A new mining equipment, technology and services (METS) growth centre has been launched today in Queensland.
The $20 million centre, known as METS Ignite was opened at the Queensland University of Technology by the minister for industry, innovation and science, Christopher Pyne.
It has been established as part of the Government’s wider $225 million Industry Growth Centres initiative, and is designed to boost the nation’s competiveness.
“The resource sector’s continual drive to increase efficiency and productivity means there is a demand for improved equipment, technology and services,” Pyne said.
“The future prosperity of the mining equipment, technology and services sector will depend on its ability to remain globally competitive and seize these global opportunities.
“This new Growth Centre will ensure this very important sector of Australian industry receives the support it needs to prosper in an increasingly competitive and globalised market.”
QLD development minister Dr. Anthony Lynham welcomed the news.
“This is great news for our METS sector and our mining industry, and why the Palaszczuk Government committed $6 million over four years to attract the centre to Queensland,” he said.
“Having the centre here gives us access to millions of dollars of research and development funding to develop and commercialise ideas from our METS sector and in our universities.
“This is about creating new business and export opportunities and jobs in an area where we already have a global reputation and international markets.
“The growth centre dovetails with our $180 million Advance Queensland strategy designed to create the knowledge-based jobs of the future, drive productivity improvements and build on our natural advantages.”
The QLD centre will set long-term strategies to boost the mining sector’s capabilities.
Elizabeth Lewis-Grey, a board member of METS industry body Austmine, will be the growth centre chair.
“The METS Growth Centre, like the other Growth Centres, will unite business acumen with the intellectual rigor of scientists, researchers and universities,” Pyne said.
“Improving and encouraging the engagement between business and researchers will drive innovation across the sector and ensure it maintains its competitive edge.”
Lynham added: “The new growth centre will work with researchers and industry to find solutions to the mining industry’s challenges, including reducing production costs and innovative approaches to mine site rehabilitation."
"Those solutions represent potential new export products and services to expand Queensland’s already substantial METS product range."
This latest centre is one of five planned centres established as as part of the Commonwealth Government’s Innovation and Competitiveness Agenda.
The Federal Government plans to provide $3.5 million per year over four years to support its operation, while the QLD Government will provide $6 million plus staffing support.
Earlier this year the University of Adelaide and Curtin University both opened mining innovation centres.
The Australian Research Council (ARC) Research Hub for Australian Copper-Uranium, based at the University, aims to “find new ways of removing other metals from copper deposits, which can reduce the quality of the copper; and ensure these new methods are suitable for industry-level operations,” the university stated.
Speaking at the opening, WA premier Colin Barnett said the centre is a major step towards a collaborative approach to innovation between industry and academia, and positions Perth as a global technology leader, with the state already hosting the revolutionary Rio Tinto Mine of the Future centre, and BHP’s remote operations centre.
“The Cisco Internet of Everything Innovation Centre will assist Western Australia to become a global collaborator in research and innovation, offering us a competitive advantage for investment, new businesses and creating jobs,” Barnett said.