Presidents Update – March Quarter 2023

Presidents Update

Firstly, welcome to those who are new subscribers and graduates who have recently joined the Alumni.

What a 2023 it has been so far…and we are only just getting started!

A lot has happened at WASMA in the last 3 months…

Council’s First Meeting for 2023: We welcomed Alex Biggs, Josh Redmond, Georgia Kerr and Dean Vallve to Council for the first time. Alex Biggs has accepted the role of Vice President. Dean has taken on the Mentoring and Memberships sub-committee. Georgia has joined Events and Marketing sub-committee and the Outreach sub-committee. Josh has joined the Mentoring and Memberships sub-committee as well as the Events and Marketing sub-committee! I’m looking forward to the new ideas and energy that new councillors are already bringing to the table.

The energy of the team is palpable – this team gives me the motivation to work hard for you – our members. Thankyou Councillors for volunteering your time and energy for us. You can learn more about YOUR council here.

Thankyou! There are so many people to thank when you run a non-for-profit. On behalf of members and Council, I pass my sincerest gratitude to Curtin staff that have gone above and beyond to support WASMA navigate through many changes within our own organisation and Curtin. We thank Quin Song, Jysae Hooper, Georgia Tripp, Erika Beazley, Jill Soriano and Nerissa Richardson for everything that you do for us.

Perth Graduation Cocktail Function: Liz suggested that we trial an evening cocktail event for Perth graduates. Graduates may not have been able to leave work for a long lunch. The small change had a huge result with 70 WASM:MECE students attending with their families. Our keynote speaker was Gabrielle Iwanow who was recently appointed as MD of Mincor Resources. The Honourable Bill Johnston MLA (was on leave but came and spoke to students anyway) also made a speech where he highlighted the significance of the Resources sector the future development of the Country. I want to extend my sincerest thanks to the Curtin team for their support in the execution of this event. The Kalgoorlie Graduation dinner is scheduled for Friday the 5th May. I hope you will join us! Tickets can be purchased here.

Curtin University #2 in the World for Minerals and Mining Engineering by QS: Can we get to number 1? What do we need to get there? Let’s do it WASMA. Let’s push hard in the next decade to get us back to the top spot.

The Master Chef Challenge: At the Gala ball in 2021, IGO donated money to the Scholarship fund at WASM in exchange for a Masterclass Cook-off. The night was an overwhelming success with Darren Stralow, Matt Bennetto, Jennifer Neild, and Kristie Young showing off their skills in the kitchen. There was no winner in the end. We could not decide! But the food was delicious.

If you ask me what the Secret sauce to our Alumni is. Its our ability to share stories together. Pass on our knowledge to the next generation of leaders.

Stay tuned, I think we will be looking at hosting a few more of these next year!

Thanks once again to Sam Retallack and IGO.

No alt text provided for this image

Council Meeting with Vice Chancellor Harlene Hayne: Professor Hayne has made it a priority to focus on the student experience. A psychologist by trade Harlene has written over 200 papers. Her specialty “Risk taking behaviours of young adolescents”. Where was Harlene when I was in Uni? I could have used some of this enlightenment! (Just kidding, I grew up with 2 psychologists in my family).

It does not take a lot of conversations to realise that Harlene is the real deal. People and outcome-focused – and importantly someone passionate about the student experience, who also understands the unique risk-taking behaviour that moulds us all.

Just one year in we are already seeing huge changes at Curtin. We look forward to working with Curtin University and continuing to bridge the gap between academia and industry for better outcomes for the resources sector by producing industry ready graduates.

Recent Head of School and Director resignations. Curtin is searching for replacements for the Director of the Kalgoorlie Campus and also the Head of School. Two roles which are critical to the success of WASM. If you are interested or know someone who is, please get in touch with me.

Mentoring Program: Darren Stralow breathed new life into the WASMA mentoring program. Under the guise of “If we cannot do it well, we will not do it” Daz has created a program that last year had 140 members sharing their stories and learning together. The mentoring program is special to me. My own mentor Colin McIntyre talked about the mentoring available in the mining industry when he was trying to convince me to study mining engineering when I was in high-school. It is incredible to see this program brought back to life. Daz has since handed the reigns to Dean Vallve. The mentoring program is FREE. I strongly believe mentoring is something that should come from the heart. Something that should not be charged for. For this we are so grateful for our sponsors AngloGold Ashanti and Sandvik who cover the cost of the MentorLoop program and the event costs.

BMO Conference. Thanks to Darren Stralow and Graham Crew for organising an informal catchup of WASM Alumni at the BMO conference in Florida. How good is this!

No alt text provided for this image

45th Annual Mining Games: 7 Alumni teams competed in the Northern Star  45th International Collegiate Mining Games. You’ll find a little write up with images from Richard Price and Darcy Frazer in this newsletter too. What a great way for new leaders around the world to meet each-other in a fun, safe and competitive environment.

No alt text provided for this image

Accommodation Crisis: We had 7 front page adverts in the Kalgoorlie Miner asking for community support in housing WASM students. We still need your help as this is not a problem that will disappear after this year. If industry predictions are correct, the resources sector is set for strong growth on the back of the energy transition.

As you know, the Kalgoorlie Campus will also support Regional Health education. Like any business, the School of Mines is at the mercy of resources cycles. The Kalgoorlie regional hub will support an environment that encourages cross pollination between the resources and medical fields – and also the ‘base load feed’ which de-risks the campuses to the downside risks of the inevitable cycles.

To this end, WASMA will continue to advocate in the best interests of it’s members and I would welcome any comments, concerns and feedback.

No alternative text description for this image

Sadly, our superstar Executive Officer, Liz has decided it is time to move on. Liz’s last day was on Tuesday. The work that Liz has done cannot be understated, and her contributions to all of our lives – especially during COVID will not be forgotten. If you’ve met Liz, you’ll know what I am talking about when I say there are big boots to fill.

We will miss Liz, and wish her all the best in her new role. Click here to see what we had to say about Liz and her achievements on a recent LinkedIn Post. It is clear from the response we got, that Liz has left a huge mark on our community.

Thankyou Liz. Not just what you have done for our community, but for guidance and support for myself personally taking on the role.

So what next for the Alumni without Liz or a replacement? I’ve been lucky enough to work with two great Executive Officers during my tenure on Council. The role spreads one person too thin – and at a recent meeting of the Executive team, it was decided that a two-person part time approach is better. In this sense, we form a small team that can put their heads together to solve problems – it also spreads the risk we are exposed to from a continuity of business point of view.

Selecting the right candidates is key, and we are not going to rush the process.

Our recruitment partner The Resources Hub by Dani Tamati is helping us with the search for 2 part time paid staff members.

Senior Executive Officer

Junior Executive Officer


Get in touch!

As always, I’m free to chat at any time and constructive feedback is ALWAYS welcome. Council is here to serve our members, if we don’t know about your concerns, we cannot do anything to change it.

If you let my number ring long enough you’ll hear my answering machine say “I’m out fishing, surfin’ or making a livin’”….sadly that is a lie, it was recorded when I was 24…I’m more than likely in a meetin’, eatin’ or sleepin’.

I’ll see you soon at some of the exciting events we have coming up for OUR WASM Alumni.

WASMA President’s Update

WASMA President Kyle De Souza

It’s 5:23am, and I’m in the office. I thought leaving FIFO was supposed to mean sleep ins?

My office is on the 18th floor and faces south. From my desk I have a beautiful view of the Derbarl Yerrigan (the Swan River), the Dyarlgarro Beeliar (Canning River) and the Perth hills. At this time of the year, there is a magic that shines over the State in the early hours of the morning. Something that I have become accustomed to, like you, from all those years working in remote operations around the world. All very enjoyable before the flies come out!

Perth however, is more than just a beautiful city. It is a city which will grow in global importance in the years to come and become central to global decarbonisation efforts.

27 years ago, our family migrated here with little more than a few suitcases and barely enough money to buy a car. Fast forward to my time at Curtin University’s WA School of Mines in Perth and in Kalgoorlie and all of the subsequent experiences (good and bad), I feel like education and advice from mentors has always been the catalyst for the good in my life.

In a WASM Alumni Council onboarding session two weeks ago, we asked ‘Why are you here’ and the resounding message was – to give back. I am proud and honoured to work alongside such a distinguished group of Councillors who want to give back during this pivotal moment in the resources sector.  A team with the practical skillset to design, finance and operate a mine anywhere in the world. A team that is corporate savvy, well networked and attuned to the needs of all stakeholders. A team that is ready to give back.

At the WASMA President’s Lunch in September, we held a survey on industry needs. The top four results conducted by Culture Radar showed that the industry participants want us to focus on producing industry ready professionals. We will continue to work closely with WASM:MECE Head of School Professor Michael Hitch and the rest of the Curtin team to ensure we can deliver industry ready graduates to the industry.

People are, and always will be the secret sauce at WASM and the Alumni, and it is our intention to leverage our combined knowledge and influence to drive positive change by bringing people together. At the recent WASMA Sandvik Annual Gala this year we had many students from Kalgoorlie make their way to Perth for it. It got me thinking, Kalgoorlie doesn’t just immerse WASM students in the mining community, it teaches them the grit and determination to show up. And in the face of the challenges we have before us – this unique trait of WASM grads will shine again.

As we draw a close to 2022, I want to thank our outgoing President Christian Price for his steadfast determination and commitment to the WASM Alumni in his three-year tenure in this role. Christian has led the organisation through a difficult time and we are proud of the achievements made during this period. I’d like to highlight a few of these initiatives.

  • Christian created the most diverse Council we have ever had.
  • Guided and supported students, staff and alumni during COVID.
  • Under Christian’s leadership, we saw the relationship with Curtin grow from strength to strength. Something we will continue to develop as key partners.
  • Christian co-founded CoRE Foundation with Suzie Urbanek, which has now become one of the largest STEM pipelines for the resources sector.

On behalf of the WASM Alumni, we thank Christian and his wife Kate (also a WASM graduate) for their immense service to our community.

I also want to thank the Councillors who have recently stepped down. Michelle Keegan, David Harwood and Warwick Jones. Michelle orchestrated the Resource, Innovation and Collaboration (RIC) nights and developed the strategy for the WASM Alumni two years ago. David Harwood was the Chair for the Bentley branch and was a vital link to students and research in Perth. Warwick Jones has been instrumental in the success of WASMA’s mentoring program.

We are very lucky to have Liz Blaxell our Executive Officer with us too. Liz works tirelessly to administer the Alumni. It’s a hard job and Liz gets on with it day in day out, catering to the needs of Council, Curtin and all our stakeholders with professionalism and passion. Thank you Liz.

We also thank our key sponsors, Curtin University, Sandvik and Northern Star for your ongoing support. We look forward to working and engaging with you for our exciting future as we Refine and Redefine who we are as an industry and alumni.

2022 will forever be referred to as ‘post COVID’. The world has voted, and policy makers around the world are now scrambling to make changes in key areas to stabilise and de-carbonise. These are areas where the WASM Alumni and WASM:MECE education and research will play a crucial role.

Council has met twice in the last month and has elected the following Councillors to chair sub-committees.

  • Alex Biggs – Chair of Finance, Partners and Sponsorships
  • Dean Vallve – Chair of Mentoring and Memberships (takes over from Darren Stralow). The mentoring program is FREE for everyone. Lookout for it next year.
  • Gemma Murphy – Chair of Outreach
  • Colin Roberts – Chair of the Bentley Branch
  • Boiketo Mazibeli – Chair of the Kalgoorlie Branch
  • Kyle De Souza – Chair of Events and Marketing

The wheels are accelerating for an exciting 2023. We hope you will join us and take the opportunity to sponsor, attend (show up) and contribute to the activities we have coming.  We will have more information on how you can support us soon.

My wife Jamie-Lee and I are expecting our first child in early 2023. I hope we can all leave a legacy for the next generation which we (and they) can be proud of.

As always, I’m keen to hear your thoughts and ideas. I am available on 0408 760 695.


Saracen boss’ stability plea

Kal Miner
Andrew Murdoch and Zach Relph
Thursday, 30 August 2018 8:05AM

Saracen Mineral Holdings boss Raleigh Finlayson is calling for the mining sector to stabilise its topsy-turvy engineering graduate demand, regardless of industry conditions, to promote mining as a viable pathway for students.

RIP John Langford

See below the alumni’s thoughts on John in Mining News

John Langford Mining News

The name Langford and Diggers in a sentence will never be erased.

“Our Dead are never dead to us, until we have forgotten them.” George Elliot

Wealth of career opportunities await in-demand graduates

Almost all of the 30 WA School of Mines students who graduated from the Kalgoorlie university campus in a ceremony at the WMC Conference Centre on Friday night have waltzed into jobs in the resources industry, signalling the rising demand for skilled workers in the recovering sector.

Students were honoured for completing degrees in a range of fields including geology, mining engineering and metallurgy.

TAG Voucher for 2017 WASM Graduates

If you graduated in 2017 from WASM, then you are entitled to a fantastic financial voucher from one of the alumni major partners, TAG Financials. A free 70 minutes session to set you on the right financial path, valued at $475.00

Contact WASMA at