WASMA member achievements

Congratulations to long-serving WASMA Council member Darren Stralow (Class of 2001), who has been appointed Managing Director of Bellevue Gold Limited. Alongside Darren is fellow WASMA member Bill Stirling (Class of 2006) who was promoted to Chief Operations Officer.

Darren has been instrumental in the revitalisation of WASMA’s free mentoring program.

We look forward to seeing what they achieve together!

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.


Leap of Faith Pays Off for Curtin University Vice-Chancellor

Curtin University Vice-Chancellor Professor Harlene Hayne with previous WASMA Council President Raleigh Finlayson

Curtin University Vice-Chancellor Professor Harlene Hayne started in her position in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic. Due to travel restrictions, she hadn’t even visited Curtin’s Bentley campus before taking up the role. Just over 18 months since starting, we caught up with Professor Hayne to see how she has settled into the role and her vision for the University, and in particular WASM:MECE.

Can you summarise your experience since taking up the Vice-Chancellor role?

The first time I stepped foot on the Bentley campus was my first day of work, April 19, 2021. My move to WA required a leap of faith both on my part and on the part of the University Council who selected me.  From my perspective, my leap of faith has made my life richer.  I have been extremely impressed by what I have found here.

As you will all know, Curtin is known for its industry-engaged and industry-imbedded approach to education.  It is also a university that is values-driven and believes in the principles of equity and social justice.  It has been an honour and a privilege to lead this university over the last 18 months and I look forward to a bright and successful future.

In terms of Kalgoorlie, I visited the campus within weeks of arriving in WA.  I spent much of my childhood in Colorado, so I grew up with the same red dirt and blue sky that characterises the landscape of the Goldfield’s region.  I immediately felt at home.  During that first visit, I had the unique opportunity to visit the Super Pit with Raleigh Finlayson, and he patiently provided me with a tutorial on open-pit mining.  I also attended a graduation on that visit and the WASMA function later that night.

Since then, I have enjoyed multiple visits to the Kalgoorlie campus and I have had the opportunity to meet staff and students.  One of my fondest memories so far was late last year when I travelled to Kalgoorlie for the Prime Minister’s announcement of the funding of our university department of rural health.  Although the funding announcement was fantastic, the best part of that visit was the opportunity to watch students practicing for the mining games!


One of your main focuses has been the student experience – can you outline what this involves and how this has evolved from previous strategies?

For any high-performing organisation, each strategy plan should build on the one before it. Curtin’s strategic journey has been characterised by achievements that reflect the focus of our strategic direction at a particular point in time.  For example, across successive strategies, we have worked to improve the quality and impact of our research and to strengthen and expand our presence around the Indian Ocean Rim.  We will continue to do those things, but as part of Strategy to 2030, we will also have a laser focus on the student experience, including the quality of our teaching.


How does WASM:MECE fit into this?

As the oldest Curtin campus, WASM:WECE will continue to be a flagship for teaching, research, and industry engagement.  We have a long history of preparing mining professionals for the world of work and our students are highly sought after once they graduate.  I was particularly impressed that, during that first graduation that I attended in Kalgoorlie, every student who crossed the stage was already employed in the industry.  Going forward, we need to work hard to find new ways to ensure that our students are not only successful once they graduate, but that they also have a world-class experience along the way.  We are working with the Schools, the Faculties, and the students to make sure that the Curtin journey is engaging, enjoyable, and memorable.


What are some other areas you are focusing on?

Across the wider university, we have a number of high-profile projects on the go.  Earlier this year, the Government announced funding for the Curtin-led Resources Technology and Critical Minerals Trailblazer, valued at over $200 million.  The Trailblazer will add significant value, resilience, and sovereign capability throughout Australia’s critical minerals and hydrogen energy value chains. This major partnership with government and industry will help to deliver the skills and the future workforce we need to realise the benefits from the resources that are essential components of clean energy technologies.

In addition, during his maiden speech to the sector, the new Minister for Education, the Honourable Jason Clare announced funding for the National Centre for Student Equity in Higher Education.  This funding will allow us to extend the current research footprint of the Centre to include the implementation and evaluation of new trials designed to increase the success of students from a wide range of equity categories.  Although the Centre is located at Curtin, it will be a national resource for the higher education system.

We are also continuing to build on our commitment to enhancing the health and well-being of the people of rural, regional, and remote WA through both our medical school and the new university department of rural health that will have a strong presence in Kalgoorlie.


How can WASMA and industry help with these strategies?

The leading universities around the world are those that are blessed with a strong alumni base – just like WASMA. Alumni are a two-way bridge to industry and to the world at large. Not only do alumni provide scholarships and industry connections for our students, they also provide them with opportunities for work placements and, ultimately, jobs. But alumni do more than this. They bring good ideas to the University about the essential knowledge requirements of industry, which our researchers can then work collaboratively with industry to solve. The best student experience and the best innovation doesn’t happen in a vacuum. It happens when universities and their alumni come together. That’s how strategies are delivered to the benefit of the whole community.

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.

Sandvik’s largest-capacity BEV truck for underground arrives in Western Australia

Sandvik TH665B battery electric truck

The Sandvik TH665B battery electric truck, which features an unrivalled 65-tonne payload capacity has landed in Kalgoorlie, Western Australia. The truck will be showcased at the St Barbara’s Day Parade on the first weekend in December.

Barminco and AngloGold Ashanti Australia will then trial the truck at the Sunrise Dam gold mine to prove its viability in a long ramp haulage application before commercial production of Sandvik TH665B is expected to commence in late 2024.

Sandvik is continuing to execute on its BEV strategy by expanding its product line of battery­electric trucks and loaders to include both larger and smaller size classes. The Sandvik TH665B is engineered to improve productivity, sustainability and cost efficiency in bulk mining operations.

Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions Business Development Manager Daniel Yearn said with more than 50 years’ experience in the design and manufacture of underground mining equipment, we’re proud to continue to lead the way in helping customers embrace more sustainable solutions.

“Our 65-tonne battery-electric truck is our latest development in helping hard rock miners and contractors to make the shift towards more productive, emission-free mining,” he said.

The Sandvik TH665B blends proven Sandvik design and advanced technology built around electric drivelines and battery systems. Due to an extremely efficient electric driveline, a fully loaded Sandvik TH665B is expected to be up to 30 per cent faster on a 1:7 ramp than a comparable conventional diesel underground truck. Each of the truck’s four wheels is equipped with independent drives, resulting in a simpler driveline, improved overall efficiency and maximum power output. The Sandvik TH665B electric drivetrain delivers 640kW of continuous power, enabling high acceleration and fast ramp speeds.

The truck is equipped with Sandvik’s patented self-swapping battery system, including the AutoSwap and AutoConnect functions, which enables a quick and easy battery swap in a matter of minutes, and without any major infrastructure like overhead cranes or other heavy handling equipment. The Sandvik TH665B also features a new battery lifting system for improved reliability and the battery cage has been redesigned to improve serviceability, enabling battery module changes without the need to remove the battery packs from the battery cage.

The new operator cabin utilises the same design as the industry leading cabin of Sandvik’s Toro™ TH663i underground truck. The cabin offers premium operator ergonomics with a significant number of adjustment possibilities to facilitate a comfortable operating environment.

The central oscillation frame design results in improved stability, and the front axle suspension ensures a smooth ride on rough roads. The Sandvik TH665B cabin is equipped with joystick steering, large touchscreen colour display and the newest control system, providing easy access to equipment data.

WASMA Sandvik Gala 2022 – Celebrating in Style

WASMA enjoyed a return to it’s traditional Gala format after a few uncertain years, with a sit-down dinner at the Ritz-Carlton on November 5.

Thank you to everyone who attended and supported this fun and lovely event.

The WASMA Sandvik Gala began with two fabulous performers – the Gold Digger statue and roving ‘how did he do that?’ magician and continued with ongoing conversations and dancing throughout the night.

A very big thank you to Gemma Murphy and Darren Stralow who brilliantly MC’d the evening and our speakers including the moving Welcome to Country from Robyn Whadjuk Ballardong Yorga Collard, Head of School WA School of Mines: MECE Professor Michael Hitch, newly-elected WASMA President Kyle De Souza, Sandvik representative Henna Kaariluoto and guest speaker Brett Cunningham.

As Kyle mentioned, WASMA certainly has its own ‘secret sauce’ which makes this community so special.

We couldn’t put this event on without our generous sponsors:

Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions
Northern Star Resources Limited
Curtin University
TLT-Turbo GmbH
Red Dirt Metals
Abra Mining Pty Limited

Thank you also to Lux Events for putting on such a great event.

WASMA Focuses on Decarbonisation at RIC event

Decarbonisation was the focus of WASMA’s October Resources Innovation and Collaboration (RIC) event. As an important topic on everyone’s agenda, it was great to hear the insights from leaders in this area and to see the close collaboration in their work.

We heard from Paul Linabury in his electrification role at Barminco, paving the way in mining services; Rob Derries at GOLD FIELDS and the significant vehicle trials they are running within a broader agenda; Kevin West at Dassault Systèmes on simulating new mining models to optimise the next gen electrified mine; Rob Solomon at WA School of Mines: Minerals, Energy and Chemical Engineering and how he is driving new methods of learning; and Michelle Keegan as panel chair.

Thanks to our sponsors Dassault Systèmes and TLT-Turbo GmbH. These events wouldn’t be possible without your support.

Sandvik launches AutoMine® Mapping Solution, next generation automation solution

Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions has introduced AutoMine® Mapping Solution, an innovative new product designed to maximise productivity and improve safety of autonomous vehicle navigation in underground mining operations by utilising mapped data.

AutoMine® Mapping Solution is Sandvik’s next generation product that enables a vehicle to safely record an underground 3D environment with a mine mapping tool, and convert 3D maps to 2D. Faster configuration, and the possibility to continue to operate other equipment within the area while it is being mapped, increases productivity and efficiency.

AutoMine® Mapping Solution’s innovative technology reduces the time and cost involved in manual mapping and enables a safer, more efficient autonomous underground operating environment. It can be used on all types of underground equipment (loaders, trucks and drills), eliminating the need for dedicated equipment and resource to map the area.

“With AutoMine® Mapping Solution, we are progressing to the next generation of innovative automation solutions, bringing new technologies to the underground mining industry which are designed to maximise our customers’ productivity and safety,” said Ty Osborne, Product Line Manager Underground Automation Sales at
Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions.

“AutoMine® Mapping Solution is easy to use and turns real-time data from the mine into 3D models, providing a clear customer advantage in the planning and prioritising of their automated operations and increasing production control,” Osborne said.

AutoMine® Mapping Solution will be available to order later in 2022.