Collaboration between education providers is the key to long-term sustainability and improved quality in mining education. The mining industry is now, more than ever, an industry doing business on a global basis. Staff are recruited by global mining companies in many different countries and can find themselves deployed anywhere in the world. The mining engineer of tomorrow must be willing to take on this international challenge, and must be educated to a level where he or she has a comprehensive grounding in technical aspects of mining engineering, but also a well-founded appreciation of management, social, environmental and cultural issues that may be encountered around the world. In order to deliver such an education, academic providers must collaborate at both a national and international level.
This paper provides an overview of progress that has been made in Australia through the national joint venture – Mining Education Australia (MEA). Supported by the mining industry in Australia, through the Minerals Council of Australia (MCA), MEA has been operational since 2007 and is seeing the development of a range of innovative courses and delivery methods, together with a high level of staff cooperation across the country. MEA has also commenced some international teaching initiatives that are seen as a catalyst for a far greater degree of international collaboration in the future. Such activity is not only to the benefit of the students who are taught by experts from around the world, but it also ensures that individual university programs remain viable in terms of staffing numbers and financial performance.
The paper also presents some statistics on recent upward trends in mining engineering student numbers from around the world, in response to the global shortage of mining engineers.