Dr Sibasis Acharya has always wanted to work in the mining and metallurgy sector.
As a child, he grew up in the mineral-rich Indian state of Odisha , which inspired him to pursue a career in the sector.
With more than 19 years in metallurgy and mining, the UQ Master of Business Administration (MBA) graduate is now the Technical Director for ASX-listed, gold mining company Citigold Corporation Ltd, with a passion to advance innovation, productivity and efficiency in the industry.
We asked Sibasis about his career journey, his vision for the mining innovation for the future and how his UQ MBA has helped.
What attracted you to engineering in the mineral, metal and mining sector?
I was born and grew up in Bhubaneswar in the Indian state of Odisha, which has large reserves of bauxite, chromite, coal, dolomite, and iron ore, among other minerals and metals.
Growing up, I saw big mining companies and their commitment to corporate social responsibilities in communities, and I began thinking about mining and mineral processing as a career option, particularly in regards to sustainable mining.
I’m very passionate about the sustainable use of earth’s natural resources by working with cutting edge technologies, providing innovative solutions and building solutions at the forefront of the digital world.
You started your career in Europe, what enticed you to work over there before coming to Australia?
After finishing my PhD, I was fortunate to receive a five year scientist position at the Technical University Clausthal in Germany to upskill my knowledge and experience.
I began my career as a researcher, a job that allowed me to learn and share my knowledge to the scientific world and see a bit of the globe – a really enjoyable experience.
An opportunity then presented itself to work as a Research Engineer in one of the biggest steel producing companies in the world at Arcelor Mittal France.
I first came to Brisbane in 2007 as an invited guest speaker to deliver a talk on Metallurgical Thermodynamics at the University of Queensland (UQ) at the St Lucia campus. The quality of research work, the beauty of the campus and nice weather really attracted me to Australia.
I was interested in the mining and metallurgical research being done at UQ, and I kept turning the dream over in my head, could I go and work in Australia?
It took a few years, but I finally decided to move and work in Australia in 2009.
Images: Getty Images / Monty Rakusen; Hoang Hai Thinh
What innovations are you seeing and using in the mineral, metal and mining industry?
Over the years, new technology has revolutionised our resource industries, with new and improved operational efficiencies and cost-savings for the industry.
I would say the biggest opportunity in mining today is to change the speed at which we are able to do things.
Being able to tackle to the volatile and changing environment we are faced with – both internally and externally.
My passion has always been to anticipate how mining-mineral processing can do things better. I grew up in the digital era and saw how technology and innovation happened over time in the mining industry.
This rising acceptance of new technology globally is not only changing the demand dynamics of certain commodities, but it also alters conventional approaches to mining. Artificial Intelligence will be pervasive across all mining activities in future.
In the last few years, I’ve seen mining and mineral processing companies integrate technological innovation into their practices with some great results, including drones, automated trucks and machinery, robotic drilling, innovative blasting technology and big data (to name a few) to increase productivity and improving worker safety.
What inspired you to study an MBA? Why did you pick UQ?
The UQ MBA seemed like a great choice to give me the business grounding I needed to bring about change in the mining and mineral processing industry with innovative solutions.
The program exposed me to real life situations in the corporate world, and prepared me for a dynamic business environment. It taught me management strategies to handle complex business situations and enhanced my analytical thinking.
The experiential learning was invaluable, and helped me to find creative solutions to difficult problems with the support of highly experienced and world-class professors.
My MBA experience has definitely been a significant factor in my success in my career so far. Without the skills and knowledge learned within the program, I would not have been able to grow from entry level roles into upper management roles. It helped me to develop the confidence to speak up, put a value on my own contribution and improve my leadership skills.
It also gave me a wider perspective of how the industry functions and I now use those skills to challenge conventional thinking to deliver real impact.
Image: Dr Sibasas Acharya at UQ St Lucia campus
Where do you see your career in five years’ time?
I am hoping that the next step of my career journey will be with a cutting-edge company to apply my skills, and provide me with opportunities to keep my knowledge abreast of the latest trends in science and technology.
I want to become a global leader in delivering sustainable mineral and metal processing technology, as well as providing innovative solutions for metal extraction.
I’m excited at the prospect of further using my MBA skills to transform organisations and make a difference in sustainable mining, creating value and profit, and sustainable competitiveness.