$30 million boost for sustainable mine closure in regional Australia

A national consortium jointly led by The University of Western Australia and University of Queensland has secured almost $30 million from the Federal Government to support regional Australian communities facing local mine closures.

The funding forms part of a total 10-year investment of $135.4 million to support the successful transition of mining communities to create sustainable community and development opportunities.

With several large mines around Australia reaching their end and closing within the next 10 years, the project will undertake social, environmental, economic and technical research, work directly with industry and communities and enable Australia to transition to a prosperous and sustainable post-mining future.

The consortium will form a Cooperative Research Centre on Transformations in Mining Economies (CRC-TiME).

CRC-TiME brings together 75 partners including BHP, Rio Tinto, Deswik, Decipher, the State Governments of Western Australia, Queensland and the Northern Territory, as well as researchers from eight universities and the CSIRO.

CRC-TiME’s CEO Dr Guy Boggs from UWA and the Western Australian Biodiversity Science Institute said Australia’s mining boom had contributed greatly to wealth and living standards, but as resources were mined we would see an increasing number of projects approaching closure.

“This effort will position Australia as a global leader in mine rehabilitation and closure and ensure our regional communities have the capacity to capitalise on opportunities for post-mine development,” Dr Boggs said.

“CRC-TiME has the potential to create hundreds of new opportunities and regional jobs through the implementation of restoration activities and increased supply of closure and post-closure products and services.”

UWA Vice-Chancellor Professor Dawn Freshwater said the project demonstrated the University’s commitment to research with real-world impact.

“The Commonwealth Government’s investment in this project is a demonstration of its trust in the world-class research that will come out of it,” Professor Freshwater said.

“Western Australians acutely understand the important role that mining has always played in our economic and social fabric.

“The University of Western Australia is committed to advancing the prosperity and welfare of the people in every way it can. We shall be working closely with mining communities to ensure that their environments and their lives are protected and enhanced.”

UQ’s Sustainable Minerals Institute and CRC-TiME’s Research Director Professor Anna Littleboy said the CRC’s innovative research would provide new knowledge to help balance environment, economic and social outcomes and optimise post-mine outcomes.

“CRC-TiME is expected to provide over $2.4 billion of benefit by bringing Australia’s leading mine rehabilitation and closure experts together, drawing on social, economic, engineering and biological sciences to address the complex challenge of a post-mining future,” Professor Littleboy said.

The Federal Government’s announcement is the culmination of extensive consultation across Australia. CRC-TiME Chair Dr Bruce Kelley said Australia had a unique opportunity for effective collaboration between the mining industry, government and community.

“We are delighted with the Australian Government’s announcement and will now begin the process of establishing the new entity and look forward to working with each of our partners,” he said.

“The bid management team is grateful to the many supporters that provided their expertise throughout the bid process.”

Visit the CRC website for more information and a full list of current CRC-TiME partners.

Source: UWA