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National Critical Minerals R&D Centre to Launch in Australia

CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency, along with Geoscience Australia and the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) will bring together expertise to establish a virtual National Critical Minerals Research and Development Centre.

The AU$ 50 million Centre, hosted by CSIRO, will aim to strengthen Australia’s critical minerals capability and resource pipeline to bring a national perspective to critical minerals research and development. It forms part of an updated Critical Minerals Strategy to build a competitive critical minerals sector in Australia. High-value exports from critical energy metals can provide an important source of economic growth for Australia and help to power a global transition towards zero emissions.

CSIRO’s recently released Critical Energy Minerals Roadmap estimates the metal value of the energy transition’s top technologies to reach more than AUD$5 trillion dollars globally by 2050 – with over half of that being for critical minerals.

As the largest minerals research and development organisation in Australia and one of the largest in the world, CSIRO is ideally placed to seize the opportunities presented to Australia by the global energy transition and respond to critical mineral demand.

About the Critical Energy Minerals Roadmap

Australia’s future economic prosperity will depend on how well the nation can use its vast energy and mineral resources and adapt to follow the global market shift towards zero emissions.

Resourcing a low emission energy future

Connecting mining, manufacturing and energy sectors. Global demand for renewable and low emission technologies continues to grow; as does the demand for the critical mineral resources required to manufacture these technologies.

Australia is well-positioned to seize opportunities in this energy transition and respond to critical mineral demand. High-value exports from critical energy metals can provide an important source of economic growth for Australia and help to power a global transition towards zero emissions.

The Critical Energy Minerals Roadmap outlines opportunities in how Australia can extract new value from its mining and manufacturing sectors. It aims to give Australia a competitive advantage in a world undergoing massive change. The smart mining market was valued at US$ 9.27 billion in 2021 and is expected to reach US$ 28.05 billion by 2027. It is expected to register a CAGR of 20.62% from 2022 to 2027.

Mining involves many processes, including resource allocation management of equipment, such as mining trucks, excavators, drills, conveyor belts, transportation and logistics, and more. To ensure that everything runs efficiently and finishes faster, these complex processes require a system to simplify and automate them.

The Fourth Industrial Revolution has developed into an “integrated intelligent society” and is now spreading across all sectors. Digital solutions have become well established in day-to-day mining operations, and more mines and mining areas are set to benefit.

Research by a Swedish multinational networking and telecommunications company found that, when deployed concurrently, autonomous vehicles, real-time site monitoring, and remote-controlled drilling rigs deliver improved efficiency, productivity, safety, and a combined ROI of 207% over ten years in surface operations. In underground mining, the ROI equates to 256%. Digital technology is driving fundamental changes in mining.​

In recent years, mining businesses across emerging countries have faced an increase in the number of challenges, including price instability, the need to drill deeper to uncover new resources and a skills shortage across the industry. Many mining businesses have resorted to digital transformation to overcome these issues. The market is focusing on using advanced technology to transform traditional mines into smart mines that are more efficient, safer, and more productive.

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