Earth sciences internship is a win-win-win situation

The ANU Research School of Earth Sciences (RSES) has launched a pilot internship program which benefits students, industry and the University.

As exploration for mineral resources in Australia is challenged by deeper and deeper soil cover and the associated increased costs of drilling, mining companies are looking for improved analysis and interpretation to get the most information possible from their drilling and sampling techniques.

Meanwhile, undergraduate Earth sciences students are looking to gain practical experience in the field and in the lab to improve their job opportunities.

Enter: the RSES internship. Students are matched to industry, gaining invaluable work experience, with mining companies gaining access to the University’s cutting-edge technology and emerging talent.

The University itself benefits too, with RSES forming closer ties with industry, paving a way for future research and technology to reach industry faster.

The first internship to test this potential is currently underway. Reuben Parige, an undergraduate student studying geoscience, has travelled to Cannington Mine in North Queensland to complete an internship with South32.

Reuben spent eight days visiting Cannington’s exploration program, as well as the mine site, to sample drill core, learn about regional geology and visit the active underground mine.

Reuben will now use high-precision in situ analytical techniques at the Centre for Advanced Microscopy at ANU to search for chemical signatures in specific minerals. This will help inform South32 of the prospective potential of different exploration targets.

“Coming away not only with lab experience at ANU, but also first-hand, meaningful industry work with South32 was a huge opportunity,” Reuben says of the experience. “To meet and work with the variety of people on site was even better.”

It is hoped the internship program will expand to allow Honours and Masters students the opportunity to conduct real-world projects on behalf of Australian industries.