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Hunter Region Branch Newsletter April 2021

Hunter Region Branch
· 1309 words, 6 minute read


Welcome from the Chair


Hennie Du Plooy.jpg

Dear Branch members, with one quarter of the year 2021 already in the past, we are pleased to be able to share this update with you. Members of your Committee recently participated in a strategy update from the Institute’s President and CEO. To me the overarching takeaway was that despite the challenges of the last year or so, the organisation is in good health and well positioned to do continue to do what it does best: representing the interests of people in resources. Development activities, standards and training all continue to get focussed attention, at a time when standards and performance in our industry are often on the front pages of newspapers.

The technical advancements in our website and communities continue to progress, and increasingly, personal interaction through conferences and branch events is starting to return. Here in the Hunter we aim to provide more of these opportunities as well as the year develops. To close, I wish to congratulate the recipients of recognition and scholarships that we highlight below.


Hennie du Plooy

Chair AusIMM Hunter Region Branch


Upcoming Events – Hunter Region

We will be running some local events in 2021, subject to COVID restrictions, including the following events:

  • Thursday 29th April - Students Meet Industry Night, at Newcastle Museum
  • Thursday 5th August - Jameson Distinguished Lecture, Newcastle Museum, Topic: Gekko and innovation – lessons learnt from COVID-19
  • Tech talk – Armidale (TBC)


New members

Congratulations and welcome to the following new members to Hunter Region Branch. We hope to see you at our upcoming events.

Omar Elkhaligi – Associate

Clayton Small – Student

Jared Hardy – Student

Alan Bailes - Member


Student Chapter Report

The next event for the Student Chapter will be the Students Meet Industry night to be held on 29th April at Newcastle Museum auditorium. All members are welcome to attend, not just students.


Congratulations to Hunter Region Members

We are pleased to acknowledge the following students who have received 2021 AusIMM Education Endowment Fund Scholarships.

EEF Premium Scholarships (undergraduate)

Ashlee Baker – Charles Sturt University

Bachelor of Environmental Science and Management (Applied Earth Sciences)

Ashlee Baker.jpg

Ashlee is a third-generation coal miner from the New South Wales Hunter Valley and commenced her career in 2014 with a Traineeship in Surface Extractions at Rio Tinto’s Mount Thorley Warkworth Mine. After learning to operate a variety of trucks and water carts, Ashlee moved on to an operator position at Peabody’s Wambo Open Cut, which subsequently integrated with Glencore’s United Collieries to create United Wambo Joint Venture.
Dedicated to the health and safety of her crew, Ashlee was elected as the work health and safety representative at United Wambo. Ashlee’s interests in the environment, combined with her role in mining operations, motivated her to study environmental science, with a goal of working on rehabilitation and community engagement. Ashlee is a volunteer member of Yancoal’s Community Consultative Committee at their Underground Coal Mine, Austar, which has provided her the opportunity to experience mining operations as a near neighbour, understanding the balance between mining and community. Ashlee believes equality, inclusion, and diversity are vital for a successful team in mining to allow open communication and contribution from all team members across all departments.

EEF Premium Scholarships (undergraduate)
Lillian Boerst – University of Newcastle
Bachelor of Chemical Engineering/Bachelor of Science (Advanced Materials)

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Throughout her tertiary studies, Lillian has developed a strong passion for mining and mineral processing industries which has been reinforced through a number of industry placements. These experiences have deepened Lillian’s understanding of key engineering and scientific principles and have informed a desire to improve the performance of current processes to enhance the sustainability of mining practices.
Lillian is also passionate about local community engagement and developing her leadership skills and experiences, including getting involved in the local community and becoming a strong leader. This is evident in through volunteer work and membership of the AusIMM Newcastle Student Chapter, Young Engineers Newcastle (Engineers Australia), and Newcastle University Chemical Engineering Society. Lillian is looking forward to ‘giving back’ as she transitions from student to industry professional.

EEF Premium Scholarships (postgraduate)
Ahmad Tabish – University of Newcastle

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Following the completion of undergraduate degree studies in Chemical Engineering, Ahmad Tabish received his MS in Chemical Engineering from The Petroleum Institute Research Center of Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) and subsequently worked on the synthesis of self-healing anti corrosion coatings based on carbon nanomaterials for the oil and gas industry.
After receiving his MS, Ahmad worked at the Khalifa University's Research Center in the United Arab Emirates from 2017-2019 on projects related to metal recovery from wastes. All of these experiences combined to inspire an interest in further study and research. Consequently, Ahmad has enrolled with The Global Innovation Center for Advanced Nanomaterials at the University of Newcastle and through his PhD is working on finding novel pathways for synthesis of Mesoporous Silica based nanomaterials for carbon capture and for manufacturing various fine chemicals via catalysis.

EEF Premium Scholarships (postgraduate)
Nathan Barrett – University of Newcastle

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Nathan completed a Bachelor of Chemical Engineering with first class honours in 2019, and subsequently commenced a PhD with the Centre for Ironmaking Materials Research (CIMR) in 2020. Between graduating and commencing the PhD, Nathan worked as a research assistant with the CIMR on a broad range of ironmaking projects. This experience broadened his knowledge in the ironmaking industry, allowing a quick progression in the early stages of his research.
Nathan’s research, with a focus on hydrogen utilisation in the blast furnace, is complemented by his personal commitment to sustainable engineering practices, and a belief that his areas of research will be significant in reducing blast furnace emissions while ironmaking transitions to alternative technologies with lower fossil fuel reliance.
‘I am honoured to be a recipient of the AusIMM EEF Scholarship and look forward to the opportunities to connect with the broader minerals industry.’


Honorary Fellowship of AusIMM - Prof. Alice Clark

Honorary Fellowship recognises exceptional achievement, service or contribution to the resources sector. This grade of membership may be conferred on any senior and influential professional who has performed notable, active and sustained service to AusIMM or made a major contribution to the resources sector.

Three members have been conferred Honorary Fellowship in 2021, including Hunter Region Branch member Alice Clark. Congratulations to Prof. Clark.

Professor Alice Clark HonFAusIMM

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Professor Alice Clark has a reputation for strong and clear‐headed leadership. She has more than 35 years’ minerals industry experience including senior leadership positions in corporate, consulting and research institutions, as well as consulting to government and major resources groups. Alice served as AusIMM President in 2011-12 and received the Beryl Jacka Award in 2015.
Alice has devoted many years of work to the development and maintenance of professional standards in industry. She has been active in the Joint Ore Reserves Committee (JORC) since 1996, and made a leading contribution to the revision of the JORC Code in her position as Deputy Chair from 2007‐2013. She is a Commissioner in the NSW Independent Planning commission and a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering.
Alice’s notable academic leadership roles include her appointment to the role of Director for both the Julius Kruttschnitt Mineral Research Centre (JKMRC) and the WH Bryan Mining and Geology Research Centre (BRC) within the Sustainable Minerals Institute at The University of Queensland (UQ) in 2012, overseeing substantial restructuring of those organisations.
In her current role as SMI’s Deputy Director (Strategy) she has been instrumental in developing a future‐focused team, who are breaking new ground in technical innovation.
As AusIMM’s first female president, the first female Director of JKMRC at UQ, and Mount Isa’s first female Chief Geologist, Alice has been a role model for many professionals throughout her career. She remains an ambassador and advocate of the exploration and mining industry.


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