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Around 150 students from the Cloncurry region will jump into the deep end of the Queensland Minerals and Energy Academy (QMEA)’s workshop, Water – Yours, Ours, Mine on March 9 and 10.
Year 7 students from Cloncurry’s St Joseph’s Catholic School, Cloncurry State School P-12 and Spinifex State College in Mount Isa will gain valuable insight into the lengths the resources industry takes to comply with environmental, social, and health standards relating to water.
Supported by Glencore’s Mount Isa Mines, the QMEA workshop involves an interactive water treatment experiment that uses data-logging equipment to collect and analyse real-time water quality data, allowing students to identify the efficacy of various filtration materials.
The QMEA, the education arm of the Queensland Resources Council (QRC) utilises this program to show students how mining companies responsibly and safely manage one of our most precious resources, water.
Throughout the workshop, students will benefit from hands-on activities that simulate the process of treating mine-affected water before it can be safely discharged downstream.
“Australia is the driest, inhabited continent in the world and as society adapts to the challenges of climate change, the resources sector is continuously developing new ways to reduce water usage and optimise water management,” QRC Director of Skills, Education and Diversity, Katrina-Lee Jones said today.
“Our industry has a strong and proven history of coexisting with local communities, and this program gives students the opportunity to see how water can be treated for re-use or safely released into the natural environment”.
“Students will be tasked with analysing water use from a community and mining perspective and consider the water management strategies used within the resources sector,” said Mount Isa Mines Senior Technical Water Advisor, Rodrigo Correa Ibanez.
“They will then test the effectiveness of various materials used in water filtration and are asked to identify the optimum amount of flocculant (a substance that promotes clumping of particles) required to effectively treat dirty water,” he said.
Spinifex State College’s Head of Senior Campus, Chris Pocock said the workshop enables students to apply their collaboration, analytical and laboratory skills to a real-world situation to solve one of the most pressing challenges that society is faced with.
“With Queensland being a drought-prone state, we are constantly engaging with our students on ways to be more water wise,” he said.
“Water – Yours, Ours, Mine provides an important extension to this critical knowledge, further demonstrating the role other people play in water management from a communal perspective.”
As Australia’s largest and most successful industry-led education and schools training initiative, the QMEA seeks to broaden student and teacher knowledge of career opportunities in resources.
The academy encourages a talent pipeline of employees into vocational and professional careers, with a focus on female and Indigenous participation. The QMEA currently engages with 90 schools and is a partnership between the QRC and the Queensland Government under its Gateway to Industry Schools program.