Sandali Yaddehige is a third-year double major mining and civil engineering student at the University of Wollongong. During her time at university, Sandy started exploring the possibilities of using 3D visualisation and augmented reality (AR) in mining.

Over the last six months, Sandy has worked with SCT as an intern and she has put her tech visualisation skills to solve real mining challenges. 

SCT's head office is located close to the University in Wollongong, so it was the perfect opportunity for Sandy to put her 3D visualisation skills into practice with real clients and complex strata challenges, alongside Australia’s best geotechnical engineers.

Sandali used data sets to visualise how a hydraulic fracture was growing for a client. She explained that using AR, engineers and their clients can better understand what is happening underground.

“My internship at SCT provided me with the time and specialists mentoring resource to get to know and understand hydraulic fracturing at a live mine site and provide a new way to visualise the mine site. AR is powerful as you can scale to real-life size. For example, a civil engineer can explore a virtual house on a proposed build site, and before any construction takes place, you can find mistakes and also understand user needs.”

Sandali has another two years of studies at Wollongong University. The hands-on and ‘real-life’ industry experience at SCT has given her practical insight and ongoing access to mentors who have extensive experience in geotechnical engineering in mining in Australia and overseas.

“Working at SCT gave me an understanding of geotechnical engineering consulting and research. Research plays an important role keeping mining going – thinking about safety and trying to find new ways for a mine to increase production.”

Sandali encourages young women to “go for it” if they are considering a career in STEM or engineering. She describes the opportunities available as exciting, and she has met inspirational people in her studies and career journey so far.

“I started my studies with civil engineering, and I didn’t know about mining. Fortunately, I took up an opportunity to design a mine, and I did a lot of research. I made connections with industry, and I began to get my idea of doing a double major in civil and mining engineering.

“There is so much scope for emerging technologies in mining engineering, especially at SCT as they design and manufacture instrumentation. For example, AR has lots of potential for demonstrating instrumentation for clients by using an AR app on their phone.

“Even when an opportunity seems challenging, I encourage young women to take the leap and accept the challenge. Working with SCT, I have learned so much, and my connections are great.”

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