3 December 2010

The University of Queensland (UQ) has signed a five-year, $2.5 million industry partnership agreement to design and deliver world-class class geosciences research, education and training programs.

The partnership with Vale - the world’s second-largest mining company – will assist the global company with education and training of staff.

An important component of the partnership includes five new research projects to advance coal mining techniques in Australia and overseas.

UQ Vice-Chancellor Professor Paul Greenfield said the University looked forward to a long-term partnership with Vale, to deliver sustainable outcomes for the Australian and overseas communities where Vale has coal operations.

“UQ’s contributions will include enhancing the expertise of Vale staff, and conducting research that will address community, environmental and industry challenges,” Professor Greenfield said.

“UQ students are already benefiting from our links with Vale, and a number of talented geophysics students who will graduate this month have been recruited by the company.”

Professor Greenfield said the Vale industry partnership further built on the University's links with Latin America, which includes next year becoming the first and only university in Australia to offer Portuguese as part of its official languages program.

Vale Global Coal Managing Director, Décio Amaral, said the partnership will deliver direct benefits to employees at its coal operations at Carborough Downs, in Central Queensland and Integra in the Hunter Valley in New South Wales.

“This research capability enables us to benefit from the vast experience and expertise of the academics at UQ, who are world leaders in Coal Geosciences,” Mr Amaral said.

“The outcomes of this research are expected to result in significant advancements in Vale’s coal mining techniques in Australia and around the world.”

Today’s signing of the Vale–UQ Coal Geosciences Partnership agreement will be attended by the Queensland Minister for Natural Resources, the Hon Stephen Robertson MP; Vale Global Coal Managing Director, Mr Décio Amaral; and UQ Vice-Chancellor, Professor Paul Greenfield AO.

Media: Kathy Grube from UQ Communications (07 3346 0561, k.grube@uq.edu.au) or Marsha Cadman from Rowland (0414 790 480).