Mining research funding a boost for UTAS

Henry Duh
Henry Duh

THE University of Tasmania yesterday announced it would receive more than $30 million in much needed research funding for programs that have the scope to play a significant role in both mining and digital data collection.

The bulk of the funding has been secured through the federal government for the Sense T program and the establishment of a mining research hub, and the remainder made up through partnerships with mining corporations and additional grants.

It has been a tense time at the university as it seeks to gauge the full impact of the federal government's reforms on tertiary education, announced in the budget in May.

Federal Education Minister Christopher Pyne announced the university had received $3.9 million through the Australian Research Council for the Industrial Transformation Research Hub.

The university's new hub director, Professor David Cooke, described the funding as a coup that would enable significant research into developing new ore detection zones, better processing methods and mine waste management.

It would also bring together international and local partnerships with the University of Exeter as well as companies including Newcrest Mining and BHP- Billiton.

He said the research could be used to establish new mine sites that have greater scope to find a variety of ore deposits and it could also one day enable former sites to be revisited.

"This is very exciting for us - we are very, very pleased by this and it will help us to undertake major collaborative work which is great for the university," Professor Cooke said.

The hub would also be an internal collaborative project between those already part of the university's internationally renowned Centre of Excellence in Ore Deposits and the Launceston based HITLab and its director Professor Henry Duh.

Professor Cooke said the hub would lead to more academic research positions at the university.

The Sense T "big data" program was launched in 2012 and brought together the university, state government, CSIRO and IBM.

Sense T director Ros Harvey said the $13 million would take their work to the next level.

"It will put our technology into the hands of farmers and help create highly-skilled jobs," she said.

"It will also expand the fields of research into areas like freight and logistics, eHealth and finance."


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