Director's Welcome – February 2023

16 Feb 2023
Professor Rick Valenta

Welcome to SMI’s first e-newsletter of 2023. The final few weeks of 2022 and the first weeks of the new year were both busy for the Institute, so we have plenty of new developments and achievements to share with you.

In late November, not long after the final e-newsletter of 2022, the Complex Orebody Program celebrated the end of its fifth year with a Presentation Day – an event that has grown to become a staple of the SMI calendar. The full-day event explored the massive achievements the Program has accomplished over the years, with researchers and their industry partners having plenty to discuss about the past and the future.

Not long after the Presentation Day, another year-defining event took place at the Institute – PhD graduations. Donning their caps and gowns, Lachlan Robertson, Amelia Corzo Remigio, Karan Jain, Patrick Junior, Zhengdong Han, Qing Yi and Alidu Babatu Adam all marked the end of their PhD journey at the main UQ ceremony before heading back to SMI to celebrate with colleagues and friends. I’d like to congratulate them all for reaching such an impressive milestone in their lives and careers – we will be following their next moves closely!

In the new year, a series of impactful publications became the main channel through which SMI was influencing the minerals industry and wider society.

Starting off with a project that encapsulates the cross-cutting nature of SMI, a multidisciplinary team of researcher was invited to manage, and contribute to, a special issue of the Resources, Conservation and Recycling journal titled 'Future of battery metals supply'. 

A report produced by SMI’s Minerals Industry Safety and Health Centre (MISHC), and commissioned by the Queensland Commissioner for Resources Safety & Health, examined fatigue management in Queensland mining as well as the relationships between fatigue, safety, and mental health.

Researchers from our Centre for Social Responsibility in Mining, in collaboration with Industry Fellow Emma Garlett, authored a new article analysing the Australian Parliamentary Inquiry into the destruction of the Juukan Gorge rockshelters in 2020.

PhD students and staff from the JKMRC launched JKMRC Digest, a space where researchers can share updates on their research activities and experiences. Along with the MIWATCH blog series, this means the Institute has two regularly published series where researchers share their work with the world.

Furthermore, we also welcomed the announcement that Associate Professor Anita Parbhakar-Fox has been named as one of Australia’s ‘Superstars of STEM’ for 2023, joining an inspired line-up of female role models from across Australia.

Bringing us almost to the present, in early February researchers and staff at both our St Lucia and Indooroopilly sites welcomed the Shadow Minister for Resources, Senator Susan McDonald, for a show-and-tell visit. The visit included 'snapshot' presentations on a range of topics – social responsibility, environmental management, mineral processing, mineral exploration and discovery – as well as tours of the Production Centres' facilities.

All these great events, publications and impacts are just the tip of the iceberg, so I hope you enjoy what the rest of the e-newsletter has to share.