Kalgoorlie-Boulder, Western Australia, 16–18 November 2021 2021

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Sabina Shugg

Director, Curtin Kalgoorlie Campus

Sabina Shugg


The role of a regional campus in economic development - a case study in the Goldfields

Curtin University believes that WA School of Mines and the Kalgoorlie campus can play an essential role in transforming the Goldfields-Esperance region into a self-sustaining economic zone through the creation of the Kalgoorlie-Boulder Regional Capability & Engagement Centre. Through sustained commitment, collaboration and funding, the Kalgoorlie-Boulder Regional Capability & Engagement Centre will support the economic growth and diversification of the region beyond the current dependence on export of raw materials. It will work to attract skills, technology, innovation, and research outcomes to the Goldfields and contribute to the development of a long term stable regional workforce, locally and for the State of Western Australia.

This centre will run a range of initiatives for the benefit of the community, the region and the state. The proposal focuses on three major pillars – Mining, Education, and Health - that align to the Goldfields-Esperance Regional Development Commission’s Regional Focus Areas and City of Kalgoorlie-Boulder Strategic Plans to drive primary industry innovation, workforce development and job growth, and other community capacity and capability needs.

WA has the natural advantage of a strong mining and energy industry, stable government and a world class university focused on the resources sector. However, a reliance on export of raw goods is inherently linked to the prosperity of other nations to create demand for the primary industry, making it more susceptible to a boom-and-bust cycle. This affects mining student numbers as well which are currently low, and an area of focus.

There are many ‘live’ opportunities in the Goldfields-Esperance regions currently including the advent of the Curtin Regional Health Campus, new mining curricula with an increased digital and automation focus, Lynas Corporation’s investment in Kalgoorlie-Boulder’s Strategic Industrial Areas, global interest in critical minerals, and the Australian Aboriginal Mining Academy to name a few.

The Curtin Kalgoorlie Campus is well positioned to capitalise on these opportunities to enable an ongoing positive outcome for the City and the Region however there is a very real gap and that is in capacity. We are working to gather industry and Government support without which these opportunities will be missed – many are time critical, the most obvious example being the Lynas engagements which are couched around the next few years where the new plant must be complete due to hard time limits from the Malaysian Government with respect to their existing plant. There is a risk that not only will we miss out on all or many of the individual opportunities, but we will miss out on the big picture opportunity – where with a focus on regional development we can build a bridge to the future resulting in benefits in perpetuity for the greater community and region.


Sabina is the Director - Kalgoorlie Campus, Curtin University including the WA School of Mines. She is also a Non-Executive Director of Resolute Mining Ltd and the Chair of the Goldfields-Esperance Development Commission.

Sabina was born in Norseman and lived in Wiluna and Kalgoorlie as a child before returning to Kalgoorlie firstly as a young adult and then now for a third time as a slightly older adult. Sabina has a MBA from UWA and a degree in Mining Engineering from Curtin’s WA School of Mines. She is a member of the AusIMM and holds a WA First Class Mine Manager’s Certificate of Competency. She founded and runs the very active Women in Mining and Resources WA (WIMWA) group which has grown to 3000 members state-wide since its inception in 2003.

In March 2010, Sabina was named the inaugural Women in Resources Champion in the Chamber of Minerals and Energy of WA Women in Resources Awards, for being an outstanding role model to people in the resources industry and the broader community. In 2011 Sabina was included in the first 100 inducted to the WA Women’s Hall of Fame. In 2013 Sabina was named in the AFR Westpac 100 Women of Influence and included in the 100 Global Inspirational Women in Mining.

In 2015 Sabina was named a Member of the General Division of the Order of Australia (AM) for her significant service to the mining industry through executive roles in the resources sector, and as a role model and mentor to women.

She has extensive experience in senior roles with mining and consulting organisations in including operations management experience at senior site level covering both underground and open pit environments. Sabina’s work has a strong people focus together with a solid project management background.

Sabina has had a long involvement in a variety of not for profit organisations and up until recently was a long term board member of AMRRIC, a national charity that works to improve the health and welfare of companion animals in remote indigenous communities to improve the health and welfare of whole communities.