Prof Zhengyi Jiang and Minister Alison Byrnes cutting ribbon
Distinguished Professor Zhengyi Jiang Member for Cunningham Alison Byrnes cut the ribbon to open the ARC Training Centre

ARC Training Centre for a more sustainable mining future launched at UOW

ARC Training Centre for a more sustainable mining future launched at UOW

Launch initiates five years of mining equipment and technology innovation exploration

On Thursday 12 October Federal Member for Cunningham Alison Byrnes officially launched the ARC Training Centre for Innovative Composites for the Future of Sustainable Mining Equipment at the University of Wollongong’s (UOW) Innovation Campus.

In Australia, the Mining Equipment, Technology, and Service (METS) industry is projected to contribute over $50 billion to the Australian economy and generate 80,000 new jobs by the year 2030. This transformation of the sector is geared towards enhancing efficiency, cost-effectiveness, innovation, sustainability, and digitalisation of operations, necessitating the development of safer machinery and equipment capable of functioning in deeper mines and challenging environments.

The Centre for Innovative Composites for the Future of Sustainable Mining Equipment, funded through a $5 million grant from the Australian Research Council (ARC), and with industry partners including Roobuck, Bisalloy Steels, SNS Unicorp, HBIS Group, Baosteel, Komatsu Australia, Top Iron, Australia L&Y Mine Equipment Manufacturing, will train and produce engineering graduates to be highly qualified professionals who will bring innovative solutions to the challenges facing the sector.

Alison Byrnes said, “The University of Wollongong’s 40 year contribution and excellence in research continues to grow both nationally and internationally, as it delivers research that translates new discoveries into social, economic, and environmental outcomes that have global impacts.

The University of Wollongong has been awarded more than $71 million in ARC funding in the last five years, with $20 million just this year alone.

The University is among the top 1% of universities worldwide, 14th among the world’s best modern universities, and is among the top 150 in the world for graduate employment rates.”

UOW Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Patricia M Davidson said she was proud that the research Centre had come to fruition.

“Research collaborations between academia and industry are the lifeblood of innovation and evolution, assisting us to address issues of importance across not only our immediate communities, but to the world,” Professor Davidson said.

Director of the new Centre, Distinguished Professor Zhengyi Jiang of UOW’s School of Mechanical, Materials, Mechatronic and Biomedical Engineering, said the Centre will support Australian industry to maintain its position as a world leading innovator in the sector.

"This Centre, through collaboration with industry, aims to enhance and optimise research and development procedures, establishing a robust nationwide infrastructure to cater to the requirements of the mining equipment manufacturing sector, fostering sustainability, and creating a safer mining environment," Professor Jiang said.

"The Centre is dedicated to bolstering the Australian industry's role as a global pioneer in the METS sector to train young professionals for manufacturing and mining industries."

The Centre’s research program will bring together industry and academia to focus on creating innovative steel composites and other materials. It will also give graduates the chance to learn by working in real industry settings, prompting fresh ideas for valuable technologies and products for the Australian METS sector.

Over the next five years the Centre will develop brand-new, innovative materials for mining equipment that can be used in extreme underground conditions with a goal to make mining more eco-friendly and improving worker conditions. It will create advanced ways to manufacture new mining equipment and smart mining technology which will make the Australian mining industry safer, more reliable and efficient.

The Centre will train the next generation of researchers in innovative approaches to manufacturing and mining, new steel composites, mining equipment, and sustainable mining practices and boost Australia's reputation worldwide within the industry and make the Australian mining industry more competitive internationally.