Training for a new world

Increasingly the mining industry must face the environmental and social challenges of operating in a climate of competing land uses and increased community awareness of these issues. Queensland University has introduced training that prepares mining professionals for these challenges.
Training for a new world Training for a new world Training for a new world Training for a new world Training for a new world

Queensland University SMI director Chris Moran

Lou Caruana

Queensland University’s Sustainable Minerals Institute (SMI) is a unique collection of staff and students working in discipline-based research centres covering the life-of-mine and its social and environmental contexts.

SMI director Professor Chris Moran said his role was to increasingly integrate the Institute’s unique multidisciplinary talents to provide collaborative solutions to problems facing the mining industry.

“The institute defines the mining value chain, the life cycle, regions, and information movement as the key integrating dimensions for sustainability.

SMI aspires to demonstrate to our stakeholders a journey where improved processes and integration will lead to better business and societal outcomes,” he said.

SMI has a strong track record of education and professional development activities, delivering into undergraduate and postgraduate coursework programs for more than 10 years, according to the University of Queensland.

In 2015 SMI is launching its new suite of graduate programs in the field of responsible resource development.

This initiative is being launched at a time when the mining industry faces the critical challenge of continuing to improve its sustainability performance while operating under financial constraints, Moran said.

“The structure of this graduate program gives students a firm foundation of sustainable development principles, while offering flexibility to gain specialised knowledge in a nominated thematic area,” he said.

“The program will be built around common core courses, engaging directly with the sustainable development agenda at both the Graduate Certificate and Diploma level.”

Students will be able to specialise in one of three thematic areas: environment, health and safety and community relations, with the opportunity to build cross-discipline knowledge at the Graduate Diploma level.

Students who progress to the Master will work with leading researchers and contribute to SMI’s world-class research program.

Moran said the benefits to students who undertake this unique program include an in-depth understanding of sustainability and its role in the extractives industry; development of higher order skill sets in problem solving, effective communication, project management and teamwork, as well as discipline-specific expertise and exposure to Australian and global industry experts.

Integrated approach

To help meet the changing professional training and development needs of the extractive resources sector, the Responsible Resource Development program will be built around two common core courses, engaging directly with the sustainable development agenda at both the Graduate Certificate and Graduate Diploma level.

The program structure aims to give students the opportunity to take further courses in one of three thematic areas: environment, health and safety, and community relations.

The sustainable development in the minerals industry context introductory course is a requirement for all students undertaking the Graduate Certificate program.

The course covers history of sustainable development, the industry responses to the sustainable development agenda and the “Five Capitals Framework”

The course will also include an introduction to the three fields of specialisation: community relations, environment, and health and safety.

Sustainable development in the minerals industry – tools and integration will be a requirement for students enrolled in the Graduate Diploma program.

Building on the foundation of “Sustainable Development in the Minerals Industry Context”, this course will introduce students to a range of tools and frameworks that can be used to inform sustainability thinking and practice.


Coordinated by the Centre for Mined Land Rehabilitation (CMLR), a recognised source of quality research at the cutting edge of issues in environmental management and sustainability across all resource commodities, the environment field will guide students through issues of environmental responsibility and sustainable mining in the extractives industry.

The course is designed by the needs of today’s best practice which requires skilled mining professionals who can identify environmental issues and implement integrated environmental management plans.

Formally established in 1993, the CMLR consists of a collaborative and multi-disciplinary group of research, teaching and support staff and postgraduate students.

Social responsibility

The Centre for Social Responsibility in Mining has an international reputation for delivering Community Relations education and professional development for the global resource industry, according to the University of Queensland.

The program involves academics and industry practitioners from the global resources sector, and covers the latest developments in topics relating to resource projects and community relations.

“We aim to equip students with knowledge, skills and attitudes that will help them to understand, engage with, and contribute to the development of communities that are impacted by resource extraction and related activities,” according to the university.

Coordinated by the Minerals Industry Safety and Health Centre (MISHC), who set the global benchmark for health and safety research and education in the mining sector, the Health and Safety field of specialisation offers students industry specific courses and industry recognised competencies.

The courses will cover a range of key Health and Safety topic areas including risk management, human factors engineering, occupational health and safety in mining, and incident investigation and analysis.

Since 2001, MISHC has been engaged in best practice teaching in risk management education at postgraduate level. MISHC is unique in the university sector with courses tailored to the needs of the minerals industry.

These technically comprehensive programs equip students with an understanding of the concepts and issues connected to minerals industry risk management and the skills to implement good practice in their operations.

Case studies enable students to explore mining industry outcomes that can be applied to their context, bringing together innovative research and industry knowledge to create safer and healthier working environments.