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Southern Queensland Branch May 2022 Newsletter

· 3700 words, 15 minute read


  • Chair’s report
  • March Technical Talk with Andrew Seccombe and Mark Noppe: Registered Professional Engineers of Queensland (RPEQ) and AusIMM Chartered Professionals
  • March Technical Talk with Dr Rob McCartney: Increasing obligations in psychosocial health & safety in the resources sector
  • AusIMM International Women’s Day Event Series 2022: Brisbane Event
  • AusIMM Southern Queensland Student Chapter: Students Meet Industry Night
  • AusIMM Southern Queensland Student Chapter: Glencore Technical Seminar
  • Bowen Basin Symposium 2022
  • Southern Queensland Branch Committee Members
  • Getting to know your Committee
  • Upcoming events
  • Social media, sponsorship and advertising, contributions

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Notes from the Southern Queensland Branch Chair

Yass-Marie Seccombe MAusIMM

Welcome to the first ever AusIMM Southern Queensland Branch newsletter!

This newsletter is just one of the new approaches the committee will be taking this year to improve your AusIMM experience and help us to better connect.

We have already held two technical talks and one networking event so far in 2022 (both in person) – a huge thank you to those who have come along to network, learn and share your thoughts on where the committee should focus our efforts this year. It has been great to meet so many of you already but I invite all AusIMM Southern Queensland Branch members – whether long-standing or brand new, to follow us on LinkedIn and keep an eye out for other opportunities that you can join us for this year. This includes one of the engaging and diverse technical sessions which we hold monthly (yes, they count toward your PD hours!), our major annual event – the JK lecture, and don’t forget the end of year AGM Christmas party.

Aside from coordinating these events, we will also be focussing on a few key areas which you will hear more about over the next few months:

  • Participation and support of AusIMM conferences and events
  • Career development and Chartered Professional focus
  • Advocacy through Trusted Voice focus
  • Continuation of industry body representation.

I am pleased to announce that we have had a number of new committee members join us. Each new committee member has brought with them ideas and different perspectives that have injected fresh energy into the Southern Queensland Branch Committee. In each newsletter you will have the opportunity to get to know your committee members through the Q&A section. This will also include information about their areas of focus so you know who to reach out to if you would like to be more involved

Hope to meet you at an AusIMM event soon!

Technical talk recaps

Loren Ager MAusIMM

March Technical Talk with Andrew Seccombe and Mark Noppe: Registered Professional Engineers of Queensland (RPEQ) and AusIMM Chartered Professionals

What a fantastic start to a year of best-practice technical talks from the AusIMM Southern Queensland Branch. Thank you Andrew Seccombe and Linda Bray for your comprehensive discussion on becoming a Chartered Professional and the associated duties and responsibilities in Queensland.

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March Technical Talk with Dr Rob McCartney: Increasing obligations in psychosocial health & safety in the resources sector

The AusIMM Southern Queensland Branch second technical talk for the year successfully identified the changing obligations in psychosocial health and safety in the resource industry with a particular focus on leading causes of mental health related disease.

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Thank you Dr Robert McCartney for presenting this informative and comprehensive technical talk and for providing insight into this poignant topic.

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AusIMM International Women’s Day Event Series 2022: Brisbane Event

Bernadette Currie MAusIMM

On March 21, I attended the AusIMM’s IWD lunch in Brisbane (rescheduled from Friday March 4 due to floods). My fellow Southern Queensland Branch Committee Members Alex Thin, Mark Noppe, Shirlee Duke and Adam Rounsley were also amongst the buzzing room. I thought vice-chair Adam R's presence with baby Oscar in tow was a particularly powerful #breakthebias moment!

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Local elder Maroochy Barambah.

Former branch chair, Katrina Crook, did a lovely job as the event MC and welcomed local elder Maroochy Barambah to bless the gathering and offer a warm, womanly welcome to country. CEO Stephen Durkin spoke on behalf of AusIMM and gave an overview of key initiatives and programs, including the annual Women in Mining Survey, which again this year reminds us that there is more to be done to make mining a great place for women to work and thrive.

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From left to right: Stephen Durkin, Dr. Jenine Beekhuyzen and Katrina Crook

The keynote speaker Dr Jenine Beekhuyzen OAM, founder and CEO of the Tech Girls Movement Foundation, shared some inspiring insights on how the technology industry is changing to serve tomorrow’s digital landscape for future generations. The programs she has championed engage with primary school aged girls and encourage them into exciting careers in technology and encourage young girls not to “opt out” of STEM.

Her work is impressive and I personally think (as a mother of three teen/adult daughters) the mining industry could do more along these lines to open up careers in resources to very young girls. My own thoughts are that AusIMM should look within to find keynote speakers, who are AusIMM Members and Fellows, to highlight their career success in operational, technical, or organisational roles, as they would be inspirational for the many young and mid-career women bring their talent to the sector.

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From left to right: Wendy Wang; Kimberley Heppell, Laila Green, Virna, Bernadette Currie (Sedgman), Renee Spathonis, Amy Kirk, Nichole Potter.

I would like to thank/commend all the sponsor tables and employers that arranged for their own female team members, at all levels of organisation, to enjoy the lunch with colleagues and executives and also to those that invited industry guests to join them. I was a guest at the FLSmidth table. I also had the opportunity to catch-up with many contacts in the industry, as the event was well attended by major mining companies, such as Rio Tinto. It did not go unnoticed this past month IWD that Rio Tinto publicly released a comprehensive external review of its workplace culture that brought to light disturbing findings of bullying, sexual harassment and discrimination, many of which related to gender. Most who have read it agreed that commissioning the report is strong evidence of the mining major's commitment to ensure sustained cultural change across its global operations. Mining companies and AusIMM are doing more than ever before to improve diversity and inclusion real in this industry.

AusIMM Southern Queensland Student Chapter: Students Meet Industry Night

Shirlee Duke SAusIMM (AusIMM Southern Queensland Student Chapter President)

The Semester 1 Students Meet Industry (SMI) Night was held by the AusIMM Southern Queensland Student Chapter (SQSC) in collaboration with the UQ Mining and Metallurgy Association (MAMA) at the Greek Club in South Brisbane on Friday, the 25th of March 2022. We welcomed 31 industry representatives from 11 companies, and 54 UQ and QUT students; that’s 85 people in total, matching our largest ever SMI night.

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The purpose of SMI is to provide students who are studying disciplines related to the mining and resources industry or those who have a keen interest in this industry the opportunity to connect with likeminded students and industry representatives over drinks and canapes. It is a night where students can learn about what it is like to work in this industry from leading industry professionals; the challenges they faced, their journey to where they are now and what their favourite part of the job is.

For the industry professionals, it is their chance to mingle with the next generation of industry leaders, who will be working alongside them in their field, to impart some knowledge and tell students what their favourite part about working at their company is. It is also a night to tell students about the endless opportunities that are available to them; whether it be graduate, undergraduate or vacation programs, and where your career can take you.

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With the focus of the Semester 1 SMI being graduate programs, students heard short presentations from each company in attendance. The undercurrent of the night seemed to be that graduating students will be leaving university to enter an industry focused on obtaining and retaining talent. As the skills shortage in the mining and resources industry is currently being felt, this means that students are in the fortunate position of having an abundance of choice for graduate programs at the end of their degree.

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Representatives had some great advice for students during their presentations including that everyone changes companies throughout their career, with representatives themselves being examples of this, and with this in mind, choose the graduate program they feel aligns best with them and what they want to achieve.

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The Student Chapter would like to thank the sponsor company representatives of the AusIMM SQSC and UQ MAMA for their attendance and insightful presentations, attending students, as well as the committees of both MAMA UQ and the AusIMM SQSC for their hard work in delivering such a quality event for students and sponsors. We are very much looking forward to the Semester 2 SMI focused on vacation/intern opportunities within the industry.

AusIMM Southern Queensland Student Chapter: Glencore Technical Seminar

Shirlee Duke (AusIMM Southern Queensland Student Chapter President, SAusIMM)

The AusIMM Southern Queensland Student Chapter Technical Seminars are presented twice a year by the Student Chapter’s Gold Sponsors. These seminars present a unique and intimate opportunity for the Gold Sponsors to showcase their technical knowledge and leading industry experts on topics related to the mining and resources industry.

The Glencore Technical Seminar was held on Thursday 31 March in the newly opened Andrew N. Liveris Building at the University of Queensland. Geotechnical Superintendent Nathan Gamble from Glencore Metals provided information on the George Fisher Mine, one of the largest zinc, lead and silver mines in the world, located in Mount Isa.

The remainder of the presentation was focused on problem solving and decision making on-site. Kaitlin Frary, Senior Short Term Planning Engineer, worked through real world examples of ore pass hang ups, issues arising during shot loading, and production plans, including aspects required for consideration such as practicability, safety, ease, and cost, as well as the tradeoff between ore grade (quality) and ore quantity required for the milling process. The implementation of advanced technology such as RFID tags to track material and equipment movement was especially interesting as it showed what a significant role technology plays in solving problems safely and more easily.

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The presentations gave the 40 students in attendance, a real-world glimpse into how the problem-solving skills learned throughout their degrees are utilised on-site to solve everyday problems.

The final presentation showcased the experience of Ben Sullivan, a UQ Metallurgy Graduate in Mount Isa. He shared insights into not just the on-site exposure and the technical skills he learned, but also what living in Mount Isa was really like and the social and developmental aspects of the graduate program.

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These presentations were followed by pizza and drinks, where conversations on the technical presentations as a basis of topic flowed. In addition, there was an opportunity for students to chat to Pathways Program Coordinator Natasha Noy about the Glencore Graduate and Vacation Programs. It was wonderful to hear about how one of the largest global diversified natural resource companies continually finds innovative and technologically advanced ways to solve real world problems. A big thank you to Glencore for organising such an engaging and insightful Technical Seminar and we look forward to hosting the BHP Technical Seminar in Semester 2.

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Bowen Basin Symposium 2022

Stella Martinez MAusIMM CP(Geo)

The Bowen Basin Symposium (BBS) is the major coal convention organised by the Bowen Basin Geologists Group (BBGG) for geoscientists and other specialists actively exploring and mining in the Bowen Basin and other coal basins in Queensland. Held every five years since 1985, the BBS has been twice postponed recently (since 2020) due to the COVID-19 restrictions. The Symposium eventually pushed through from 28-30 March 2022 in Mackay Entertainment and Convention Centre (MECC) and was attended by an eager crowd of more than 400 participants.

This event’s theme is “Coal: Embracing Change and Innovation”. The 3-day symposium was an interesting mix of technical talks, poster and trade displays, and interactive workshops. The symposium was hosted by Paul Willis, a palaeontologist and prominent science communicator and Director at the Royal Institution of Australia (RiAus) and was assisted by David Green, Chair of the BBGG.

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The BBS banner kept the 2021 logo despite the second postponement

Kerry Whitby (McElroy Bryan Geological Services) was the plenary speaker on Day 1 and he reminisced on the History of Coal Exploration in Queensland. Keynote presentation was by Paul Willis on the topic Lighting a Fire Underneath Innovation.

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Dante Lucato's innovation topic generated very active discussion among the participants.

Dante Lucato’s (BHP) plenary talk on Day 2 continued the theme of innovation and focused on the Changing Role of a Coal Geologist as innovative exploration and machine-learning techniques are introduced. Peta Ashworth, Director of the Andrew N. Liveris Academy for Innovation and Leadership, and Chair in Sustainable Energy Futures at The University of Queensland, delivered the keynote speech on Day 2 on Society's Changing Views on Coal.

The final keynote presentation was from Bernard Salt, one of Australia’s leading social commentators, who delivered an engaging discussion on Australia’s future society and workplace - Where and how we will live, work, commute, communicate, etc. in the next 10, 20 and maybe 50 years.

The other major presentations include Renate Sliwa’s workshop-style session on the regional stress-strain relationships and coal rank distribution in the Nebo Synclinorium and Jane Hodgkinson’s (CSIRO) talk on the Alternative uses of coal – potential for Australian resources.

The rest of the sessions comprised short 10-minute talks on 1) Coal Mine Geology in the Bowen Basin, 2) Innovations in Exploration, and 3) Innovations in Mining, by various mine geologists and researchers. Interactive workshops and break-out sessions on various topics made up the rest of the activities.

No geological symposium would be complete without the networking events and the BBS is no exception. A welcome reception was hosted by the BBS organisers in the MECC exhibition hall at the end of Day 1. The symposium dinner was held at the end of Day 2 at the Shed in Mackay Showgrounds.

During the symposium dinner, Ken Preston and Dick Sanders were awarded the Leichhardt Award, in recognition of their contribution to the industry and for their research and publication on the Preston-Sanders Equation for more accurately estimating in-situ coal quantities.

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Ken Preston (on my left) and Dick Sanders (my right) certainly appreciated the long-delayed recognition of their contribution to the industry

The BBGG solicits expressions of interest from potential volunteer committee members for the next symposium. One question came to mind though: “Will the BBGG consider the 2-year postponement an exception and therefore hold the next BBS in 2025 or keep the 5-year gap and therefore the next BBS will be in 2027??"

Southern Queensland Branch Committee Members

Congratulations and welcome to all of our new committee members. We will be introducing our Committee Members starting this month in our monthly newsletter editions.

Member Name (Position on Committee)


Yass-Marie Seccombe (Chair)


Adam Rounsley (Vice Chair)


Loren Ager (Secretary and Manager Digital Marketing and Strategy)


Alex Thin (Treasurer)


Adam Foot (Past Chair and Small Batch Meetings)


Bernadette (Bren) Currie (JK Lecture Lead and Student Chapter/Scholarships)


Snezana Bajic (JK Lecture Education Endowment Fund)


Christopher Desoe (Technical Meetings)


Andrew Newell


Sibasis Acharya


Shirlee Duke (SQ Student Chapter President)


Kevin Harney


Stella Martinez (Industry Body Representation)

MAusIMM (CP Geology)

Andrew Seccombe


Nikky LaBranche (Student Chapter/Scholarships)


Neville Terry


Mehmet Doktan


Mark Noppe


Diane Djotaroeno (Sponsorship)


Gul Kizil


Getting to know your Committee

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Loren Ager – MAusIMM(CP)

What position do you hold on the Committee?
I am the 2022 AusIMM Southern Queensland Branch Secretary and Manager of Digital Marketing and Strategy.

Can you tell us a bit about your educational background?
I have a Bachelor of Commerce (Marketing, Tourism and Hospitality Management) from the University of New South Wales and a Bachelor of Engineering (Mining) from the University of Queensland. I am currently studying a Bachelor of Science (Wine Science) and Southern Queensland University.

Can you tell us a bit more about your career background?
I have over 12 years’ experience in the resource industry with a focus in open cut coal mining. I have primarily been a contractor and in the last four year a consultant. This has meant that I have been exposed to multiple sites and commodities and working with many different clients. The best part of being a consultant is assisting teams with challenges and solving problems in a short time frame.

What do you enjoy most about your profession?
I am deeply passionate about the mining industry and professional development. I love the challenges and the fast-paced nature of being on a mine site and also the long-term planning and scheduling of an asset. I also love working with a range of different characters, all offering different perspectives on problems giving me an opportunity to learn something new every day.

When did you join the AusIMM?
I joined AusIMM in 2019 and became a MAusIMM(CP) in 2021. I joined the AusIMM Southern Qld Branch Committee as part of the AusIMM Trusted Voice program in 2021.

What do you enjoy most about being on the Committee?
I love learning about our members stories and experience and helping identify ways in which we can improve value for our members. I also think that it is important to give back to the resource industry community.

What are you hoping the Committee can achieve this year?
I would love it if we could engage more members through the delivery of informative technical talks and events.


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Alex Thin – FAusIMM(CP)(Min.), FIMMM(C.Eng.) (UK), FSAIMM, RPEQ

What Position do you hold on the Committee?
I am a committee member and Branch Treasurer.

Can you tell us a bit about your educational background?
I completed my B.Eng. (Hons.) degree in Mining at the Camborne School of Mines, U.K. Later, I completed a Graduate Diploma in Engineering at the University of Witwatersrand, South Africa.

Can you tell us a bit more about your career background?
I am a mining professional, with over 30 years’ experience growing businesses across Africa and Australasia (Australia, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Island and Fiji), from start-ups, corporates and multinationals (listed and unlisted). Industry experience spans operational (underground and open pit), technical, consulting and corporate within the metalliferous resources sector, covering precious metals, base metals and bulk commodities.

My strategy and leadership experience covers; feasibility studies, mineral asset audits and evaluations, independent technical reports, techno-economic studies, capital raising, merger and acquisitions, managing joint ventures, research and development initiatives, local and international stock exchange compliance, business development, company promotion, and investor/stakeholder relations.

What do you enjoy most about your profession?
My career has allowed me to work in some interesting places, meet fascinating people and has posed may challenges which I have enjoyed solving. My career has allowed me to visit places off the beaten track, locations you would not think of going to.

When did you join the AusIMM?
I joined the AusIMM in 2008.

What do you enjoy most about being on the Committee?
Working with an eminent group of enthusiastic committee members.

What are you hoping the Committee can achieve this year?
Expand/grow the branch membership of younger members. Also continue the great monthly technical talks.

Upcoming Events

Please click on the below links

Southern Queensland Branch Events

Southern Queensland Student Chapter Events

AusIMM Conferences and Events

Social Media

Remember to follow the Southern Queensland Branch on LinkedIn for all the latest local events

Sponsorship & Advertising

The Southern Queensland Branch is looking to partner with the industry in 2022 to sponsor our Technical & Social events. We have a range of various sponsorship packages available to suit your needs, including our Monthly Technical Lunches, AGM and sponsoring the Southern Queensland Student Chapter.

For a sponsorship pack with further details, please contact us at


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