Murdoch University researchers will join forces with key mining industry figures to deliver sustainable prosperity and social development to the mining resources sector.A national consortium of researchers has formed a Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) for Transformations in Mining Economies (TiME) to support regional Australian communities facing mine closure.
The core aim of the CRC is to increase certainty around mine closure timelines and future uses, reduce the likelihood of mine abandonment, and to support regional communities in diversifying their economies post mining.
Associate Professor Rachel Standish said the collaboration would provide much-needed guidance on mine closure and relinquishment.
There are few cases of successful mine closure and more than 50,000 abandoned mines across Australia,” Dr Standish said. "The challenge is clearly defined.”
Murdoch University will play an important role in the ten-year research initiative, joining leading national academic researchers among more than 75 partners including mining companies, the Minerals Council of Australia, State and Commonwealth government departments and other key stakeholders.
The consortium received $29.5 million from the Australian Government's CRC Programme to establish the research initiative. End-user partners have also pledged over $100 million in cash and in-kind support.
Professor Simon McKirdy, Pro Vice Chancellor of the Harry Butler Institute (HBI), recognises the new centre aligns closely with the core objectives of the HBI.
“The Harry Butler Institute supports high-quality research to inform environmental management of our state’s production landscapes,” Professor McKirdy said. "Several of the CRC TiME partners are also key HBI stakeholders or end-users."
Professor Peter Davies, Pro Vice Chancellor of the Food Future Institute (FFI), echoed that sentiment, reinforcing the need to address the sustainability of the sector.
The coordinated and collaborative investment is certain to improve the productivity and sustainability of one of Australia’s key resource sectors”, Professor Peter Davies said.
“The number of partners indicates a willingness to ensure the long-term sustainability of an industry with a long history as a source of the nation’s prosperity."
Furthering its impact on the research community, the CRC will provide funding to support 50 PhD students, significantly contributing to research training. Scholarships will be four years, rather than the usual three-and-a-half years, so that students can spend six months working on-site with an industry partner.
Local partners include: South32, Alcoa of Australia, Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions, BHP, Rio Tinto, Roy-Hill Iron-ore, Iluka, Newmont, The University of Western Australia, Peel Catchment Council, Curtin University, ChemCentre, Environmental Protection Authority, Peel Development Commission and more.