Bringing the Games home to WASM!

By Richard Price and Darcy Frazer

The Northern Star Resources Forty-Fifth International Collegiate Mining Competition was hosted by the Western Australian School of Mines in Kalgoorlie over the week of 20-26 March 2023.

The event honours fallen miners around the world.

It was hotly contested, with teams representing the best Mining Universities from around the world. Teams hailed from the UK, the USA and Australia.

Fifteen teams competed in the Men’s division, four in the womens and co-ed/mixed, and eight Alumni teams.

The weather held out, the WASM Wombats brought it home, and a great time was had by all!

The winners were the WASM Wombats B team (Mens), the Lady Muckers from Nevada (Women’s), the Colorado coed team (Co-ed), and the Alluminati team (Alumni).

WASMA Mentoring Program Excels Again

WASMA 2022 Mentoring Program

Now at the end of its third year, WASMA’s Mentoring Program continues to achieve outstanding results through offering invaluable opportunities for mentees and mentors in the resources industry. The program gives those starting out in their careers access to more experienced professionals who are keen to give back and support them on their professional journey.

Below are just a few responses from participants in the 2022 program as well as a Q&A with mentee Pia Bathgate.


“He was an excellent match to my needs for a mentor and he helped a great deal in in my career development!” – Mentee


“My mentee is a quick learner and is engaging really well. He is driving his career himself, and is eager to hear my perspective on things – before making his own decisions. It’s a pleasure to chat to him, and he has a great manner – very personable.” – Mentor


2 Minutes with Pia Bathgate
Graduate Environment – Biodiversity & Land Management Mentee
WASMA Mentoring Program Mentee Pia Bathgate

Going into the program, what did you hope to get out of it? Are you on track to accomplish your goals?

I was hoping to gain insight into what a ‘typical’ career pathway in the mining industry looked like. This would include advice on what soft and technical skills I should develop, the kind of connections I should foster, my relationship with site and office work, timelines of target-setting and job-hopping.

What do you think the ‘secret’ is to a good mentoring relationship?

Breaking down the ultra-professional and closed barriers in most working relationships.
You should be able to communicate with your mentor without fear of embarrassment, failure or rebuke.
A good mentor is someone that provides a place to express concerns or problems that cannot perhaps be raised in your workplace. This means being open about mistakes, fears and problems.

What tips or advice would you like to share with those new to mentoring?

Get to know your mentor- learn about their career pathway, their future goals and ambitions, the mistakes they have made, and how they perceive excellence in the mining industry. This will help you to learn the different perspectives and opportunities that you will face in the industry. I also think that both mentors and mentees should be aware that there is always something to be learned from someone in the industry, regardless of their position. Leverage the differences in roles, positions and companies in order to broaden your own thoughts around challenges and opportunities in your career and position.

For example, I am a Biodiversity and Land Environmental Analyst, and was partnered with the CEO of a Guinean gold mine. I used my mentor to deepen my understanding of how upper management and non-environmental personnel perceive ESG issues, how to better persuade management to my agenda, and what an effective sustainability officer looks like.

Industry expert says leaders aren’t learning from lessons of boom and bust

Prominent mining commentator Allan Trench believes corporate decision makers in the mining industry aren’t paying heed to the lessons of Australia’s boom and bust cycle.

Famously, the Australian mining industry went through a decade of huge growth from around 2003 to 2013 in a boom period that proved the country’s largest since the gold rush of the mid-19th century.

Moving into 2013, the mining industry entered a period of serious downturn (or bust) from which it is just now starting to recover.

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.

Mining Bust’s Gone and the Boom’s Back: We Need Engineers

The mining sector is lucrative and influential and is crying out for students, write Mark Hoffman and Paul Hagan
12:00AM AUGUST 29, 2018 The Australian

A sharp drop in students enrolling in mining engineering — when resources are
roaring back — has triggered alarm in parts of the minerals industry and there have
been calls for governments to “do something”.

WA bid to lift mining enrolment numbers

Exclusive, Rhianna Mitchel

THE WA mining industry has come together in a “call to arms” after successive cohorts of school leavers ignored the industry on which the State has built its reputation.

A big decline in mining-related university enrolments has led to fears of a skills shortage at a time of recovering iron ore prices, a strong gold market, growth in automation and robotics and a forecast lithium boom.

Centre Of Excellence for the Resource Sector

Business News April 23 2018
Matt McKenzie
As local educational institutions go, the WA School of Mines has a higher-than-average representation of 40under40 First Amongst Equals winners. Industry heavyweights Bill Beament, the chief executive of Northern Star Resources and Chair of the WASMA Patrons Group, Battery Minerals boss David Flanagan,a member of the WASMA patrons Group and Saracen Mineral Holdings Managing Director Raleigh Finlayson, President of the WA School of Mines Alumni, have big plans for the Kalgoorlie-headquartered school.
Founded in 1899, WASM became a branch of the WA Institute of Technology (now of Curtin University) in 1969, and was ranked the world’s second best educator in minerals and mining engineering by QS World University Rankings last year, lifting 17 places from its 2016 position.

Colorado School of Mines was in the top spot.”We want to win the premiership going forward,” Mr Beament, former President of WASMA. Curtin has done a great job to broaden the offering of the school, he said, which had grown from a pure focus on disciplines such as mining and metallurgical engineering and surveying. Recent additions included oil and gas-related subjects such as petroleum engineering.
“Mining is not just dig, process, ship or sell, those days are long gone,” Mr Beament, “We’ve got the full spectrum of what we have to do in the community.”
A further step might be to look at areas such as environmental sciences and occupational health and safety, which were integral to the industry, he said. Even topics such as corporate governance, public relations and social inclusion with a mining edge, would fit. “They’re the things that need to get brought under the WASM banner,” Mr Beament said.”That’s what we do, most of our job now is more of(those issues).”
He said he was pushing hard for a postgraduate, or Harvard-style, course structure.”We’ve got a lot of the world’s best mining professionals, sitting here in Perth retired,” Mr Beament said. “Like the Sam Walshs of Rio Tinto, they should be guest lecturers.
“Our chief financial officers, our heads of corporate governance, our company secretaries, want to go and do postgraduate (courses).” Click Here

TAFE taps into growing demand for upskilling

Attracting and retaining experienced staff and capitalising on increasing mining industry activity will be the focus of Central Regional TAFE Kalgoorlie this year.

At the organisation’s Enrolment Day yesterday, director of training services Ty Theodore said a skills shortage in the region meant the services of training and education providers would be in demand.

“It would appear that industry saw positive growth in the last quarter of 2017,” he said.

“With a strong industry comes increasing opportunities for training — we are looking forward to developing a tailored approach to the skills and training needs.

“We are forecasting growth in our mining programs and anticipate 2018 to be a very positive year in developing our Hard Rock Mining and Engineering Centre.

“We are excited to encourage local people to get the skills they need to get the jobs that are available in our region.”

The last quarter of 2017 was the strongest quarter for student enrolments at CRT for two years and Mr Theodore said he expected the trend to continue.

“At the end of 2017, we saw some of the challenges facing industry and the training sector start to turn around,” he said.

“We saw industry gaining confidence and become more stable, which has positively impacted training in the regions.

“In a region where there is a skills shortage, we are working hard to retain the high standard of industry experienced staff and also to attract new candidates to our region, ensuring we are prepared for the increasing and evolving training needs.”