Engineering, design and advisory company Aurecon is part of a national consortium to support regional Australian communities facing mine closure which has secured A$30 million in funding from the Australian Government.
Led jointly by the University of Western Australia and the University of Queensland, the consortium will now form a Cooperative Research Centre on Transformations in Mining Economies (CRC TiME) to support the successful transition of mining communities to form sustainable community and development opportunities.
The Cooperative Research Centre on Transformations in Mining Economies brings together 75 partners including Aurecon, BHP, Rio Tinto, Deswik, Decipher, the Governments of Western Australia, Queensland and the Northern Territory, as well as researchers from eight universities and the CSIRO.
Aurecon’s Resources Industry Director, Anthony Richardson, says in the current economic climate it’s more important than ever to get these transitions right. While there are challenges to overcome as Australia transitions to a more sustainable future, both for the mining industry, government and regional communities, Aurecon believes Australia has the capability and capacity to model what a successful transition looks like for all.
“This collective of the resources industry and government as well as researchers all working collaboratively towards the same goal will be a catalyst for bringing new ways of thinking and innovation, including embracing data driven innovation, for sustainable mine closure,” Richardson said. “We are excited about the possibilities to bring our sector-specific domain knowledge and broad technical and engineering experience to provide an in-depth understanding of the unique challenges and to break new ground towards sustainable mine closure and transition,” he said.
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 there will be an increasing number of projects approaching closure.
“With several large mines around Australia reaching their end and closing in the next ten years, this joint 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.”
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 A$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 Commonwealth Government’s announcement is the culmination of over 12 months of extensive consultation across Australia. CRC TiME Chair Dr Bruce Kelley stressed 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.