Australia: A proposed Cooperative Research Centre for Transformations in Mining Economies (CRC-TiME) is one step closer as one of only six proposed Centres to progress to Stage Two in Round 21 of the Australian Government’s CRC Program.

The Cooperative Research Centres (CRC) Program supports industry-led collaborations between industry, researchers and the community. It’s a proven model for linking researchers with industry to focus on research and development towards use and commercialisation. The program aims to improve the competitiveness, productivity and sustainability of Australian industries, especially where Australia has a competitive strength and in line with government priorities; foster high quality research to solve industry-identified problems through industry-led and outcome-focused collaborative research partnerships between industry entities and research organisations and encourage and, facilitate small to medium enterprise (SME) participation in collaborative research.

CRC Round 21 Stage 1 applications opened on 30 April 2019 and closed on 1 July 2019. The following applicants were successful in progressing to Stage 2.

  • CRC for Transitions in Mining Economies (CRC-TiME)
  • Building 4.0 CRC
  • Future Cities CRC
  • Future Energy Exports CRC
  • Reliable Affordable Clean Energy (RACE) for 2030 CRC
  • SmartCrete CRC

Hosted by The University of Queensland and the University of Western Australia, CRC-TiME brings together 50 leading mining companies, the Minerals Council of Australia, mining equipment, technology and services (METS) companies, regional development organisations, research partners, as well as local, State and Commonwealth governments.

Professor Anna Littleboy

UQ’s Sustainable Minerals Institute Professor Anna Littleboy said mine closure had been identified as a challenge by the mining industry and affected communities. “Australia has an abundance of natural resources and its mining-led economy contributes greatly to Australia’s wealth and living standards,” she said. “But there are numerous major Australian operations scheduled for closure in the next two to ten years.”

Associate Professor Guy Boggs from UWA and the Western Australian Biodiversity Science Institute said the CRC-TiME would make a significant contribution in developing a rehabilitation and environmental management economy. “The project will also encourage private sector investment and innovation to create jobs that will service mining-facilitated sustainability outcomes,” he said. “It will deliver stronger regional economies and Indigenous livelihoods by exploring opportunities mine closure investment may present for local business development and employment, and how re-purposing mined land and infrastructure can contribute to regional development opportunities.”

Guy Boggs
Associate Professor Guy Boggs

The CRC-TiME will undertake social, environmental, economic and technical research through integrated programs that work directly with industry and communities. It will also drive capacity building, education and training to address key challenges as raised by the 2018 Senate Inquiry into Mining Rehabilitation.

The CRC-TiME Bid Chair Dr Bruce Kelley said Australia had a reputation of ensuring responsible mining and resource activities. “The CRC-TiME will enhance Australia’s position as a world leader in the development of environmental practices and robust environmental regulations, which will ensure we continue to attract new mining investment and capital expenditure in changing global economic conditions and markets,” he said.

CRC-TiME will invest more than $60 million in cash and bring a further $73 million of support from partners over ten years. Current partners include 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.

Successful CRC bids will be announced in December.

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