Leading the way: Introducing our new Executive Officer

The WA School of Mines Alumni (WASMA) is delighted to welcome Johanna Gastevich as the newly appointed Executive Officer. Johanna is a highly accomplished professional with extensive experience working in the not-for-profit area for over 20 years.

With a diverse background working in numerous industry sectors including sustainable energy, the built environment, engineering, grains, and geospatial, Johanna brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the role along with exceptional leadership skills and a deep commitment to fostering connections within the industry.

In addition to her extensive industry experience, Johanna possesses exceptional organisational and strategic planning skills. She plans to leverage these strengths to enhance alumni engagement and implement initiatives that cater to the changing needs of the alumni community.

Johanna’s enthusiasm for her new role stems from her genuine desire to create a vibrant and supportive community for any graduate of the WA School of Mines, irrespective of their career stage.

Johanna’s appointment as the Executive Officer of the WA School of Mines Alumni marks an important milestone in the organisation’s journey.

With her extensive skill set, Johanna is well-equipped to guide the Alumni towards continued success and provide valuable support to its members.


Johanna can be contact via email or mobile

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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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).

Focus on Mining Camps 2023

Do you know someone in Year 11 or 12 who is considering a career in the resources industry?

Applications are now open for the next Focus on Mining camp: 3 – 7 July 2023

Focus on Mining is a Kalgoorlie based five-day residential camp for Year 11 and 12 high school students to experience what it’s like to study and work in the mining industry. Participants tour operational mine sites, participate in hands-on workshops, and meet lecturers, students, and mining industry leaders.

With thanks to Northern Star Resources Limited and the WA School of Mines: Minerals, Energy and Chemical Engineering, the camp is free with all travel, meals and accommodation provided.

Applications: https://lnkd.in/gbBJdrYh

For more information visit: https://lnkd.in/gYEYiN86

Applications close on 23 April.

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Kalgoorlie student accommodation appeal

We are seeking URGENT EXPRESSIONS OF INTEREST from friends of the WASM Alumni, who may have a spare room to accommodate one or more students in Kalgoorlie. The terms of which, free or paid, will be determined through a more formal process.

At this stage, there are 40 students which need to be accommodated in Kalgoorlie.

Please complete the Expression of Interest form to register your interest: https://n5wdu4dw.pages.infusionsoft.net

On behalf of the WASM Alumni Council, we extend our thanks to anyone who can support this initiative and will endeavour to keep you up to date as we make progress.

WASMA Perth Graduates event 2023

WASMA very proudly welcomed its newest members into the Alumni and celebrated those reaching 25 years since graduation at the Perth Graduates event on 10 February at the Ritz-Carlton. This year, the event’s format changed from a lunch to a cocktail function allowing many more recent graduates to attend.

WASMA Bentley Branch Chair Colin Roberts MC’d the event with the Welcome to Country by Robyn Whadjuk Ballardong Yorga Collard and her grandson and didgeridoo player Tryse Rioli. Speakers included WASMA President Kyle De Souza who spoke from the heart about the support he has received from the WASMA community throughout his career to his current position.

Others speakers were: Curtin University Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research Professor Chris Moran and Minister for Mines and Petroleum The Honorable Bill Johnston MLA.

The keynote speaker was Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Mincor Resources Gabrielle Iwanow who spoke about her career journey and the importance of recognising that career pathways were not always linear.

WASMA announced its latest award winners with the WASMA Gold Medal going to Will Vaisey.

The gold medal is awarded to a student who has not only excelled academically but has also shown involvement in extracurricular activities such as community engagement and industry leadership.

Will was involved in clubs and societies both internally, through the WASM Social Club and the Wombats Mining Games Team, and externally through the Railways Football Club and the South Kalgoorlie Running Games Team. Most significantly, Will was responsible for the inauguration of the WASM Football Club in 2022, which raised more than $20,000 for the not-for-profit organisation, Miners’ Promise. The judging committee noted that this mountain of work was also completed during his fourth year of study and after the unfortunate passing of his father.

Congratulations Will.

The WASMA silver medals recognise the highest achievers in each of the disciplines.

Saif Al-Yaaribi
Petroleum Engineering

Kate Woodall
Applied Geology

Kai Wai Hung
Spatial Science

Kate Leekong
Chemical Engineering

Will Vaisey
Mining Engineering

Sandrine Symons
Metallurgical Engineering

Eyad Ahmad Halawani

Congratulations to our medallists and all recent and 25-year graduates.

WASMA also thanks Northern Star Resources Limited, Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions and Curtin University for their ongoing support for WASMA and these events.

Here is a link to the Graduate event gallery: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1jq7DOXIJsl8-0t0pxldfUBOIELn6UhUB

WASMA 2023 Sponsors Guide

WASMA recently launched the 2023 Sponsors Guide which gives industry members the opportunity to showcase their company through WASMA’s social media, website and event reach.

With a host of different events and programs scheduled for 2023, we hope you will join us as we Refine and Redefine who we are, amongst clear global trends to decarbonise.

No matter your size, we have an opportunity for you. Sponsorships start from $500.

Please contact us at admin@wasma.com.au if you are interested in sponsoring.

To view the guide visit: https://wasma.com.au/industry/industry-get-involved/