30 October 2016: CRC ORE and University of Queensland PhD student, Cristián Carrasco, is taking up an exciting role in the mining industry. The new role with BHP based in Chile, directly applies skills from his time working within CRC ORE’s technical team and completing his studies, into an exciting new opportunity within a major organisation in the mining industry.
|CRC ORE PhD student Cristián Carrasco is taking up an exciting new role with BHP Billiton based in Chile.|
This article was published in CRC ORE News - November 2016
CRC ORE student takes up role with BHP in Chile
October 2016: Just weeks after submitting his PhD for assessment, graduate student Cristián Carrasco, accepted an exciting new role within the mining industry, where he will continue to apply what he has learnt whilst embedded with CRC ORE. He’s accepted a role working in BHP’s Technology & Innovation Group based in Santiago, which started in November.
Cristián returned to Chile after a whirlwind six years in Australia, where he has been juggling intensive study commitments for a Masters and then a PhD, with project work within CRC ORE’s technical team. Looking back, he says the experience of being embedded in a company and working on real world solutions has been absolutely invaluable as well as rewarding. He says that while most students do their PhD at a desktop, being hands-on within CRC ORE gave him a level of exposure to practical applications that is without equal.
He is taking skills directly from his time with CRC ORE within the technical team and Innovation Delivery Group (IDG) into his new role, where he is focused on economical and operational assessment, sorting-based technologies and CRC ORE’s Integrated Extraction Simulator (IES).
|Cristián will be taking skills directly from his time with CRC ORE into his new role.|
He believes his studies will also be an excellent grounding for a role in industry. After completing a Masters in Geometallurgical characterisation when he first came to Australia, Cristián took a year off studying, transitioning into a role as a technical specialist for CRC ORE. Here he became heavily involved in project work, travelling often to Chile and spending significant time on different mine sites.
This time gave him invaluable operational experience and got him thinking about gaps in technology available to the mining sector. Cristián began talking in detail with the CRC ORE technical team and the CRC ORE CEO at the time, Alan Bye, about the opportunities for mining businesses with the then relatively new Grade Engineering® levers. From there the idea was formed for a major research project; a PhD aimed at developing these concepts further. With CRC ORE’s support, by the end of 2013, Cristián had re-entered academia to do just that.
With the help and support of the CRC ORE team, Cristián was able to focus his PhD to meet the knowledge gaps in industry. He concentrated on two primary size based Grade Engineering® levers; preferential grade by size deportment and differential blasting for grade. This work is believed to be the first serious integrated project about understanding the exploitation of size based pre-concentration techniques.
Three years later, Cristián is pleased that his thesis has been submitted and is hoping that the hectic nature of the past few years are behind him, but knows that with he and his wife Claudia’s first child born recently, that’s unlikely. But he is confident that the raft of skills he developed whilst working with CRC ORE will put him in good stead as he takes up his role with BHP.
|Cristián commends CRC ORE’s educational model of embedding students into CRC ORE and technical project work.|
Amongst the skills he credits to his time with CRC ORE, are critical thinking and integrated assessment. It was here that Cristián consolidated the ability to assess and integrate different point solutions with changes based on the context. Cristián believed that working for an organisation which has innovation at its core, helped shape a new way of thinking - outside the box and pushing boundaries of ‘how things have always been done’. Just as importantly as learning how to conduct rigorous scientific assessment and strategy, was learning about how to get messages across in the right way to different audiences. Cristián sees that as important, because whether they are a blasting engineer, geologist, or coding expert, it is undeniably the people who transition innovation into reality.
As he departed CRC ORE, it was the people who helped him along the way that he wanted to recognise. Cristián spoke about how CRC ORE had given him so many opportunities professionally and personally and pointed to a few key influencers. “I’d like to thank Dr Alan Bye in the early years for helping me to define my PhD - his backing gave me the confidence to go ahead with it. I couldn’t ask for a better PhD supervisor in Dr Luke Keeney – he gave me the opportunity to translate skills and concepts into technical reality. Our Chief Technologist at CRC ORE, Dr Steve Walters, helped me to learn to challenge my thinking at every turn, and of course Dr Ben Adair, who has given sage advice as I go out into the industry."
Cristián says that to be able to do the two things - working as technical specialist and PhD student at the same time - has been a hugely valuable experience. “Most students don’t usually have that chance. It has been a completely hectic period in my life, but it is has moved me to where I am now. I couldn’t be more thankful."