Sunday 22nd Sep, 2019

Federal Govt invests millions to boost resource sector data analytics

Millions of dollars will be invested into developing data science skills of Australia’s mining industry to keep the sector competitive on the global scale.

The Federal Government has allocated $7.67 million to fund two mining research centres in partnership with universities and commercial supporters.

One hub will be located at the University of Sydney, with the other located at the University of Adelaide.

Research at the Sydney based centre will focus on data analytics related to the long-term impact of resources on Australia’s economy, society and environment.

The Adelaide centre will focus on training the next generation of scientists and engineers in advanced sensors and data analytics to hep Australia’s mining industry increase certainty on product quality.

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Education Minister Dan Tehan said the centres will help Australia’s mining industry better use data to make evidence-based decisions to lead to more efficient operations.

“We need to ensure that we are turning our research into real-world benefits because Australia’s world-leading research sector will be a key driver of jobs and productivity,” Tehan said.

“When we get collaboration between research and industry right, the benefits are unambiguous.”

Resources Minister Matt Canavan said the funding would help keep Australia’s resources sector at the top of its research game.

“A key part of last year’s National Resources Statement was to better focus the sector’s innovation and R&D on long-term, sectoral growth. These new centres will dovetail in with those plans,” Canavan said.

“We are blessed with abundant, high quality resources such as coal, iron ore and gas which return billions to our economy each year. Demand for the minerals that drive modern technologies, like lithium, rare earths, nickel and cobalt, is also surging.

“Continued investment in research will keep our resources sector ‘on top’ by increasing our knowledge in areas such as mining engineering, mineral processing, geoscience and the environment, attracting more investment and helping governments make more informed decisions.”

University of Adelaide Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research), Professor Mike Brooks, welcomed the funding announcement.

“Combining our expertise in advanced sensors, data analytics, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, the new centre will deliver vital tools, training and workforce needs to help ensure Australia and key industry players lead the world,” Brooks said.

“The new centre’s work directly aligns with the University of Adelaide’s industry engagement priorities in energy, mining, and resources, which are critical to the economic and technological success of South Australia and the nation.”

University of Sydney Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Michael Spence, welcomed the research investment and collaboration.

“The University of Sydney has long been committed to undertaking world-class research to support Australia’s resource sector,” Spence said.

“As an asset-rich nation, Australia continues to play a leading role in delivering the world’s essential resources, however to maintain that position it’s important we invest in transformative technologies and collaborative research.

“New approaches to data analysis will allow for an improved understanding of how the resource sector can mitigate risk and impact, while in turn preparing Australia’s resource economy for a long-term approach to resources and mining.”