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Academy welcomes Australian Future Mines Centre commitment

The Australian Academy of Science has welcomed the Federal Opposition’s commitment to establish an Australian Future Mines Centre to co-ordinate exploration work and lead the scientific research and development necessary to explore under deep cover, funded by a $23 million Australian Research Council Special Research Initiative.

The Academy of Science is well positioned to provide input into this initiative as it meets many of the strategic goals laid out in the UNCOVER Roadmap, a blueprint launched by the Academy and AMIRA International in August 2017 to unlock Australia’s enormous potential mineral wealth.

The roadmap, supported by 53 organisations coordinated by AMIRA International, is based on the vision of the UNCOVER AUSTRALIA initiative, established by the Australian Academy of Science in 2012.

The UNCOVER AUSTRALIA initiative identifies what is required to transform Australia’s ability to find non-bulk mineral resources such as copper and gold under the majority of Australia’s landmass.

The Academy also welcomes Labor’s commitment to build the future workforce needed to support Australia’s high-tech mining and resource sector.  It is encouraging to see a commitment to providing $2 million for 100 scholarships to address the decline in mining engineering enrolments, half of which will target women.

Academy Fellow and Chair of UNCOVER AUSTRALIA, Dr Phil McFadden welcomed the commitments by Labor.

“Australia needs new geoscience, technology and infrastructure to boost the rate of discoveries for base and precious metals and deliver Australia’s major new mines of the future.

“Funding key elements of the UNCOVER roadmap will allow Australia to build on our scientific knowledge and develop new technologies that are necessary to increase the chances of finding economic deposits in the 70% of Australia that is covered by moderate or deep sediment.

“With the growth in renewable energy for example, we’ll need more copper in the next 15 years than we’ve used in all of human history,” Dr McFadden said.

Academy Fellow and UNCOVER Implementation Committee member, Professor Sue O’Reilly, said the evolution of the UNCOVER initiative is a template for how high-quality science can assist Australian industry.

“Since its inception, the UNCOVER AUSTRALIA initiative has seen strong cooperation across various sectors who have strategically focussed on understanding how we can use knowledge of how the planet works for successful mineral exploration in the covered areas of Australia,” Professor O’Reilly said.

“This funding commitment puts Australia in a good position to re-establish itself as a world leader in minerals exploration and ensure strong economic growth for our future.”