• 2012 – Geologist (Highest Honours), University of Chile
  • 2015 - MSc in Geology (Highest Honours), University of Chile
  • Current - PhD Candidate at SMI-JKMRC, The University of Queensland
Scholarships and Awards
  • 2015 - Recipient of the Gender Equity program from University of Chile. The program helps women to undertake PhD studies, in critical areas for the country. Pia held the position of “Instructor Lecturer” at the Mining department of University of Chile.
  • 2015 - Awarded the Becas Chile Scholarship from the Chilean Government, to cover tuition and living expenses during her PhD program.
  • 2013 -  Recipient of Natural Resource Research Award which was granted by the association for Mathematical Geosciences, for the findings of her Masters thesis.
  • 2010–2012 - Selected for the Mining of excellence Program– Anglo American Chile which is for undergraduate students with promissory future. Included was the ability to undertake two internships of 3 months each at Los Bronces Operation. One internship was in exploration geology and the other in production geology.
Industry Experience

During 2014 - 2015 Pia worked as a Geomet consultant at “Empirica Consultores - Chile” where she participated in the development of projects in Geomet space, eg. the design of sampling campaigns, QAQC, multivariate Geostatistics for domain definition, with CODELCO, AMSA, BHP Billiton and Anglo American in Chile.

Teaching Assistantships

Pia enjoys teaching and has participated in many courses as tutor:

The University of Queensland, Chemical Engineering:

  • Mineral Characterization and Comminution, First semester 2017-2018 

University of Chile, Geology department, School of Maths and Sciences: 

  • Metallogeny (Spring 2012 - Spring 2013)
  • Hidrogeology (Spring 2012)
  • Introduction to mineral deposits (Spring 2011)
  • Engineering Geology (Spring 2011) 
  • Basic Geology (Spring 2010)
  • Basic Algebra (Autumn 2010)
Master thesis (2012 - 2015):

“Water/rock interaction in grinding and its geochemical impacts in flotation: Escondida porphyry case”. This project was developed in a joint effort between the Advance Laboratory for Geostatistical Supercomputing (ALGES) from University of Chile and the Geomet area of “Minera Escondida”. The main objective was modelling physicochemical reactions ocurring in the surface of minerals and understanding how they could affect flotation performance.

  • Proceedings of the 1st International Conference on Geometallurgy, IOM3, London, UK, 2014. Lois P., Townley B., Kracht W. and Ortiz J. “Water/rock interactions and physicochemical controls on mineral processing: being predictive based on geology”.
  • Proceedings of the 2nd International Seminar on Geometallurgy, 2014, Santiago, Chile, 2014. Lois P., Townley B., Kracht W. and Ortiz J. "Physicochemical modelling of the behavior of different mineralogical units on experimental milling".
  • Proceedings of the 17th annual conference of the International Association for Mathematical Geosciences (IAMG), Freigberg, Germany, 2015. Ortiz J., Kracth W., Townley B., Lois P., Cárdenas E., Miranda R., Álvarez M. "Workflows in geometallurgy prediction: challenges and outlook".
  • Poster presentation in the 1stInternational Seminar on Geometallurgy, Santiago, Chile, 2012. “Water/rock interactions on mineral processing”.
  • Poster presentation in the 27th International Mineral Processing Conference (IMPC), Santiago, Chile, 2014 "A physicochemical modelling of the behavior of different mineralogical units on experimental milling”.

Not happy with the application of the current methodologies to link Geology and the Processing of rocks, and with the desire to increase knowledge in Processing, in 2015 Pia applied for a PhD position at SMI-JKMRC in a comminution project.

PhD Project “Studying the relationship between texture-mineralogy of rock and its fundamental breakage properties”.

The experience and previous works have demonstrated that the characteristics of rock imposed by its formation conditions clearly influences the response of different ore types in the comminution stage. Understanding and being able to predict breakage using rock characteristics could be a novel contribution to improving circuits performance, modelling and design stages. Nevertheless, until now, mineralogy by its own is not able to explain all the variability indicating that other features of the rock should be considered. The texture appears as a key feature to enhance the relationship between geology and comminution response.

With this job, Pia wants to build a methodology to relate quantitative textural measurements with intrinsically breakage properties of the rock, using single impact small-scale test and characterisation techniques to feed core-logging stage upwards.