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WASM Wallabies Students tour GMA Montana mine

The West Australian School of Mines (WASM) Student Chapter recently had the unique opportunity to tour GMA’s Montana mine site while visiting the region for the 2024 International Mining Games.

Held in Butte, Montana, thirteen students represented WASM in the Games, displaying remarkable skill and determination across various events.

Through a collaboration with GMA’s New Market and Innovation Manager, Alex Bozward, and his close connection to AusIMM, an invitation was extended to the students for an educational site visit to GMA’s facility in Montana. This visit provided an invaluable learning opportunity, bridging the gap between academic theories and real-world mining operations.

“It was a great chance to give the WASM students – the futures of our industry – a firsthand view of an operational mine site in Garnet, led by General Manager of GMA Mining USA, Joshua Regan and his team,” he said.

GMA organized the tour in two parts: the Mine Tour and the Plant Tour, each designed to cater to the specific educational backgrounds of the student participants.

During the mine tour, students explored active mining zones where they were introduced to various geological features.

“The mining engineers and geologists among us were particularly fascinated by the felsic schist with noticeable garnet and hornblende layers, as well as pegmatite dykes—though not economically valuable, these features provided a critical learning experience,” said Dylan Gill, the AusIMM Curtin student chapter’s President.

Montana Mine visit 2

WASM Wallabies at the GMA, Montana processing plant.

The plant tour was tailored for metallurgical and mechanical engineers, focusing on equipment and processes that are pivotal in mining operations. GMA showcased different machines and technologies used at the site, such as gravity tables and cyclo sizers/spirals, and detailed their applications in mineral processing.

“The demonstration of garnet utilization in spiral concentrators and insights into vibratory screening and sizing circuits offered our engineering students a practical understanding of the nuances in mining machinery and plant operations,” Dylan continued.

“I want to thank Joshua and his team for such an insightful tour, and to Alex for making this tour a possibility for us in the first place.”

“By providing a platform where academic learning meets industry practice, GMA not only enhances the educational journey of these students but also prepares them to enter the workforce with a more comprehensive understanding of the mining sector,” concluded Alex.

“GMA's investment in the future of mining through education and practical exposure is an ongoing commitment to our team and we look forward to following the journeys of these students as they enter the industry in the new few years.”