An $A218 million ($NZ236.26 M) research collaboration known as MinEx Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) has been detailed at an international geoscience conference in Adelaide this week.
It was launched by the South Australian Minister for Energy & Mining, Dan van Holst and has been described as an entity to increase research and capabilities for new mineral discoveries.
MinEx CRC has secured $A50 million in Australian Government funding, as well as strong industry and research backing. Participants include 34 partners from the Mining Equipment, Technology and Services (METS) sector and major miners BHP, South32, Anglo American and Barrick committing $A165 M (cash and in‐kind) over the next 10 years.
Research organisations supporting the CRC include CSIRO, Curtin University, the University of Adelaide, the University of South Australia, the University of Western Australia and the University of Newcastle, together with Geoscience Australia, and all the Geological Surveys in Australia, with significant contributions from New South Wales, SA and WA.
MinEx CRC chairman Chris Pigram said the launch of the research organisation was driven by the declining discovery of new mineral deposits – a major threat to Australia’s economy.
“There are few, if any, major new mineral deposits that are exposed at the earth’s surface yet to be found in Australia, and as a result, mineral exploration is moving from Australia to less well explored countries,” Pigram said.
He said Australia’s share of mineral exploration has reduced from about 25% in the 1990s to 12.5% currently. The increased cost of drilling, which has led to less exploration over the last 20 years, is something the new CRC will be addressing.
The CRC is dual headquartered in WA and SA. MinEx CRC was launched in conjunction with the Australian Geoscience Council Convention and Geoscience Australia’s Earth Science Week.