SA tackles deep mining problems

Friday, 25 February 2005

South Australia's mining industry will benefit from a new, world-class centre to be set up at the University of Adelaide to research and develop specialised deep mining techniques.

The Centre for Mineral Exploration Under Cover will be established at the University with $1.2 million funding over four years from the State Government's Plan for Accelerating Exploration (PACE) program.

In announcing the venture, Mineral Resources Development Minister Paul Holloway says the centre would concentrate on developing new methods to explore for mineral deposits at depth.

"These methodologies will have a very South Australian focus, though they will be applicable to mining in many parts of the world," Mr Holloway says.

"One of the problems facing mineral exploration in South Australia is the very deep cover over potential ore deposits. The State Government and the University of Adelaide are working with the exploration industry and tackling this problem head on through the establishment of this Centre.

"International advertising for a professor who will be Chair of Mineral Exploration and Director of the Centre for Mineral Exploration Under Cover is now underway. The position will be in the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences (Discipline of Geology and Geophysics), which already forms part of one of Australia's major centres of geophysical excellence. I am confident that this initiative will attract a number of world-class researchers once it is operational."

The primary outcomes of the initiative will be:

  • to attract a leading researcher to Adelaide;
  • creation of a world-class research centre;
  • development of an industry-focused method for exploring through cover;
  • and strong collaborative links with other minerals-focused research centres.

"This is an important step toward achieving a major boost in mineral exploration in South Australia," Mr Holloway says.

"We have a target of increasing mineral exploration to $100 million a year by 2007, with mineral production targets of $4 billion by 2020. Developing new, locally based under cover exploration techniques will play a crucial role in achieving these targets."

Vice-Chancellor of the University of Adelaide Professor James McWha says the new Centre would build on the University's existing, world-class expertise in geological science and petroleum engineering and management.

"This Centre recognises that university research can have major benefits for industry, the economy and the community, and we welcome the opportunity to build on our links with the mining industry and government," Professor McWha says.


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