February 21, 2024

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CSIRO Launches New R&D Programme for Mining Sector

CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency, is helping small to medium-sized businesses in the mining and mining equipment, technology and services sectors by offering a free online course that provides expertise and support for research and development.

Innovate to Grow is a 10-week online programme offered by CSIRO that is designed to help eligible small to medium-sized businesses in the mining and mining equipment, technology and services sectors that are in the early stages of engaging in R&D or pursuing a new idea. It will be guided by experienced researchers and innovation experts who will help participants to examine their technical or business challenges, explore R&D opportunities, and develop actionable business and funding plans.

Upon completion of the Innovate to Grow programme, participants may be able to access facilitation support through CSIRO to connect with research expertise nationally and may also be eligible for dollar-matched R&D funding.

The SME Collaboration Manager for CSIRO stated that the programme is designed to assist small-medium businesses in understanding the process of engaging in R&D by providing them with information on how to access funding, mentoring and a highly connected network through research organizations and industry peers.

The Innovate to Grow programme targets Australian companies with less than 200 employees, and currently is offered at no cost to participants. In this way, it is hoped that some of the barriers that smaller enterprises face when they have an idea they would like to pursue can be removed.

Upon completion of the Innovate to Grow programme, participants will have received assistance in defining their goals, developing a business case for R&D with the help of a university or CSIRO, and preparing a funding proposal.

Participants will also benefit from the expansion of their professional networks through connection with their peers in the cohort, sector-specific mentors, and CSIRO which has the world’s largest mineral resources R&D capability.

One company that manages the Australian Premium Iron Joint Venture participated in the Innovate to Grow program in 2021. The Principal Scientist at the firm stated that the company participated in the Innovate to Grow program as a way to refresh their knowledge about engaging with research organisations, identifying available funding options and preparing for partnerships with organisations like CSIRO or universities.

The mining industry faces many challenges, and it requires multiple elements to come together to achieve success. CSIRO plays a vital role in supporting research and development goals for the industry, he said.

The global smart mining market is projected to grow from roughly US$9.3 billion in 2019 to about US$23.5 billion by 2027, at a CAGR of 16.3% during the forecast period 2020-2027.

Smart mining is a process that uses advanced technology, information and autonomy to improve safety, reduce operational costs, and increase productivity for mine sites. Companies in the mining industry are focusing on increasing productivity by implementing advanced software and solutions. It also includes the use of remote-controlled robotic equipment for mineral and metal extraction known as telerobotic mining, which reduces the risks for miners.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a negative impact on the global smart mining market, primarily due to the disruption of international trade, prolonged lockdowns and restrictions in construction, mining, and maintenance activities worldwide.

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