Sector support call to expand WASM
Summary: WA School of Mines Alumni Association president Raleigh Finlayson says industry support will be essential to get a long-proposed plan to upgrade the Kalgoorlie university up and running.....
Mr Finlayson, the managing director of gold miner Saracen Mineral Holdings, said he was looking to get a “centre of excellence” at WASM, which is part of Curtin University, back on the agenda more than six months after the Nationals took the policy to the State election.
A $150 million plan to expand WASM into the Pilbara and develop a test mine and Harvard-like finishing school in Kalgoorlie-Boulder was put forward by local candidate Tony Crook and Nationals leader Brendon Grylls, both of whom were defeated, at the March election.
Mr Finlayson said he was talking to stakeholders again about putting a plan together.
“If we can get several funding sources from Federal Government, State Government and the industry itself, we think we’d have a chance,” he said.
“It’s probably an 18-month dream and we’re probably looking at early next year to try pull something together as a proposal, a business plan if you like, and obviously Curtin will be a core part of that through WASM.”
Fellow gold miner Northern Star Resources stoked the fire at the Diggers and Dealers Mining Forum in Kalgoorlie-Boulder in August, when it pledged $50 million towards setting up its own centre of excellence in underground mining in the gold capital over the next decade.
But Mr Finlayson said broader industry support would be probably be needed to support a wider proposal.
“We’ve got very strong support from the Northern Stars and Saracens of the world but if we can broaden that to start looking at the big end of town like iron ore, oil and gas, I think that’s going to be a major push,” he said.
WASM is ranked second in the world to the Colorado School of Mines in Denver for mining engineering, according to the global tertiary education standard QS Rankings.
Treasurer Ben Wyatt said the State Government was yet to see a formal proposal but noted the parlous position of WA’s finances.
“While the Government has had some preliminary discussions, we are yet to receive any sort of formal proposal,” he said.
“Should we receive the proposal, we would be sure to consider it on its merits.”