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Curtin’s WA School of Mines and Fortescue join forces for a digital future

Media release

Curtin University, in partnership with Fortescue Metals Group (Fortescue), has appointed Dr Robert Solomon as its first Professor of Practice in Mining Automation and Data Analysis at the Western Australian School of Mines (WASM) in Kalgoorlie.

Dr Robert Solomon

In his current role as Operations Improvement Manager at Fortescue, Dr Solomon leads a team looking into the operational efficiency of the Company’s autonomous mining operations using data sets and advanced analytics.

In his new position, Dr Solomon will lead and implement research initiatives; foster industry collaborations; shape undergraduate curriculum; and encourage the expansion of conceptual and practical boundaries of applied data science in the minerals industry.

Curtin University Vice-Chancellor Professor John Cordery said the Mining Automation Professor of Practice will be integral to embedding WASM’s new future-focused curriculum.

“Dr Solomon brings a wealth of practical experience in operations, impressive academic credentials and a passion for ensuring that new technologies deliver a sustainable industry future. His appointment will see us better able to deliver both content and teaching in mining automation and data analytics,” Professor Cordery said.

“The School’s mining and mining engineering disciplines are already among the world’s very best (ranking 2nd in the world by subject) and we are confident Dr Solomon’s input as Professor of Practice will see us continue to be global leaders in those fields.”

Fortescue Chief Executive Officer Elizabeth Gaines said the Company has a proud history of embracing technology and innovation which has been fundamental to driving sustained productivity, cost savings and improvements in safety across the business.

“The Australian resources sector is already among the most innovative in the world and through this partnership with Curtin University, we look forward to building a pipeline of career-ready graduates who are ready to challenge the status quo and help guarantee the long-term success of our industry,” Ms Gaines said.

Curtin’s WA School of Mines Kalgoorlie Director Sabina Shugg said the University was delighted to welcome Dr Solomon to the role.

“Dr Solomon has worked extensively in the digital and automation space to drive productivity and operational improvement and will bring those insights to our students to produce world-class data savvy engineers,” Ms Shugg said.

“As Professor of Practice, Dr Solomon will also play a critical role in producing and supervising research that can be directly applied to the future sustainability of the resources sector and workforces in WA and beyond.”