Mining towards the future

BASF’s Mining Solutions division sponsor an award for outstanding academic achievement at Curtin University’s School of the Mines. We spoke to 2019’s recipient, Adisa Umari Yoniton, about moving to Kalgoorlie and plans for the future.

As one of the lesser known engineering disciplines, Adisa is often met with blank expressions when she tells people she’s studying metallurgical engineering. “Only a few people study metallurgical engineering but it’s really important in the mining industry,” she explains. Adisa finds the easiest way to explain her degree (the study of metals) is to compare it to cooking. “When people don’t understand I explain that it’s just like cooking traditional food- you take different reagents, solutions and materials and change the physical formation to produce something else”.

A final year metallurgical engineering student at Kalgoorlie School of the Mines, Adisa’s love of chemistry – both in the academic and culinary sense- means she fits right in her new regional town. “I love it here, compared to my home town of Jakarta it’s really different. Jakarta is crowded and hectic, here in Kalgoorlie it’s so much quieter and the weather and people are so nice”. Adisa also says that she enjoys the diversity studying engineering in Australia offers. “In Indonesia there’s almost no females in engineering, so when I came here, I was excited to see almost 50/50 males and females in the university.”

Coming from a family of civil and mechanical engineers, Adisa always had an interest in science, but didn’t necessarily want to build infrastructure or machines. She was first introduced to the idea of studying metals at high school when she attended a careers day at the University of Indonesia. “I went to an open day and I heard a student talking about studying metallurgical engineering and I really liked the sound of it. It was all about chemistry and that just makes sense to me.”

After completing the first two years of her degree in Indonesia, Adisa decided to move to Australia to get some international experience. The move has so far proven to be a great experience for someone who loves both the academic and practical sides of her studies. “My degree is about 80% chemistry, which I love, but I also enjoy the practical side and I love to work in a dirty environment with all of the dust,” Adisa said.

Recently recognised with an award from global chemical company BASF for achieving the highest-grade average among her female classmates, Adisa feels optimistic the scholarship will help her financially with covering tuition costs, and also be a great addition to her resume.

Adisa loves the outback so much, she’s hoping to stay in Australia and pursue her dream of being a metallurgist after graduation. “Fingers crossed once I graduate, I can get a job in a mining company here in Australia. I don’t mind where I work – Queensland, Western Australia, New South Wales- I wouldn’t mind working in any State in Australia, I just love it here”.