9 December 2005

The University of Queensland will use a new $2.7 million partnership with BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA) to help shore up the future of Australia’s mining industry.

UQ’s Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Paul Greenfield said the five year teaching and research package would establish two new professorial positions plus an improved coal processing lecture series.

“UQ is delighted with BMA’s foresight in establishing this partnership, which is part of a $50 million Skills for Growth package announced in Brisbane today by Queensland Premier Peter Beattie,” Professor Greenfield said.

“UQ will jointly fund the research and education partnership with BMA for five years.

“One new professor will hold the BMA Chair of Mining Engineering and the other will hold the BMA Chair of Minerals Processing. We will look to fill these positions in early 2006.

“The UQ/BMA partnership will support economic growth nationally and in Queensland by reducing the skills gap and enhancing the nation’s highly-qualified professional mining workforce,” Professor Greenfield said.

UQ Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) Professor Michael Keniger welcomed BMA’s commitment to another initiative, the first national school of mining engineering.

“The national school, Mining Education Australia, is a joint venture of UQ, the University of New South Wales and Curtin University, with support from the Minerals Council of Australia,” Professor Keniger said.

“The universities will collaborate so that students can complete the first two years of mining engineering at Australian universities that offer prerequisites for entry to Mining Education Australia.

“BMA is working with us to develop a common third and fourth year Mining Education Australia curriculum.

“UQ also welcomes BMA’s announcement of funding for an extra 16 scholarships in mining-related studies in 2006 and BMA’s alliance with Central Queensland University.

“UQ is exploring with Central Queensland University a mechanism by which students can complete their first two years of engineering at CQU and then transfer to mining engineering at UQ for years three and four.

“This is consistent with the approach being adopted by the Minerals Council of Australia through Mining Education Australia.

“UQ is a world leader in mining and metallurgical studies, and we are also committed to collaborating with industry, government and other institutions to maximise educational and research outcomes,” Professor Keniger said.

The BMA partnership follows other recent UQ initiatives aimed at upgrading education and research in mining and engineering.

These include: UQ’s pivotal role in winning funds, with three collaborating universities, for a new world-first minerals institute, the Australian Minerals Science Research Institute (awarded the largest-ever Linkage grant for research from the Australian Research Council in November); a partnership with Xstrata to establish the new Xstrata Chair of Metallurgical Engineering; and offering an extra 100 undergraduate engineering places in 2006.

Media contact: Fiona Kennedy 07 3365 1088 / 0413 380 012