It was fantastic to hear about Oz Minerals pledge to the wider industry this week in setting up an Australian based underground Innovation and Technology centre. This mirrors the format seen in Canada at the NORCAT test centre in Sudbury. The ability for Oz Minerals and the wider METS sector to trial, collaborate and test new ideas in a real life mining environment will be priceless for driving new ideas across the industry.
Here is what Oz Minerals announced:
“In partnership with the South Australian Government, OZ Minerals is proud to jointly sponsor the establishment of the Arkani Ngura Innovation and Technology Centre.
The Centre will be a unique sustainable, independently operating, not-for-profit, open access, globally significant underground innovation and technology centre, supporting the development and commercialisation of innovations and technology in the mining, space and other related sectors. The Centre will also support hands on training and development for existing and future mine workforces.
Located next to OZ Minerals’ Prominent Hill mine operations centre, the Arkani Ngura Innovation and Technology Centre will comprise a co-location working space, meeting/ collaboration rooms and kitchenette facilities that will be available to clients of the Centre. Access to the soon to be unused Ankata section of the Prominent Hill mine will also be available, to provide clients with a real life, underground environment for developing innovations across the mining, space and other related sectors.
The Centre will:
- be the ‘go-to’ place in Australia to trial and demonstrate emerging innovations and technologies in an underground setting for the resources, space and other related sectors
- be the ‘go-to’ place in Australia to provide hands-on experiential training opportunities for current and future underground mine workers
- provide opportunities for Aboriginal businesses in its operations and for Aboriginal employees across the mining, space and other related sectors, and
- support the sustainable growth of the Australian resources and METS sectors by providing a unique environment for research, development and commercialisation of technologies needed in the mining, space and other related sectors.
What’s next at the Arkani Ngura Innovation and Technology Centre
The Centre will be set up over the next three years supported by the SA Government and OZ Minerals, with aim of being fully self-sustaining by 2024. Detailed operational guidelines will be developed over the next 12 months in collaboration with our site workforce. Once in full operation, the Centre will seek 20 technology projects and demonstrations per year and an active training program with up to 200 students attending courses over a year.
If you’d like to find out more, please register your interest. “
The industry should really benefit from a focused hub that can deliver ongoing training, ideas sharing and collaboration. Oz Minerals continue to be at the very top of the innovation curve within the Australian underground sector and I will watch this project closely as it is matures.
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