My visiting period at MIWATCH: a career-changing opportunity

Gabriele Baldassarre finishes up his visit to the Sustainable Minerals Institute and shares some final thoughts about his time working with the  Mine Waste Transformation through Characterisation (MIWATCH) group.

After returning from a long journey back home, I felt it necessary to reflect on the events of the past six weeks and the many new experiences I had. After this placement with MIWATCH I return to Italy with a newfound awareness of how a career can be positively shaped by opportunities that can crop up.

My visit kicked off with participation in the first Australian Mine Waste Symposium. This event gave me the unique opportunity to kickstart the placement by presenting my research work to a highly qualified audience also focused on mine waste. The level of discussion and exchanges was truly beneficial, enabling me to build a new network of contacts across academic, government and entrepreneurial realms.

Gabriele Baldassarre at the 2024 Australian Mine Waste Symposium

The following weeks passed quickly, perhaps too quickly! It was a succession of opportunities to get involved in laboratory activities and data analysis across MIWATCH’s project portfolio led by Professor Anita Parbhakar-Fox, who did not hesitate to involve me giving me a chance to contribute and enhance my research skills. This will benefit my own PhD research characterizing mine waste in Italy to identify practical valorisation opportunities.

Gabriele Baldassarre in the lab

Like any adventure, it's the fellow travelers who make the real difference! From the very first day, I found a welcoming and warm environment, characterized by a strong international vocation with each team member having their own unique set of skills. This provided me with the opportunity to learn many different data collection and interpretation approaches relevant to my research enabling me to discuss high-level scientific questions with all members of MIWATCH. Everyone I met has left a significant mark on me and will influence the next steps of my research journey.

Mine Waste Transformation through Characterisation (MIWATCH) group having a social dinner outing
Mine Waste Transformation through Characterisation (MIWATCH) group

Finally, my trip concluded with fieldwork in South Australia, and was the highlight of the experience! Being a part of the MIWATCH action team, actively participating in tailings sampling, and applying firsthand all the procedures and experiences developed for sampling, characterization, and second prospectivity of mining waste over years of research by the group, will remain a memorable and invaluable part of my career.

Gabriele Baldassarre

I return home with a suitcase full of magnificent memories and new skills that I am eager to put into practice in my research project at the Polytechnic University of Turin, Italy. All the teachings and skills acquired during my time at the Sustainable Minerals Institute will remain invaluable.

I sincerely thank all the wonderful people I met at the Indooroopilly campus and wish all my MIWATCH colleagues great success in their magnificent daily work!

With the hope of collaborating again and seeing you all soon, I return home knowing that the international team of mining waste is motivated and aware that new possibilities for waste streams exist. No matter how far or under which stars, unity is the key to success!

Sincerely thankful,


Gabriele Baldassarre


Last updated:
28 March 2024