Metallurgy taster for high school students

June 8, 2015

High school pupils at a previous Extracting Talent for Metallurgy sessionAlmost 450 high school pupils from WA schools will gain an insight into the role of metallurgists in the WA mining industry in a series of special careers events at Murdoch University in June and July.

Sponsored by Rio Tinto, and in-kind support from Murdoch University, the Extracting Talent for Metallurgy sessions begin on Tuesday, June 9, at Murdoch’s South Street Campus and will involve pupils from years 10 to 12 performing experiments in Murdoch’s laboratories, attending lectures and meeting key members of staff.

Not only will they learn about the importance of metallurgy to them as an applied science, but also the value it may contribute to Australia. During the day the students will be involved in common processes in extractive metallurgy including hydrometallurgy, pyrometallurgy, mineral processing, the chemistry of metals and the mathematics and statistics involved in the minerals industry.

“We hope the attendees emerge from their experience at Murdoch seriously considering pursuing this sort of career in the mining industry,” said organiser Graeme Thompson, a PhD student from the School of Engineering and Information Technology.

“Even when the industry is not in boom, the mining companies still need to add between 60 and 100 highly paid new extractive metallurgists each year. Currently universities Australia-wide are graduating about 50, so there is still good demand for this career. The undergraduate students will also get the opportunity to apply for government/industry scholarships, participate in international mining games and obtain vacation employment during summer holidays to enrich their experience.

“Not only are we hoping to educate pupils about the opportunities available to them in this field but also inform their accompanying teachers and laboratory technicians.

“Their visits to campus also give the pupils an invaluable taster of university life, whether they decide to pursue a career in chemical and metallurgical engineering or not.”

This is the fourth year the program has run and many schools have attended multiple years. This year, pupils from Perth College, Emmanuel Catholic College, Leeming Senior High School, Kennedy Baptist College, Bunbury Catholic College, St Norbert College, Serpentine Jarrahdale Grammar School, Hale School, Living Waters Lutheran College, Greenwood College, Scotch College and Peter Moyes Anglican Community School will all be attending sessions on five different days ending on July 2.

As part of Rio Tinto’s $100,000 sponsorship over five years, Murdoch University staff have also visited high schools throughout the north west and south west of WA to present small, practical information sessions and demonstrate experiments. As part of the sponsorship, Mr Thompson and his colleague Stewart Kelly visited schools in Bunbury and Busselton earlier this month.

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