The University of Tasmania will collaborate with government and mining operators to help create a sustainable critical metal industry and boost education and training opportunities on Tasmania’s West Coast.
The ‘Environmentally Sustainable Production of Critical Metals’ project was awarded $3.5 million funding through the Federal Government’s Regional Research Collaboration program.
Critical metals are vital but scarce resources that society requires for modern technology, infrastructure, and the transition to a renewable energy future. They include tungsten, cobalt, nickel, rare earth elements, tin and magnesium.
“Australia is seeking to grow its capacity in critical metal resource extraction and production to help meet these needs domestically,” said Professor David Cooke, Director of the Centre for Ore Deposit and Earth Science (CODES).
“Tasmania can contribute significantly to this growth due to its unique geology, and the University is particularly well-positioned to facilitate environmentally sustainable development of critical metals production through our research expertise.
“This project aims to provide new methods and approaches to critical metal processing from existing mines, and from legacy mine wastes, leading to improved environmental outcomes.”
The University will collaborate with nine industry partners, as well as the Tasmanian Minerals, Manufacturing and Energy Council and Mineral Resources Tasmania, to achieve the following objectives:
- Facilitate environmentally sustainable critical metal production in Tasmania
- Grow the University’s research capacity and capability through skills development
- Improve student retention rates and grow the pool of job-ready graduates for the regions
- Create sustainable long-term research partnerships
The project supports nine PhD students and three postdoctoral researchers and will foster collaboration with world-leading researchers from the University of Queensland and University of Liege (Belgium).
It involves researchers from the University’s College of Sciences and Engineering and College of Arts, Law and Education.
(Pictured L-R): Marcus Mollison (Tasmania Mines Pty Ltd), Senator Bridget McKenzie (Federal Minister for Regional Education), Gavin Pearce MP (Member for Braddon), Professor Sharon Fraser, Professor David Cooke, Mr Greg Coster (Tasmania Mines Pty Ltd).