The Australian Research Centre (ARC) has announced the University of Wollongong (UOW) will be the home for the $5 million ARC Training Centre for Innovative Composites for the Future of Sustainable Mining Equipment.

The Centre’s program of industry integrated research focusing on innovative steel composites, coupled with work integrated learning, will empower graduates to develop unique solutions, incorporating value-added technologies and products into the Australian Mining Equipment, Technology and Service (METS) sector.

The Centre aims to train industry-focused researchers in advanced manufacturing of new-generation mining equipment and sustainable mining technology, through close collaborations among key universities and mining and manufacturing companies.

Over the next five years, the ARC Training Centre for Innovative Composites for the Future of Sustainable Mining Equipment will train and produce engineering graduates to be highly qualified professionals who are empowered to take on future challenges in the METS sector.

Through long-term research projects the Centre aims to:

  • Develop new-generation innovative composites for mining equipment that can be applied in practical harsh working environments in deep mining, with the goal of significantly reducing environmental issues and improve worker health
  • Develop advanced manufacturing technology of innovative mining equipment and smart mining technology to significantly advance the Australian mining industry with enhanced safety, reliability and efficiency of operations
  • Train industry-focused researchers in advanced manufacturing and mining with graduates equipped to solve complex problems in the development of novel steel composites, innovative mining equipment, and sustainable mining processes
  • Improve Australia’s international standing for developing the innovative mining equipment materials and manufacturing processes, and facilitating the mining automation and safety in mining processing technology by strengthening engagement of research and manufacturing and mining industries, and enhancing the international competitiveness of the Australian mining industry

The METS sector is estimated to add more than $50 billion and 80,000 new jobs to the Australian economy by 2030.

The transformation of the METS sector towards more efficient, cost-effective, innovative, sustainable and digital operations will require safer machinery and equipment, which is able to operate in deeper mines and harsh environments.

UOW Vice-Chancellor Professor, Patricia Davidson, said the Illawarra is the perfect setting for a centre focused on sustainable mining.

“Wollongong has deeply held roots in mining and manufacturing, and this training centre will be the perfect launch pad for global collaboration and innovation,” Ms Davidson said.

“Our state-of-the-art engineering and technology hubs will offer the perfect environment to train the future minds of mining and to find solutions to revolutionise an industry that contributes 15 per cent of Australian GDP.”

Director of the new Centre, Professor Zhengyi Jiang of UOW’s School of Mechanical, Materials, Mechatronic and Biomedical Engineering, said the Centre will bring together a team of world-class researchers and industry leaders to train a workforce to meet the future skills demand.

“This Centre, by working with industry, will improve and streamline the research and development process, building a solid national network to address the needs of the mining equipment manufacturing, enhancing sustainability, and making a safer mining environment,” Mr Jiang said.

“The Centre will support Australian industry to maintain its position as a world -eading innovator in the METS sector.”

The ARC Training Centre for Innovative Composites for the Future of Sustainable Mining Equipment will be established with industry partners Roobuck, Bisalloy Steels, SNS Unicorp, HBIS Group, Baosteel Company, Komatsu Australia, Top Iron, Australia L&Y Mine Equipment Manufacturing, and University Partners University of Queensland, Deakin University, University of Adelaide, Western Sydney University, University of New South Wales, and Curtin University.

Featured image of Zhengyi Jiang courtesy of UOW. 

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