The Business of Mining

WESTERN Australian mining expertise will be taught and shared freely with a worldwide community of online students following last night’s launch of a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) titled The Business of Mining at Curtin University.
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Roy Hill iron ore mine, WA.

Marion Lopez

Curtin developed the introductory online course with government, industry and academic experts after being accepted to join the edX consortium, a growing platform for universities and education providers to offer free online courses.

The Business of Mining comprises four modules and covers all aspects of a mine’s life-cycle, from planning through to production and closure.

It is designed to provide a high-level introduction to the resources sector for non-operational staff, government employees, suppliers and contractors supporting the industry.

Mines and Petroleum Minister Bill Marmion helped design the MOOC and at its launch last night said it would play a critical and innovative role in promoting the state’s mining expertise and possibilities to the world.

“The state government strongly supports this kind of innovation because, just like our minerals and petroleum, it provides valuable exports,” he said.

“The Business of Mining and Curtin’s partnership with edX will further elevate WA as an investment destination and a logical base for leaders in the field.”

MOOC launch

Curtin vice-chancellor D.Terry; Mines and Petroleum Minister Bill Marmion and edX president Wendy Cebula.

Curtin is the first WA university to join the edX consortium since it was founded by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University in 2012 as a not-for-profit educational platform – an achievement that is expected to put WA at the forefront of online education in Australia.

“I congratulate the university on the creation of this course and the vital role Curtin has played, and will continue to play, in developing the future leaders of the state’s resources sector,” Marmion concluded.

Curtin University’s deputy vice chancellor, education, Jill Downie said the course should “give people a taste” of mining and work as an innovative incentive for more students worldwide to come study engineering and other mining-related disciplines in Western Australia.

With 12 million students so far registered as having signed up to MOOCs, and most of them coming from developing countries, the potential for the WA education and mining industry is huge.

Asked whether the timing of the launch was right, Downie said she didn’t think the downturn would affect education or make the mining industry any less important in the eyes of new workers’ generations.

“Mining is a cyclic business so the mining industry in a sense goes up and down,” she told AMM.

“I think this Business of Mining MOOC will give people a sense and an idea of the industry, it’s still a very important industry in WA, Australia and in fact globally.

“So I think the timing is right for this MOOC, people are interested in mining and particularly in the business of mining.”

Preview of The Business of Mining MOOC