14 July 2011

Key Australian mining, government and academic representatives will examine challenges facing the minerals industry for the next decade as part of a UQ panel discussion at Brisbane Customs House tomorrow, July 15.

The discussion is part of The University of Queensland’s Sustainable Minerals Institute’s 10th anniversary celebrations.

Panel members will include former Queensland Premier Wayne Goss, Xstrata Copper CEO Charlie Sartain, Rio Tinto Coal Managing Director Bill Champion and the Head of the Federal Government’s Climate Commission, Will Steffen.

UQ Sustainable Minerals Institute Director Professor Chris Moran said the Institute had made significant inroads into the challenges facing the sector now and in the future through its applied research.

“In the past 10 years the SMI has delivered real outcomes for industry, mining regions and communities throughout the world,” Professor Moran said.

“To date we have made major contributions to strategies and practical processes and technologies for reducing energy use on the most high use area of mining — comminution.

“We have developed efficient blasting methods, and by combining this with clever approaches to ore sorting we are leading to significant changes in mineral processing efficiency.”

Professor Moran said the SMI had a team dedicated to minimising impacts of water extraction, use and release.

Its community relations specialists had produced industry benchmarks and guidelines for productive relations with Indigenous communities and local employment strategies.

The SMI had set in place global teaching and implementation materials for improved efficiency in safety/risk performance.

“We continue to work with industry and government on rehabilitation closure standards,” he said.

“However, while the SMI has seen progress in sustainability practices across industry, there is still room for improvement on making the transition from simply maximising revenue to operating sustainably.

“We are optimistic that our eminent panel with their diverse backgrounds will highlight areas to better direct us as to where SMI needs to be to solve future challenges for the industry,” Professor Moran said.

Media Contact: Tara Young 0408 159 805