During the first semester of the year, undergraduate students from Chilean universities did their thesis and their internships alongside the SMI-ICE-Chile research team

Under the motto Create Change, The University of Queensland (UQ) and the Sustainable Minerals Institute International Centre of Excellence (SMI-ICE-Chile) have the objective of being part of the careers of future professionals in the mining industry. With this purpose in mind, 6 students carried out their undergraduate thesis and internships alongside the SMI-ICE-Chile team during the first semester of 2021. We asked them about their studies and experience during their stay at SMI-ICE-Chile and this is what they shared:

Why SMI-ICE-Chile? What attracted you to be part of the International Centre of Excellence?

Joaquín González: “I love the idea of merging innovation and sustainability in mining. I am convinced that Chile, as a mining country, has great potential to develop in these aspects. I wanted to be part of this type of project and when I learned that the focus of the Centre is to take national mining to the next level, I did not hesitate and applied right away.”

Víctor Balboa: “Primarily because it is a world-renowned Centre. Its commitment with the environment, with innovation projects and their constant work toward the evolution of more sustainable alternatives, led me to choose it as the development centre to carry out the final stretch of my university studies.”

Juan José Pardo: “I like the work the Centre carries out; it is totally aligned with my interests as a student and future professional. The focus they have towards research and innovation allows for the development of such an important activity in this country, as is mining, to continue its performance in a more responsible and sustainable way.”

What was the experience like, especially considering that it was primarily online?

Dilan Campos: “Despite the fact that this method is not what one would hope, the experience was enriching, since the team always showed me support and a willingness to resolve all my questions throughout the internship.”

José Felipe Cruz: “The experience was pleasant, the Centre’s human environment is very welcoming. Even though we worked remotely I have been able to get to know the people who are part of the research centre and we have been able to work together with them in our thesis without any problems.”

Oscar Arredondo: “It is different from what we were used to at university, but very agreeable thanks to the entire SMI team who helped up from day one.”

What aspects of this experience have been the most rewarding?

José Felipe: “The aspect that I have liked the most about doing my thesis work is to apply what I learned at university, as well as learn about flotation equipment that provides a most sustainable way for the future of mining.”

Dilan: “The availability of the entire team and the way that they work, which allowed me to learn a lot.”

Oscar: “In my case, what I have liked is how comfortable I felt from day one, since the team’s environment was very agreeable, with everyone always willing to help us and with the great support they have provided to this day.”

What are your aspirations and expectations once you graduate?

Joaquín: “I would love to be able to work in innovation, to face the new challenges that contribute to my personal, as well as professional, training. My aspiration is to work on projects that elevate the mining industry in terms of sustainability, I believe it is an important commitment that geology should take on in Chile: to ensure that the mining industry develops in a responsible way with the environment. I do not rule out the possibility of continuing with a specialisation, whether I continue in academia, as a future professional it is a must for me to constantly seek of knowledge.”

Juan José: “I am on the final stage of my studies, and once finalised I’d like to work on something related to mining, be it at a mine site or in a company that provides services. And yes, I’d like to be able to continue studying, to increase my knowledge and become a well-rounded professional.”

Víctor: “I am interested in innovation. I have had early work experiences in different mining innovation companies and I have liked the research related to disruptive technology implementation and possible opportunities that mining may have. I would like to keep studying, primarily a masters in an area of specialisation that provides me the necessary knowledge to continue evaluating innovation projects or other similar studies.”

In one or two sentences, please summarize your experience with SMI-ICE-Chile:

“It was an enriching experience, with excellent professionals in the Centre”


José Felipe Cruz, 24, studies to be a Metallurgical Engineer at USACH. His thesis, done together with Oscar Arredondo, is titled: Evaluation and simulation of different scenarios for coarse particle flotation with Hydrofloat® technology: application to a concentrator plant circuit in Chile

“It had a pleasant experience. I am grateful for the opportunity and the knowledge acquired, also, I am sure that anyone in the final phase of their studies, like me, would like to be here.”


Juan José Pardo, 25, studies to be a Mining Engineer at UTFSM. His thesis is titled: Environmental impact study of an inverse osmosis desalinization plant in the Third Region of Atacama through life cycle analysis

“It was a gratifying experience that widened my vision of geology and sustainability in the mining context. I had the possibility of sharing with a highly professional and human team that supported me in all moments.”


Joaquín González, 23, studies to be a Geologist at UChile. His thesis is titled: Concentrations of critical metals in Chilean ore bodies

“This has been an incredible experience, with a team of specialists that demonstrates their knowledge at every turn.”


Víctor Balboa, 23, studies to be a Mining Engineer at UTFSM. His thesis is titled: Comparative study of the environmental impact of the application of electric vehicles in mining, using life cycle analysis

“Great, it exceeded the expectations I initially had, and I would like to thank the team for the help and the great disposition they showed at all times.”


Oscar Arredondo, 25, studies to be a Metallurgical Engineer at USACH. His thesis, together with José Cruz, is titled: Evaluation and simulation of different scenarios for coarse particle flotation with Hydrofloat® technology: application to a concentrator plant circuit in Chile

“SMI-ICE-Chile is a Centre that received me in an excellent manner and for which I am very grateful. It allowed me to acquire a lot of experience, to work with a great team of professionals.”


Dilan Campos, 22, studies to be a Geologist at UdeC. His thesis is titled: Evaluation of the degree of contamination by potentially toxic elements of ground irrigated by DRPA clear water


For further information contact us at contacto@smiicechile.cl or https://smiicechile.cl/