New water management course to prepare environmental staff for the realities of mining

15 November 2021
CWiMI Environmental Leadership and Performance Manager Shona Stevens

The Sustainable Minerals Institute’s (SMI) Centre for Water in the Minerals Industry (CWiMI) is set to launch a new water management course to ensure environmental graduates and officers in the mining industry have access to best-practice technical knowledge.

Designed by researchers and practitioners at CWiMI, the Mine Water Management Course (Registrations now open) aims to equip junior environmental staff with the technical skills to implement best practice water management at mining operations through four ten-week online modules.

CWiMI Environmental Leadership and Performance Manager Shona Stevens said the course was about providing a practical understanding.

“When junior environmental staff arrive at a mine site their supervisors might give them space to do their work under the assumption they’ve been prepared for practical work at an operation, but this is often not the case,” said Shona.

“It’s difficult to just be taught the theory behind technical water management and then be expected to implement it, sometimes unsupervised, in a practical setting – we want to bridge that gap.

“The first module offered in the course, Mine Water Fundamentals, is really about starting them off on the right foot by making sure they have a solid understanding of hydrology, flood risk, groundwater and the use of GIS.

“But, almost as importantly, the course will also equip them with the skills to effectively work in collaboration with service providers, particularly engineering consulting firms.

“You can’t expect someone to be able to do everything, especially in small teams. It is critical that environmental staff understand the requirements of detailed technical studies, can write scopes of work for service providers, can critically analyse their reports and extract the most important information and advice.

The module launches for national international audiences in February 2022 and will be the first delivered under SMI’s Mine Site Environmental Management Program, an over-arching program that will feature a series of courses covering environmental management across the life of mine. 

CWiMI Director Associate Professor Claire Côte said the Program would be a valuable resource for environment personnel in a rapidly evolving industry.

“The Program will include 6 to 8 modules, launched progressively in the next 3 years, providing environmental management training and education that covers all aspects, from initial assessment studies to rehabilitation and closure.   

“Participants will be able to build their own pathway by selecting modules that strengthen their capability,” Assoc Prof Côte said.

“Supporting expertise in environmental management is critical for projects or operations at a time when government, society and the investment community are increasingly focusing on the environmental, social and governance aspects of mining.”

To register for Mine Water Fundamentals, visit here. The second Module, Mine Site Water Management, will be offered in Semester 2 2022.