Study Mining Metallurgy and Earth Sciences in Australia

The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy (AusIMM) represents the interests of professionals associated with all facets of the mining, exploration and minerals processing industries. The AusIMM provides professional development opportunities to members via conferences, publications and networking events.

Study Mining Metallurgy and Earth Sciences in Australia

High commodity prices driven by a seemingly insatiable demand for minerals from Japan and India have seen the global minerals industry in a boom phase that seems set to continue well into the future. The skills shortage generated by this boom has seen a strong interest from students in taking science and engineering degrees. Australian minerals programs are amongst the most advanced in the world and present a wonderful opportunity for international students to learn from the world’s best in a minerals rich environment. Australian universities offer a diverse range of highly sought after undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in mining and metallurgy and provide wonderful campus learning environments.

Minerals have played a crucial part in the development of Australia since Indigenous Australians used minerals to colour paints in ancient times through to more recently, the discovery of coal in New South Wales in the 1790s with the arrival of the British and the first gold rushes of the 1850s which put Australia on the world stage for the first time. Since these early gold rushes, the Australian minerals industry has grown to be a world leader in coal, iron ore, bauxite, diamonds, manganese ore, lead, zinc, tin, nickel, uranium, silver and gold. The minerals industry is now a vital element of Australia’s economic success and accounted for 26.7% of Australia’s exports in 2004. An advanced minerals education sector has supported the development of the industry and continues to do so.

Mining engineering degrees are available in most Australian States, in both capital cities and regional centers. These programs have close links to their local industries and usually have industry advisory panels to ensure programs are closely allied to industry needs and graduates can hit the ground running upon entering the workforce. Most of these programs also contribute to Australian certificates of competency.

There are dedicated extractive metallurgy programs available in Perth, Kalgoorlie, Ballarat and Brisbane as well as many options in chemical and materials engineering throughout Australia, for pathways into mineral processing and metallurgy. Again, many of these programs have close links to industry and have strong industry support.

There are a host of earth science and geology departments throughout Australia producing a range of geoscience graduates who go on to careers in industry, government, research and academia. The rich geological landscape in Australia has shaped the diversity of these departments, all of which command different areas of expertise.

Salaries for graduates entering the minerals industry are currently amongst the highest of all graduates. In Australia, mining engineering graduates generally start on salary packages ranging between A$70,000 and A$100,000, however some packages are well over A$100,000. Metallurgists also earn around this bracket as do mining and exploration geologists. Median starting salaries for all bachelor degree graduates in Australia was A$40,000 in 2005. The mining industry is high paying and mining companies now have more flexible employment arrangements including fly in - fly out from major cities.

The following table gives an outline of undergraduate programs available in Australia:

 

 

Mining Engineering

Metallurgy/
Mineral
Processing

Chemical/ Materials Engineering

Geoscience/ Geology

AUSTRALIAN CAPITAL TERRITORY

 

 

 

 

Australian National University

 

 

M

Yes

NEW SOUTH WALES

 

 

 

 

Macquarie University

 

 

 

Yes

University of Newcastle

Yes - feeder

 

 

Yes

University of New England

 

 

 

Yes

University of New South Wales

Yes

 

C/M

Yes

University of Sydney

 

 

C

Yes

University of Technology, Sydney

 

 

 

Yes

University of Wollongong

Yes

 

M

Yes

QUEENSLAND

 

 

 

 

James Cook University of North Queensland

 

 

C

Yes

University of Queensland

Yes

Yes

C/M

Yes

Queensland University of Technology

 

 

 

Yes

SOUTH AUSTRALIA

 

 

 

 

Adelaide University

Yes

 

C

Yes

University of South Australia

 

 

 

Yes

TASMANIA

 

 

 

 

University of Tasmania

Yes - (Civil-Mining) Yes - feeder

 

 

Yes

VICTORIA

 

 

 

 

University of Ballarat

Yes

Yes - feeder

 

Yes

University of Melbourne

 

 

C

Yes

Monash University

 

 

C/M

Yes

Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology

 

 

C

 

WESTERN AUSTRALIA

 

 

 

 

Curtin University of Technology     C Yes
Curtin University of Technology - WA School of Mines Yes Yes   Yes

Murdoch University

 

Yes

 

 

University of Western Australia

Yes

 

C

Yes

 

Minerals education in Australia is supported by both professionals via the AusIMM’s Program Recognition scheme, from industry through the Minerals Council of Australia’s: Minerals Tertiary Education Council and also directly from corporate support. The AusIMM recognises programs that equip graduates with the necessary knowledge and skills to become world class minerals sector professionals.

On top of the many undergraduate degrees available in engineering and science, there are a plethora of coursework and research opportunities available from a number of institutions across Australia in mining engineering, metallurgy and minerals processing and geoscience. University research groups, stand alone cooperative research centres and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) work closely with industry to ensure the technological development of the Australian minerals industry is world class. Postgraduate research opportunities are currently widely available with many undergraduates going straight into employment. Enrolments in graduate diplomas and coursework Masters degrees have soared recently with the increased industry demand for skills. These qualifications allow graduates of related science and engineering degrees to complete a minerals postgraduate qualification and work in the industry in a professional capacity.

The AusIMM ensures that students in minerals related degrees are closely linked to industry and the various professions through AusIMM Student Membership. AusIMM student members are well catered for with access to technical papers/resources, mentoring opportunities and also through Student Chapters. AusIMM Student Chapters are university campus based clubs that provide the opportunity for students to mix with each other and industry professionals through technical and social functions such as careers nights, student meet industry nights, field trips/tours and campus BBQ’s. The AusIMM also holds an annual New Leaders’ Conference for students and new professionals. The Conference is attended by around 200 professionals and gives students the opportunity to present technical and industry/lifestyle focused papers. There is also a Mining Games held annually where students form teams and compete for bragging rights in a series of hotly contested mining related events including: surveying, gold-panning and drilling!

Australia is a great place to study mining and metallurgy! The high standard of living, multi-cultural society, natural beauty and mild climate all contribute to the Australian lifestyle that is culturally rich, outdoors oriented and definitely relaxed. International students comprise 25% of the Australian student population, up from around 10% ten years ago. More and more international students are taking up the opportunity to benefit from the world-class education and enjoyable experience that Australia offers.

 

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