.” llenges helped her grow. However, Nima says those cha ing a ded role in Australia’s min Through net working, she lan of al ed in Adelaide, as Princip industry, and now she’s bas at BHP. In other words, she’s y teg Global Technolog y Stra h goals for the global mining responsible for set ting the tec und the word achieve them. giant, and helping teams aro s, “I like the different people Of her current role, Nima say that comes with each day, I get to work with, the novelty ctly erstanding, and that I can dire continuous learning and und see and influence change.”

Nima says this is an exciting time for the space resources industry, with governments and organisations realising the potential and investing heavily in research. “This is why it’s so critical to understand what can happen – to plan and prepare and learn from what we have done on Earth – so we are able to create a truly sustainable space resources industry.” A strong advocate for women in STEM, Nima has won multiple awards, including the Minerals Council of Australia’s Exceptional Young Woman in Australian Resources Award in 2018. Nima says the resources industry is evolving technologically and culturally, making it an exciting place to be – and not just because of the potential to literally launch your career out of this world. – Gemma Chilton

Reach for the starsdegree to be followed by

ster’s Nima is also completing a Ma with PhD research, coordinated Her . a PhD in space resources the of e fac sur the look at mining the University of Adelaide, will and s icie pol space mining Moon or asteroids, and how h Ear th’s mining industry. wit e par com procedures will unknown is exciting; there is “The idea of space and the says so much more to discover,” so much we understand but ger big a ws us to see things from Nima. “It humbles us and allo n bee ctive. I have always picture and a different perspe t we have the opportunity to tha like I interested in space, and ned terrestrially, to grow and prepare from what we’ve lear nger.” side of Ear th. It is a game cha create something great, out


Bachelor of Science, University of Denver / Colorado School of Mines

We have the opportunity to grow and create something great, outside of Earth. It is a game changer.”

MBA, The University of Adelaide

Head of Innovation, General Atomics





tace donna sen gineer


CV. The WA-based onna Stace has an epic inist has qualified fitter and mach roles in the mining, g itin exc of held a variety ion industries – despite oil and gas and constr uct ional university route. not going down the tradit tiona l Women in As the 2019 State and Na Trade, Operator or Resources Outstanding ’s passionate about Technician winner, she of diversity in STEM – increasing the visibility e as maintenance something her current rol Pathways project lead at supervisor and Diversity Tinto ref lects. global mining group Rio and am always “I’m practically minded s. work and why,” she say intrig ued by how things rk wo of ure fut the e are “STEM roles like this on rt , and I’m there to suppo ng lvi evo ays alw and are s.” rie g and rail indust more women in the minin


Two jobs in one

il ervisor at the 7 Mile Ra Being a maintenance sup tha rra Ka in n isio ays Div depot for Rio Tinto Railw of time ma king sure ds loa s nd spe a means Donn pany’s strict hea lth com the that employees stick to an average day her job and safety standards. On ising staff to maintain calls for a mix of superv , completing preventive systems and equipment and responding safely to maintenance schedu les


breakdowns and planned plant shutdowns. “I’m the maintenance supervisor of a $70 Million automated machine shop, processing ore car wheel sets for a fleet of 11,000 ore cars,” is how Donna describes her gig. And then there’s the diversity pathways part of her work, where she facilitates conversations with internal and external company stakeholders about end-to-end solutions for employment diversity and inclusion. “I work with industry to provide pathways for women and girls to join the mining industry,” says Donna. “We need diversity in all areas. STEM can provide financial stability and longevity in an industry which is of benefit to women.” Donna is excited about the future of work and the changes that equipment automation – and associated support roles – will bring. She’s hopeful we’ll see not only a shift toward more diversity in STEM but also an acceptance of alternative study pathways. “The E in STEM doesn't have to stand for Engineering degree,” she says. – Cassie Steel

i'm practically minded and am alway intrigued by how thins gs work and why. stem ro are the future of wor les k"


State (WA) and National Women in Resources Outstanding Trade, Operator or Technician Winner 2019

n’t have to Donna Stace is proof you do an awesome go to university to kickstart s industry STEM career in the resource

Mechanical Engineering Trade Certificate, North Regional TAFE

Choose your own career path

Maintenance Supervisor, Rio Tinto





resources +environment JOBS Env ironmental scientist: $52K-$ 93K Environmental consultant : $50K-$95K Environmental engineer: $50 K-$101K* *Source: salaries according to payscale.com

michelle sext0n en

Down to Earth

vironmental advisor

Michelle Sexton is an Environmental Advisor and outdoor drone pilot

to into environmental science ichelle Sex ton says she got the g pin outdoors, with hel combine her “love of being s”. s society and future generation efit ben turn environment, which in to s tion solu tive ova inn up finding “I wanted to be a par t of a gro says. ges the world is facing,” she llen cha l nta me iron the serious env the isor for Rio Tinto Iron Ore in Now as an environmental adv of the tralia, she reckons she has one Pilbara region of Western Aus ustry. coolest jobs in the mining ind out flying drones as par t of be “I never thought I would get s, “but that’s exactly what I my day-to-day work,” she say system eco rall ove e tree health and to do. We use them to examin use ly bab pro ll we’ ; -reach places health in remote and hard-to them more in the future.” puter system called GIS Computer modelling and a com s) tem were par ts of Michelle’s (geographic information sys t she sity of Western Australia tha science degree at the Univer ry day. now uses a lot in her job eve me duate program, which taught gra to “I was on the Rio Tin er und ios nar sce sfer to real-world how my uni-learnt skills tran


a mentor,” she says. “At the end of the program they helped me find a suitable role to apply for, too.”

Small changes, big impact

The resources sector is the third biggest employer of environmental scientists in Australia Michelle on the job, investigating the success of hatched turtle nests near Cape Lambert, WA

Michelle says her favourite thing about her job is the diversity. “On any day I could be helping to set up projects that will improve water efficiency, looking at dust models, or spending a week on the beach monitoring turtle nests.” Michelle is one of almost 10,000 environmental scientists employed in Australia's resources sector, according to the Minerals Council of Australia – making the industry the country’s third biggest employer of environmental scientists. Their role can include enforcing environmental regulations, proposing solutions to reduce environmental impact and developing conservation and sustainability policies. Through her job, Michelle has also done a lot of STEM outreach volunteering. “I volunteered for RoboCup, the competition to promote robotics and Artificial Intelligence (AI). It was really encouraging to see how many school kids were into this and great to be able to tell them how many different STEM-based disciplines were coming through in the resources industry: things like robotics, drones, AI and machine learning,” she says. – Matthew Brace

Graduate, Rio Tinto

Bachelor of Science, (conservation biology and environmental science), University of Western Australia


Environmental Advisor, Rio Tinto Iron Ore



rebecca Marsh mechanica l engineer

ecca is using Watch a video about how Rebmine sites from tour ally virtu to tech ing gam mining her Sydney office at bit.ly/cws-

Future careers

As we head into space, dig deeper, create new technology and become more culturally and environmentally aware, we’ll create whole new jobs, too

/data artist

4D mapping specialist

nge with time as well as The job: Make maps that cha to inform a virtual view of space using real-world data environment. mines and their surrounding critical, as is geophysical are ths ma and a The skills: Dat ing are a plus. knowledge, creativity and cod tre. h-tech supercomputing cen Where you’ll work: In a hig


Cultural 3 # community advisor

Mechatronics astronaut

The job: Not such a futuristic job, but one that’s increasingly seen as important, your task will be to work with and within the community to ensure cultural heritage is preserved and respected. The skills: Communication, linguistics, legal knowledge and an understanding of Indigenous heritage and practise. Where you’ll work: On country, mine sites, wherever you and your laptop land.

#6 Remote health therapist

The job: Look after the hea lth of fly in/fly out workers through tele health, machine learning that predic ts recovery and treatment, and 3D imaging to diagnose problems. The skills: Medical training, machine learning, people skil ls and communication. Where you’ll work: From you r home office.


The job: You’ll use your cre ativity and computational capabilities to literally paint the world with data. Using virtual reality is an immersive way for us to visualise what data is telling us, som ething that’s critical to safe and sustainable resource ext raction. The skills: Sof tware develo pment, design thinking, coding with data. Where you’ll work: In a cool tech start-up.

The job: As we head to the Moon and Asteroid Belt to mine for new minerals, someone will need to take care of the space robots. The skills: Mechatronics engineering. Start with digital technologies and keep up maths, and it helps if you like to take things apart. Where you’ll work: The Moon.

#7 Driverless train driver The job: Improve the flow of the way materials and machinery mo ve from one par t of the countr y to anothe r by understanding the logistics behind automated cargo movement s. The skills: Data science, ma thematical modelling, problem solving. Where you’ll work: Within a tech company, making the most of the free food perks.


#5 Minecraft miners! The job: Test out your mining skills and resource extraction ideas in your own Minecraft server. It’s not impossible that the real-world could learn something from the popular online game that was created in just six days. Hey if you can make Minecraft in six days you can do anything. The skills: Constant. Repetitive. Playing. Where you’ll work: From your bedroom.



#2 Virtual reality

Profile for Refraction Media

Careers with STEM: Resources 2020  

This 8-page future-focussed Resources edition of Careers with STEM magazine explores emerging careers in the mining and resources industry,...

Careers with STEM: Resources 2020  

This 8-page future-focussed Resources edition of Careers with STEM magazine explores emerging careers in the mining and resources industry,...

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded