The finishing touches are being applied to the new A$7 million ($4.8 million) Mackay Resources Centre of Excellence in Queensland, ahead of the official opening next month.
The centre, jointly funded by the Palaszczuk Government and Mackay Regional Council, is a strategic investment in job creation for the resources sector, and the region, according to the Queensland Government.
Queensland Treasurer, Cameron Dick, who inspected the facility today, said Queensland’s plan to recover from the global coronavirus pandemic puts traditional industries like the resources sector front and centre.
“Since 2015, the Palaszczuk Government has facilitated more than A$20 billion of new investment in the resources sector.
“Making sure we have a skilled workforce to take advantage of these opportunities is an important part of Queensland’s road to recovery from the global coronavirus pandemic.
“This Centre of Excellence will ensure that the Mackay region remains one of the world’s best sources for mining expertise and innovation in the mining equipment, technology and services (METS) sector.
“Featuring a simulated underground coal mine for training and research, including emergency response, the centre will provide training and education, biomedical research, product innovation and demonstration and help to create the jobs and skills of the future.”
Originally announced back in 2018, the centre’s underground coal mine simulator will be available for testing, demonstrating and filming new equipment and products operating in confined spaces; will enable new emergency response procedures to be practiced and refined; and will allow tourists to experience what it is like working in an underground coal mine.
The centre will support three new full-time jobs in management and scientific research roles and, once operational, staff will begin to map actual test mine sites so that the simulator will be able to replicate physical conditions for testing to be carried out in real, or close-to-real, conditions, as opposed to laboratory-based conditions.
Member for Mackay, Julieanne Gilbert, said construction of the centre had created around 22 direct and indirect jobs.
“Importantly, the centre will create enormous opportunities for local apprentices to further develop their skills, cementing the region as the hub for resources in Queensland.
“It will provide a hands-on training facility akin to a ‘living lab’ environment for industry training providers and private METS companies.”
Mackay Regional Council Mayor, Greg Williamson, said it was exciting that this innovative facility was about to be completed on budget and on time.
“Local construction company Fergus Builders have been hard at work on the construction of an administration building, workshop and laboratory, including landscaping and utilities and its fantastic to see this state-of-the-art facility come out of the ground,” he said.
“This project is a great example of council working together with state government and industry to deliver what will become a key landmark for Mackay as an international METS hub.
“We have the expertise of the Resource Industry Network to operate the centre and they will be actively showcasing the capabilities of the facility to international audiences at resource sector events and conferences when they recommence.”