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November 2010 Issue
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United front on mining and energy research


Helping the mining and energy sectors protect the environment, increase efficiency and reduce costs are the main aims of a major new research institute launched at the University of Adelaide.

The Institute for Mineral and Energy Resources (IMER) was launched at the National Wine Centre last month by South Australian Mineral Resources Development Minister the Hon. Paul Holloway.

Guest speakers included Beach Energy Managing Director Reg Nelson, whose address dealt with current and future challenges for the mining and energy sectors and the need for integrated research.

The Institute for Mineral and Energy Resources will create mutually beneficial partnerships between the mineral and energy industries and leading research teams from across the University of Adelaide.

"The world's rapidly increasing hunger for mineral and energy resources offers great potential economic benefits for our state and Australia. At the same time, it raises enormous technical, social and environmental challenges and conflicting points of view. We need to maximise the benefits to society while minimising any social and environmental impacts," said IMER Director Professor Stephen Grano.

"We need research that is integrated in its approach. We will bring together world-leading researchers across a wide range of disciplines, including science, engineering, economics, business and social sciences, all working in close partnership with industry."

Professor Grano said IMER would add value to the mining and energy industries with research targets, including: lowering the cost and increasing the success rate of resource discovery; lowering energy costs in mineral production; adding value to mineral products; improving the efficiency and lowering the cost of renewable and conventional energy sources; reducing operating costs; and improving safety.

Other potential environmental gains included minimising discharges and designing for sustainability.

He said there were tremendous gains to be made for all through closer collaborations between the mineral and energy sectors.

"Mining is highly energy intensive," Professor Grano said. "Finding alternative energy sources and reducing energy consumption and cost is imperative for the mining sector."

In launching the new Institute, Mr Holloway emphasised the importance of resource discovery and development to South Australia's future prosperity.

"The Institute is expected to build multi-disciplinary research teams and partnerships across geoscience, engineering, economics, business and social sciences disciplines," Mr Holloway said.

"The technical contributions and innovations provided by these teams and partnerships will no doubt assist the state's growing mineral resources and energy industries."

University of Adelaide Vice-Chancellor and President Professor James McWha said: "IMER is building on the University's renowned expertise in the geosciences, bringing in a range of other disciplines to work together to make significant impact on these big issues facing the mining and energy sectors. Research that promotes the efficient and sustainable use of resources will have major benefits for society, industry and the environment."

For more information about IMER, go to:

Story by Robyn Mills

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