Dr Wally Xu (President – Global Development, Joyque Group, Nanjing, P.R. China)

I had wonderful 8 years studying and working in JK, which is also the most important chapter of my life. Not only I finished my doctorate study which still looks quite incredible achievement even today, but I also gained invaluable working experience and attitude towards professionalism, as well as the great experience of social life and events participation. Even I'm one of very few graduates who are not working in mineral or related industry, my career foundation was solidly built in JK. I'm deeply proud of being a JK alumni.

Dr David Seaman (Principal Metallurgist, Newcrest Mining Limited)

The research projects carried out by postgraduate students at the JK provide an excellent opportunity to create professional and social relationships with numerous industry leading professionals. The multi-cultural diversity of the Centre ensures an exciting and fulfilling social experience as well as access to some of the leading researchers in the world. I am truly proud to be a JK alumni and my experience gained at the Centre proved to be an excellent foundation for an exciting career in the minerals processing industry, where I often encounter fellow alumni within various organisations across the industry.

Dr Dewetia Latti (Manager – Technology & Innovation, Rio Tinto)

I did my PhD part-time whilst working in the industry and the support of supervisors and colleagues throughout my time at the JK was exceptional.  A PhD presents academic challenge, but the JK provides much more - a learning environment that includes fundamental and practical application and a wealth of opportunities to interact with experts in minerals processing.  It was a privilege to have studied at the JK.

Dr Iain Scott (Chief Operating Officer, Altona Mining Limited)

I can’t think of a better way to undertake relevant, applied research and gain valuable industrial experience at the same time. The JKMRC formula provided exactly that for me and stood me in good stead in a career that spanned both technical development and production management.

Dr Zeljka Pokrajcic (Principal Process Engineer, Worley Parsons)

Being a student at the JK provided a supportive and stimulating environment for research towards a post graduate degree.  Knowledgeable supervisors with an industry focus together with supportive student culture provided a sound platform for an exciting and rewarding career in the mineral industry.

Dr Barun Gorain (Senior Manager, Mineral Processing, Strategic Technology Solutions Barrick Gold Corporation)

The JK Centre is truly a training ground for developing world-class mineral processing professionals rooted in fundamentals yet cognizant of the realities of how the industry works. The opportunities provided by the JK Centre have enriched my life with a fulfilling career and has allowed me to make key technical contributions and build wonderful friendships within the mining community worldwide.

Dr Walter Valery (Global Senior Vice-President, Technology and Innovation Metso Minerals)

I am very proud and honoured to have studied at the JKMRC. Much more than an academic achievement, the PhD at the JK helped me to develop the professional and personal skills for a successful career in the Mining Industry.  This wouldn’t be possible without the knowledge, experience, enthusiasm and never ending support from my supervisor and colleagues at the Centre.  It has also been a great pleasure to actively participate in the social life of the JK, where students and staff always provided a friendly and culturally rich environment to learn and work.

Dr Elizabeth Williams (Research Fellow at CMLR)

Elizabeth is currently a Research Fellow at the Centre for Mined Land Rehabilitation (CMLR). She completed her PhD through the Centre in 2011 and has since worked on a number of projects addressing environmental challenges facing the mining industry.

Where has your career taken you since completing your studies at CMLR? 
As a Research Fellow as CMLR I get to work on a variety of projects that examine the impact of mining on the local fauna.
I have always loved animals and feel it is a great privilege to be able to work in such an interesting and important role. I especially enjoy the field work, to be able to go onto sites to conduct research.

Currently, I am working on a project that is monitoring the fauna (bats, frogs and birds) surrounding an underground coal mine that is near a conservation area in the Blue Mountains. 

What did your PhD thesis explore?
The title of my thesis was Ant community response to management practices on rehabilitated mine sites. Essentially it explored the impact of rehabilitation practices on the local ant population at two mines. 

Mines in Australia are obliged to rehabilitate the land affected by the mine once it shuts. This process can take a long time, so landscapes are monitored along the way to make sure rehabilitation occurs.

Management practices are often conducted to improve individual aspects of the rehabilitated ecosystem. These practices typically target vegetation parameters (such as increasing biodiversity) and can cause secondary disturbances to the system. Generally, minimal attention is paid to the impact of such secondary disturbances on other biota—which is what my research covered. The findings from my research include recommendations for ant sampling methodology and procedures.

Why did you choose to study at CMLR?
All my tertiary study has been at The University of Queensland. I studied a Bachelor of Science in Ecology and Zoology in 2002 and then completed my Honours in Entomology in 2006. From there, the logical path was to undertake my PhD in Restoration Ecology which I was awarded in 2011.
The Centre has an excellent reputation within the field I work. It is known for its breadth of expertise—it is a huge advantage to have access to such a diverse range of specialists in the one place. The fact that there is a heavy focus on applied research means you get to work on solving real problems and have the potential to change how the mine and mineral industries interact with the environment.

What are your current ties to other parts of the University?
Because of the nature of my work, I get to collaborate with other Centres and parts of the University. The next collaboration will be with researchers from the Centre for Water in the Minerals Industry (CWiMI) and the School of Geography, Planning and Environmental Management to write a paper on coal seam gas and fauna biodiversity.

Dr Aaron Power (Group Leader for Process Engineering at Sedgman Limited)

After completing an undergraduate degree at The University of Queensland, Aaron studied his MPhil (Mining) at the Julius Kruttschnitt Mineral Research Centre (JKMRC), finishing in 2008. He has been able to apply his knowledge to his current role in a company specialising in construction of coal handling plants.

Describe your current role 
I am a Group Leader for Process Engineering at Sedgman Limited—a Brisbane-based mining services company with international offices in China, Mongolia, Africa and South America. In my area, we specialise in designing, constructing and operating coal handling and preparation plants. The company also provides similar services in the metals/ minerals processing industry.

As Group Leader I manage six engineers with varying levels of experience as well as performing a lead process engineering role for development of new Coal Handling and Preparation Plant (CHPP) projects from initial concept study through to detailed engineering, construction and commissioning.

How has your SMI research experience helped you?
My thesis was titled Investigation of k-SB Flotation Model in Fine Coal Flotation and examined whether the k-SB relationship found in base metal flotation was also evident in coal flotation, including non-conventional flotation technologies.

During the test work phase of my thesis I was able to get good hands on experience at mine sites which I was able to build on after I left.
While I was at the Centre I had the opportunity to work with other students on the AMIRA P9M project which researched flotation methods in mines and included field trips to base metal plants in Tasmania and Broken Hill. This provided the research background and techniques to help me carry out the testwork for my project, performed at coal operations in Queensland and New South Wales. Again, this exposure to real mine sites, together with the technical aspects of the testing gave me a good foundation for the types of projects I’ve worked on since.

I was also lucky enough to meet my wife during my time at JKMRC. She was a postgrad student there and we got married in 2007.

What have been your career highlights so far?
I’ve worked at Sedgman for over 10 years now which has given me the opportunity to be involved with some interesting projects in Australia and overseas.

This includes the commissioning of the Dawson CHPP project in 2007 (which at the time was the largest CHPP facility in the southern hemisphere) and the construction support and commissioning of Hail Creek I CHPP in 2003. This is where I gained the basis of my experience for most of my future work.

In 2008 I presented a paper at the 12th Australian Coal Preparation Conference, which I consider a career highlight because it was good to speak in front of my peers about my experience around coal preparation.

I have recently worked on a project in South Africa which was an eye opener in terms of working in another country (work methods, security and culture). It was also great to do some sightseeing during my time there (game parks, Cape Town and a very interesting tour of Soweto).

What are your ties with SMI and the Centre now?
My role is more focused on design and construction now, rather than detailed technical aspects, so I don’t have too much contact with the Centre. However, I think it would be good to have a SMI Alumni Program to make it easier to keep in touch with people who I studied with.