Mining research strikes gold

The feds have opened the 7th round of Cooperative Research Centre Projects –short-term industry-led collaborations to quickly develop new technologies and solve specific problems. The new round is for mineral exploration. Experts approved yesterday, with the CRC Association’s Tony Peacock saying, “there is a massive amount to do to build on Australia’s quite incredible natural advantages in this sector.” And the Australian Academy of Science welcomed the round as advancing its prospecting proposals for “non-bulk” minerals notably, copper, cobalt and rare earth metals, that “can’t be easily found using conventional exploration approaches.”

In what might be a coincidence, but could be wily Kim Carr across his shadow portfolios, Labor also announced a minex initiative. In government, an Australian Future Mines Centre, will, “co-ordinate exploration work and lead the scientific research and development necessary to explore under deep cover.” The $23m funding will come via the Australian Research Council.

The science academy also liked this one. “Australia needs new geoscience, technology and infrastructure to boost the rate of discoveries for base and precious metals and deliver Australia’s major new mines of the future,” the Academy’s Phil McFadden says.


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