Click on the name of the scholar above to read about their time as an Australian Government-Rio Tinto scholarship recipient.
2009 Australian Government - Rio Tinto NTRB scholarship recipient
A recipient of the 2009 Australian Government - Rio Tinto NTRB Scholarship while working with the Northern Land Council. Jonathan returned and continues to work with the NLC.
Although the Northern Territory has its own Dundee, the similarity between the Scottish version and the Territory version ends with the name. Hence, re-locating my young family from the wet and humid tropics to a climate that is anything but tropical (although still wet) involved some apprehension and plenty of thought and discussion.
In hindsight, it was a fantastic decision. The Centre for Energy, Petroleum, Mineral Law and Policy (CEPMLP) is a very well-regarded institution in its field and as a result attracts many highly-motivated and intelligent students from different professional backgrounds and from all corners of the globe. Interactions with such a diverse group of students were one of the highlights of the experience. The academic staff at CEPMLP similarly are an impressive group. Often they would mention in passing present or past consultancies with various national governments, international funding institutions and major companies.
The practical knowledge and experiences of the academic staff shapes the course content, which although soundly based in theory allows students to explore and research practical problems, and to gain a deeper understanding of contemporary issues and challenges in the natural resources sector that have a bearing on so many different aspects of society (e.g. economic development, climate change, tax, environmental law, etc.). The opportunity to immerse oneself in thought and research, and to reflect on the approaches adopted in Australia (away from ringing telephones and meetings) was a highly self-indulgent process, and I enjoyed the privilege immensely.
Thus, although the course kept me busy throughout the year (particularly around exam times and research paper deadlines), it was a very valuable experience and I really do feel as if I’ve gained useful and practical skills and knowledge that I can apply in the course of work with an NTRB. A toddler and a further addition to the family during the year added to my time management skills, and the library became my second home, but nonetheless, my family and I managed to see plenty of the stunning Scottish countryside, and a little bit of continental Europe. We left Dundee with some sadness, my wife and children in particular having made some wonderful friends and improved their Spanish in the process.
Back in Australia I have been fortunate enough to undertake an internship at a Rio Tinto mine in New South Wales. This has been an incredibly beneficial experience that has broadened my knowledge as to the minerals industry, allowed me to put some of the theory into practice, and again to gain skills and experience that are highly transferable and relevant to work in the NTRB system.
2011 Australian Government - Rio Tinto NTRB scholarship recipient
A recipient of the 2011 Australian Government - Rio Tinto NTRB Scholarship while working with the Yamatji Marlpa Aboriginal Corporation, (Geraldton). Collin returned and continues to work with YMAC.
I found studying an LLM at the Centre for Energy Petroleum, Mining Law and Policy to be an incredible experience. The education experience itself is second to none; beyond that it provides a unique opportunity to study with people from around the world, with a variety of backgrounds.
The programme is fascinating and varied. While the Mineral Law and Policy programme is naturally focussed on mining, there is the flexibility to study oil and gas, energy, and other matters. Additionally, while the programme covers law and policy, it also provides a strong grounding in the finance, economics and geology of the extractive industries. I found it very useful to be able to put my native title experience inside the broader context of the mining industry as a whole.
The Centre is truly international. With about 200 students entering each year, I studied with students from all six populated continents. Through my studies I became close friends with people from Mongolia, China, India, Indonesia, Pakistan, Iraq, Sierra Leone, Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia, South Africa, Brazil, Peru, Colombia, Canada and Australia. It is hard to not meet wonderful people while studying at the Centre.
Living in Dundee is also a lot of fun. Most students live within a short walking distance to the University which is located close to the centre of Dundee. There are many cafes and pubs near the university and lots of live music. The city is situated along the beautiful Tay river. There are some wonderful walks along the Tay and through the city. Venturing further, Dundee is not far from the Scottish highlands. You can rent a car and get to the Inverness, the Isle of Skye and further with relative ease. If you prefer cities, Edinburgh and Glasgow are a relatively short train ride away.
2009 Australian Government - Rio Tinto NTRB scholarship recipient
A recipient of the 2009 Australian Government - Rio Tinto NTRB Scholarship while working with the Kimberley Land Council. Robert returned and continues to work with the KLC.
As I sit back at my desk at the Kimberley Land Council "amid the noise and haste" of NTRB work and contemplate how I am going to tackle the hundred odd tasks on my to do list, my year in Dundee seems but a distant memory. Whilst fairly dominated by a new baby that appeared in the middle of a once in a generation winter that transformed the dour Dundonian cityscape into some sort of Narniaesque ice kingdom, I was also able to enjoy a year of engaging study, new and interesting colleagues from all corners of the globe, spectacular Scottish landscape and a wee few drams and rounds of links golf.
The city of Dundee will never win any prizes for sophistication or aesthetics but the high proportion of students and low cost of living make it a pleasant enough place to live and study. There are a number of attractions in close proximity with the Scottish highlands not more than a half hour drive away, St Andrews and Edinburgh close by and the attractions of Europe just a hop, skip and a jump away.
The Centre of Energy, Mining and Petroleum Law and Policy is a world renowned institution and the LLM Mineral Law and Policy offered as part of the scholarship is extremely interesting and particularly relevant to a NTRB lawyer. There are a wide range of courses available to study as part of the course, with the Centre specialising in petroleum law and policy, mining, nuclear law and policy, environmental law, international arbitration and water law. The opportunity to study under expert academics in these fields and attend classes with students from a vast array of cultures and professional backgrounds make the LLM program an enjoyable and worthwhile experience. The structure of the course allows students considerable freedom in choosing which courses to study and to select particular areas of interest to focus on as they put together research papers for assessment. Recipients of the scholarship are well looked after and there are a number of excellent opportunities provided both through the Centre generally and as part of the NTRB scholarship.
All in all my family and I had a most enjoyable year. This is in spite of the fact we moved from the tropical climes of Broome to cold and grey Dundee, the self proclaimed "sunniest city in Scotland," which if true does not say much for the rest of Scotland’s weather. But as I focus back on my to do list and the day to day vicissitudes of working at the KLC and pause for one final reflection on my time in Dundee I realise that ... "for all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams," (and squashed chewing gum on its footpaths), it wasn’t such a bad place!
2010 Australian Government - Rio Tinto NTRB scholarship recipient
A note of disclaimer before you read this. This is not a calm, rational analysis of the positives and negatives of taking the Australian Government – Rio Tinto NTRB Scholarship to Dundee. This is because, as far as I am concerned, there are no negatives.
Given that, for me, the opportunity to be paid to live overseas for a year was, to put it diplomatically, at least as important as the opportunity to learn at one of the world’s premier resource law education centres, I was really not sure what to expect when I arrived in bonny Dundee. What I got first up (aside from a relatively mild case of jet-lag) was a 3 week incredibly intensive induction course covering everything I’d forgotten about international law, everything I never knew about economics and everything I didn’t know I needed to know about geology. After the challenging and rewarding induction exams, I felt confident in the fact that I knew everything anyone could know about the natural resource industry. Boy was I wrong.
What followed was 3 semesters of the most academically stimulating and professionally relevant tuition that I could have imagined. The wide-ranging and open structure of the subject syllabi gives an extremely comprehensive view of the subject matter from a number of different viewpoints. The challenging research element requires you to drill down into the minutiae of topics which lie close to your heart. The presenters are all world leaders in their field: they can even manage to make mineral taxation law and policy interesting!
But it is the extra miles beyond the classroom to which the mining school within the CEPMLP goes which really give it an edge over any other comparable postgraduate study. As well as engaging with classmates who are mining specialists in Peru, Uganda, South Africa, Colombia, Sudan, Brazil and Cameroon (to name just a few), there are opportunities to attend (and, dauntingly, present at) conferences and seminars with professionals from leading resource companies, and academic think-tanks and international bodies such as the IMF and the UN, as well as a chance to visit the London offices of multi-national mining companies and NGOs.
Beyond study, I had the chance to spend a white Christmas trekking through the highlands of my forebears, play the quintessentially Scottish sport Shinty, experience the unique Scottish cricket culture, regularly imbibe the greatest Whisky in the world, go on daytrips to the greatest city in the world (Edinburgh) and weekend trips over to the continent.
All in all, if you are thinking of applying for the Australian Government – Rio Tinto NTRB Scholarship, just do it. And if you’re not thinking of applying for it, then you should be.
Oh and a final word on the weather....well at least Dundee is the most temperate place in Scotland!
2009 Rio Tinto NTRB scholarship recipient
A recipient of the 2009 Rio Tinto NTRB Scholarship, Joe previously worked at Central Desert in WA and commenced his two year commitment to the NTRB system by working at AIATSIS on the Knowledge Management initiative.
My year of study at the University of Dundee, funded through the Australian Government-Rio Tinto Scholarship, was an invaluable experience.
The course provided an international, multidisciplinary avenue to engage with issues relevant to Australian native title law which valuably augmented the perspectives I gained within my native title experience in government and the NTRB system. This opportunity to look at Australian mining law and related issues "from the outside in" is, to my mind, the key factor in this program's usefulness from a native title practitioner's viewpoint.
The lecturers on the course are impressively qualified, including, for example, a former chief economist of Rio Tinto and the Chair of the Supervisory Board of the International School of Nuclear Law. The program is reasonably fast paced, particularly given the requirement for students to familiarise themselves with the basic elements of economics, finance and geology, in addition to new areas of the law and policy/politics.
In and around coursework there was still time, however, to explore Scotland and the wide variety of extracurricular options available at the university and more broadly. Fishing for salmon during their annual run in the upper reaches of the River Tay was a particular highlight for me.
In all, I enormously enjoyed the opportunity to study at one of the foremost institutions in its field, develop friendships and networks with students and practitioners from across the globe, and in between times, to take advantage of all that beautiful Scotland has to offer.
I recommend this opportunity to anyone interested in challenging and extending the skills they bring to the practice of native title.
2009 Rio Tinto NTRB scholarship recipient
A recipient of the 2009 Rio Tinto NTRB Scholarship, Elke previously worked at Yamatji Marlpa Aboriginal Corporation in the Pilbara region, WA.
Studying at the Centre for Energy, Petroleum and Mineral Law and Policy (CEPMLP), Dundee University, Scotland is a unique and highly enjoyable experience. Unique in that the Masters course is intrinsically multidisciplinary.
Consequently, over a 100 students from numerous disciplines and nations initially attend an induction crash-course to learn together, and from each other about subjects other than their own specific areas of expertise (where lawyers must contend with economics and science). And apart from the compulsory subjects (mostly pertaining to mining law, economics and policy), students have the freedom to choose electives from any other area - human rights, environment, corporate social responsibility, business management, international arbitration and so forth. Further, there is a special focus on the promotion of professional writing skills, in conjunction with the practical application of theory. Hence, the CEPMLP motto, academic excellence, professional relevance. Accordingly, CEPMLP students reportedly have one of the best academic publishing records in the world.
Essentially, the Mineral Law and Policy course deals with the effective and integrative management of all aspects of mining projects, and from many different perspectives: mining companies, governments, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and affected local communities, including indigenous peoples. And arguably largely treated within an international human rights and corporate social responsibility framework.
It is utterly fascinating to be directly exposed to a wide range of issues to which an Australian lawyer would not ordinarily be exposed. To hear African lawyers robustly expound on the challenges they face with respect to the negative impacts of extractive industry projects, such as the killing of local protestors by the government and extreme environmental degradation; or listen to Indonesian lawyers vividly describe the myriad of complications arising out of the fact that land is often accidently and simultaneously leased to multiple mining companies due to the lack of a centralised database. In addition, CEPMLP hosts weekly talks by miscellaneous experts from around the globe; legal, economic, political, business, anthropological... And each year, a small group of students make a trip to London to meet with various organisations, such as international mining companies and NGOs.
Aside from the coursework, I thoroughly enjoyed the university's wonderful foreign film collection, gym and pool - especially the sauna, a rare winter's treat. I grew fresh vegetables, and shared hearty soup recipes with a fellow Muslim student in one of the many local community garden allotments, alongside Scottish nationals of all ages and backgrounds. Each day, I walked the forested slopes of Dundee's steep hills, in the snow, mist, sunshine and rain amongst wheeling seagulls and river/ocean views. Then concluded my stay with a leisurely drive through the far north of Scotland in full autumnal splendor (N.B. Pennan, Skerray, Strathpeffer, Drumbeg and Apple-Cross are a must-see). So on the whole, I have to say that I found it all rather hard to leave ...
2007 Rio Tinto NTRB scholarship recipient
A recipient of the 2007 Rio Tinto NTRB Scholarship while working with Cape York Land Council John returned and continues to work with CYLC.
I enjoyed the opportunity to undertake full-time study at the Centre for Energy, Petroleum and Mineral Law and Policy within the University of Dundee in the UK.
I found the experience, educational, thought provoking and enlightening but most of all, personally challenging. Many, if not, most of the students are international with only a small percentage from the UK, Canada, the United States or Australia. The main focus of the school is in energy policy and geo-economics however the scope of interest and experience of the professional staff is broad. The School and University both host regular speakers and visitors of international standing which allows a student to consider issues with a greater sense of up to date international thought and clarity.
I recommend the opportunity to anyone with a commitment to indigenous affairs seeking to specialise in mining matters (specifically, people with an interest in working within the Representative Body System negotiating mining or other land access arrangements).
2007 Rio Tinto NTRB scholarship recipient
Recipient of the 2007 Rio Tinto NTRB scholarship while practicing as a solicitor at the Torres Strait Regional Authority. Megan returned to practice at the Northern Land Council.
I was a Rio Tinto - Aurora scholar for the 2007-2008 academic year. It was a privilege and a pleasure to spend time in Scotland, to be in a highly multicultural academic environment, and above all, to spend a full year thinking, reading and writing.
The course provided an excellent introduction to the mining industry, a world with which I had little contact prior to commencing my studies. Minerals are implicated in almost every aspect of our lives, from the energy and products we consume, the structures we live in or drive, to the state of our economies. Minerals are fundamental to our foreign policy and trade. The course allowed me to focus on economics and political theory as it related to natural resource abundance, as well as obtain an insight into the global trends in mining law. Australia is particularly well endowed with minerals, and the political, social, economic, environmental and moral issues that arise are fascinating.
Upon returning to Australia I undertook an internship with Rio Tinto based with Pilbara Iron in Western Australia. I was able to gain insight into how academic theory, international trends and evolving law were impacting the mining industry in Western Australia at the height of the iron ore boom. It was lovely to be able to put academic theory in practice upon returning to the workforce.
2006 Rio Tinto NTRB scholarship recipient
Recipient of the 2006 Rio Tinto NTRB scholarship while practicing as a solicitor at the Northern Land Council. Mark returned to work at the NLC and then went on to work as the PLO at the TSRA.
The experience at the CEPMLP was an excellent one. The high points were getting to know a group of people from all over the world – South America, Africa, Asia. Teaching staff were equally diverse. The course material was good with some high powered lecturers. The CEPMLP also held regular seminars regarding in particular energy matters which were an opportunity to gain insight into the fascinating world of energy geo-politics.
The course provided a multifaceted view of minerals law and policy: the economic and financial structure of the industry, mineral rights and concessionary systems, protective laws and international human rights, trade and investment treaties. The course facilitated an appreciation of structures and broad dynamics, essentially the tri-partite structure of capital, government/jurisdiction, and the local (including importantly indigenous people). It helped me appreciate the universal issues in mineral law and policy. It gave me some bigger context useful to test the strengths and weakness of the Australian approach to indigenous rights in mineral resources development.
The scholarship also provided an opportunity to explore internship options. I was able to get an internship with Rio Tinto in Peru. This was an excellent and exciting experience and enabled an appreciation of the development and functionality of corporate standards and their application in a complex legal and political environment. It provided me with a valuable contrast to the Australian situation. I recommend the course as challenging, fun and insightful.
2005 Rio Tinto NTRB scholarship recipient
Recipient of the 2005 Rio Tinto NTRB scholarship while practicing as a senior solicitor at the Central Land Council. James returned to the CLC and continues to work there as their PLO.
It's been an interesting and busy year so far in Dundee - from the minimal daylight hours and the snow of winter to the late night sunsets (and holidays!) of summer. The LLM. program for Mineral Law Policy has been challenging and information packed right from the outset. The well qualified staff lecturers (who maintain an extensive international consultancy) and the range of industry practitioners from around the world who travel to Dundee in the second semester to lecture here provide an excellent insight into the energy and minerals, international business and dispute resolution fields.
This year the University of Dundee was named top in the United Kingdom for teaching quality in the university league tables published in The Times Higher Education Supplement, and The Sunday Times Good University Guide named the University of Dundee Scottish University of the Year 2004. According to its own publicity the Centre for Energy, Petroleum and Mineral Law and Policy (CEPMLP) is the leading international institution for post-graduate teaching and research in its areas of expertise, and attracts some 150 post-graduate students each year from across the world to its Masters and Doctoral Programmes. I can attest to the diverse backgrounds of the participants with any typical class being composed of lawyers, engineers, geologists, economists and finance professionals from Nigeria, Chile, Peru, China, Zimbabwe, Indonesia, Ghana, India, Mexico, the US, the Middle East, Russia and pretty well everywhere that oil, gas or minerals are found.
Dundee is a friendly and (thankfully) less crowded city than many in the UK and with Edinburgh (and the festival) and Glasgow only an hour or so away by rail or road, and the highlands to the west, there are plenty of diversions available to take your mind off study. Although the first six months have been hectic and the transition from working in an NTRB back to student life is a challenge it is a very special opportunity to be able to undertake a Masters in this environment. It's a little different from Alice Springs but my family have enjoyed the Scottish life (despite the occasional language difficulty) and the access to the rest of the UK and Europe. We can only hope that Australia wins the Ashes, otherwise life here in the UK may become a little less pleasant!
2005 Rio Tinto NTRB scholarship recipient
Recipient of the 2005 Rio Tinto NTRB scholarship while practicing as a solicitor at NTSCORP (formerly NSW Native Title Services). Rhonda returned to work at NTSCORP and then moved to NQLC.
As a Kamilaroi (NSW) woman I had no particular interest in visiting the United Kingdom, much less living there. And whilst I did harbour a desire to undertake post graduate studies, the idea of studying mining law never entered my mind, despite having advocated for native title holders in negotiations with mining companies. In these circumstances I saw the advertisement for the Rio Tinto (NTRB) Scholarship to undertake the LLM Mineral Law and Policy at the University of Dundee in Scotland - and was immediately enthralled with the prospects it offered to expand both my professional and personal development.
The Centre of Energy, Petroleum & Mineral Law and Policy (CEPMLP) promotes itself as 'one of the most successful academic institutions in the UK and the EU... distinctly international and sees itself (and is seen) as a principal institution of education in, and for the global energy and resources economy' and the guest lecturers in particular attest to the expertise utilised in the programme. Although the Centre's activities are heavily directed to petroleum, the mining programme, although relatively small, is able to be responsive to student's needs, respectful of the skills and experience we bring to the programme and is tailored to exposing students to opportunities as they arise (e.g. a visit to a local coal mine, attendance at the 2005 Annual Mining Seminar held in London and visits to industry bodies).
I can't envisage ever being in a position to learn as much about mining law and policy as this programme affords. Moreover, the knowledge gained will be invaluable in my continued advocacy of native title rights and interests when dealing with mining companies. But just as important as the formal learning is the experience of meeting and exchanging with the other members of the CEPMLP - bringing an interdisciplinary and international perspective to the experience. The students and lecturers come from all corners of the earth, from America to Zimbabwe and include geologists, engineers, business administrators and all other professions that work in the mining industry.
Of course it has not all been easy fishing: the studies are challenging; missing home is hard; the weather ranges between wet and cold to cold; and the language/accents create interesting situations. But the Scottish people are warm with a strong culture and traditions; the learning is invaluable; some of the friendships will be lasting and certainly the sense of collegiality will remain forever. It is an experience I would recommend to others interested in mining law and policy and wishing to further their professional development in this regard, and who are open to personal challenges that arise whilst living in Scotland.
2010 Australian Government - Rio Tinto NTRB scholarship recipient
My year spent at the CEPMLP, University of Dundee, was a profoundly engaging academic, professional and social experience. The scholarship is truly a one of a kind opportunity.
Your year at CEPMLP gives you access to a world-leading institution; the time to appreciate the intense study program; and the means to comfortably enjoy your international studies and travels.
I believe the scholarship, and the learning opportunity it represents, could not be more relevant to our generation of Australian lawyers. We are experiencing a second ‘resource boom’ as mining, oil and gas extraction is pursued across the length and breadth of Australia.
Understanding the law and policy underpinning these endeavours is critical to understanding the modern Australian economy, and increasingly relevant to many aspects of Australian society.
By the end of your time in Dundee, not only will you be equipped with specialised skills that you could apply anywhere around the globe, but you will have formed strong and well-reasoned opinions on the social, environmental and economic effects of resource development in Australia and across the world.
The program offers plenty of flexibility to pursue the learning experience you desire – whether that be examining environmental protection or renewable energy, or other areas like international project finance or taxation.
The program helps you develop a well-rounded understanding of all the issues companies, governments, and communities face when confronted with the opportunities of resource development.
One of the best aspects of the program is meeting and learning from fellow students. The diversity of the student body is extraordinary, giving you a real insight into countries and cultures from every corner of the world.
As you work through the cycle of exams and research papers, you develop fantastic new friendships with a wonderful group of people.
Following my time in Dundee, I was lucky enough to undertake an internship with Rio Tinto at their head office in London which was a fantastic experience. I have returned to work in the NTRB system and feel very fortunate to have learnt all I learnt and experienced all I did in my time at Dundee.
And a quick word about the cold – rug up, and enjoy a white Christmas! The whisky helps too. Enjoy wonderful Scotland with its stunning natural beauty, rich history and welcoming people.