Josh Chiat Kalgoorlie Miner

21 February 2017
The WA School of Mines is facing one of the toughest years to date, as it gears up for the official start of orientation week today. A small group of postgraduate students living at the university’s new $32 million Agricola housing
facility toured the university yesterday alongside WASM director Sam Spearing and Curtin University pro vice-chancellor Moses Tade.
WASM’s partner universities on the east coast have struggled through record low enrolments in mining engineering this year. However, with strong postgraduate interest and international enrolments, Mr Tade is remaining
upbeat as the impact of public perceptions of the mining downturn hit the university.
“The challenge for us is really to work our way out of it, even though it is the boom and bust cycle,” he said, adding that a drop-off in enrolments from the split cohort in 2014 and perceptions of the mining industry had hurt undergraduate student numbers. “Those are the real challenges and I’m happy to say that gradually things are improving, higher degree students (numbers) are improving and the faculty is working on different strategies to give
us a sustainable project and we are hoping to come out with a plan in the next three or four months to have something sustainable in the future,” he said.
“It’s not only the school of mines, the same thing is happening all over Australia.” On the upside, last year’s introduction of the QS rankings for mining engineering courses is having a positive effect on the university’s
international marketing. All of the postgraduates that toured the campus yesterday highlighted Curtin University’s number 19 ranking on the guide as a key reason for making the move to Kalgoorlie.
They included Iran’s Saeed Ghannadpour and Mohammadbagher Fathom, Papua New Guinea’s Sailas and Josie Ranja Sailas, South Korean Dr Seongseung Kang and the Philippines’ Daryl Corbin Caw.
Mr Caw, studying a Masters of Philosophy in chemical engineering in the next 18 months, said WASM’s ranking was a drawcard. “The School of Mines is top 19 in the whole world in line with that specific field, that’s why I chose to study here at WASM,” he said. He will use WASM expertise to work on a new way to perfect the processing of lateritic ore, something that has long been hampered by its high cost.
Mr Tade said despite the downturn it was a good time to enter the mining game.
“What we’re trying for people to see is that this is the best time actually to get an education in the mining area because by the time you finish your degree in four years’ time there will be lots more job opportunities,” he said.

Author: WASMA

The history of the Western Australian School of Mines Alumni (WASMA) reflects the ups and downs of the Western Australian School of Mines (WASM) and the role it has played in supporting graduates in a range of activities and events. It also describes the important role that graduates have played in ensuring WASM remains in Kalgoorlie. Learn more.