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Curtin University Partners to Drive Mining Innovation

Image Credits: Curtin University, Press Release.

Curtin University and an Australian mining company are collaborating to foster mining innovation and equip the next generation with the skills needed for future job opportunities in the industry. This strategic partnership brings together the company’s extensive knowledge in lithium, iron ore, energy, and mining services with Curtin University’s renowned expertise in research and education.

On 19 June 2023, the Managing Director of the firm and Curtin University’s Vice-Chancellor signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to formalise their collaboration. Both expressed their shared vision to position Australia at the forefront of the critical minerals supply chain, recognising the increasing global demand for these resources.

As part of the Trailblazer Universities Program, the firm, which operates two lithium mines, has pledged AU$2 million towards the development of a critical minerals research commercialisation hub at Curtin University.

One of the main objectives is to create internship opportunities that offer Curtin University students valuable, hands-on experience in the mining industry, paving the way for their successful careers. These internships also involve tackling digital challenges faced by the industry through Curtin’s innovative program at Innovation Central Perth.

Currently, Curtin interns working at the firm’s Osborne Park headquarters are actively involved in the advancement of groundbreaking autonomous road trains. Additionally, as part of their clinical placement program, psychology students from Curtin University will collaborate with the company’s corporate psychologist and Head of Mental Health. This formal partnership further enhances and builds upon the areas of collaboration that have been established for nearly a decade.

The firm supports the Moorditj Yorga Scholarship program, aimed at assisting mature-aged Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women in pursuing their studies at Curtin University.

Furthermore, the company has provided funding for research that employs environmental DNA (eDNA) to survey the interactions between plants and animals. This innovative tool, known as eDNA, is transforming environmental monitoring practices.

The Managing Director of the firm expressed his pride in collaborating with one of the world’s top universities to foster the development of future talent for upcoming job opportunities. He emphasised that this partnership would unite the brightest minds from Curtin University and the company to address real-world challenges in the mining sector. By combining their expertise, they aim to accelerate the advancement of cutting-edge innovation, which has been a crucial factor in their collective achievements.

The Vice-Chancellor of Curtin University acknowledged the company as a highly esteemed partner, particularly within the Curtin-led Resources Technology and Critical Minerals Trailblazer initiative. This partnership aims to develop sovereign capability by focusing on critical minerals and hydrogen energy value chains.

By collaborating with the company, the university aims to equip the workforce with the necessary skills and knowledge to fully harness the potential benefits of these resources. These resources are vital components of clean energy technologies, making this collaboration crucial for a sustainable future.

Mining has played a fundamental role in shaping the Australian economy, with the gold rushes of the 1850s serving as a crucial milestone in the country’s early growth. Presently, the mining sector stands as one of Australia’s firmly established industries. It significantly contributes to the nation’s economy, representing approximately 10% of the total GDP in 2020.

Primarily export-oriented, the industry focuses on minimal onshore processing. As the global economy recovers from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the prospects for Australia’s mineral exports are continuously improving.

Through the AU$1 billion Value-Adding in Resources Fund proposed by the Labor party, the Australian government intends to enhance the country’s mining science technology capability, generate employment opportunities, and increase the proportion of raw materials that undergo processing within Australia. This initiative aims to promote value-added activities within the resources sector and bolster the nation’s economic growth.

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