Government invests in data science for the mining sector

The Morrison Government is funding the development of data science skills for the mining industry to help keep Australia a global leader in the mining sector.


Minister for Education Dan Tehan said the Morrison Government was investing $7.67 million to fund two mining research centres in partnership with universities and commercial supporters.

"These centres will help Australia’s mining industry better use data to make evidence-based decisions that lead to more efficient operations," Mr Tehan said.

"We need to ensure that we are turning our research into real-world benefits because Australia’s world-leading research sector will be a key driver of jobs and productivity.

"When we get collaboration between research and industry right, the benefits are unambiguous."

One hub will be based at the University of Sydney, with the other at the University of Adelaide.

Minister for Resources and Northern Australia Matt Canavan said the funding would help keep Australia’s resources sector at the top of its research game.

"A key part of last year’s National Resources Statement was to better focus the sector’s innovation and R&D on long-term, sectoral growth. These new centres will dovetail in with those plans," Minister Canavan said.

"We are blessed with abundant, high quality resources such as coal, iron ore and gas which return billions to our economy each year. Demand for the minerals that drive modern technologies, like lithium, rare earths, nickel and cobalt, is also surging.

Research activity at the University of Sydney will focus on data analytics related to the long-term impact of resource use on Australia’s economy, society and environment. It will help develop the necessary data science skills for Australia’s resource industries to make the best possible evidence-based decisions when using our natural resources.

The centre to be based at the University of Adelaide will train the next generation of scientists and engineers in advanced sensors and data analytics, to enable Australia’s mining industry to increase certainty on product quality and maximise resource recovery.

University of Adelaide Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor Mike Brooks welcomed today’s funding announcement.

"Underpinned by world-leading research, our new, high-tech training centre will help to shape the very future of mining operations in Australia," Professor Brooks said.

"Combining our expertise in advanced sensors, data analytics, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, the new centre will deliver vital tools, training and workforce needs to help ensure Australia and key industry players lead the world.

"The new centre’s work directly aligns with the University of Adelaide’s industry engagement priorities in energy, mining, and resources, which are critical to the economic and technological success of South Australia and the nation."

University of Sydney Vice-Chancellor and Principal Dr Michael Spence welcomed the research investment and collaboration.

"The University of Sydney has long been committed to undertaking world-class research to support Australia’s resource sector," Dr Spence said.

"As an asset-rich nation, Australia continues to play a leading role in delivering the world’s essential resources, however to maintain that position it’s important we invest in transformative technologies and collaborative research.

"New approaches to data analysis will allow for an improved understanding of how the resource sector can mitigate risk and impact, while in turn preparing Australia’s resource economy for a long term approach to resources and mining."

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