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December 2023

A critical time for transition

LEADER'S COMMENT: The crucial role of Australia's minerals for national benefit and global goals

Head and shoulders of man with short hair, Rob Hough
Dr Rob Hough, Director CSIRO Mineral Resources

This year has brought into sharper focus the value of Australia’s resources sector, to our economy and our daily lives, and the central role of minerals and mining to enable transformational change as the world seeks to electrify and decarbonise. As COP28 draws to a close this week, we again witness a global community meeting to negotiate pathways towards reducing emissions and net zero goals, to fast-tracking a global energy transition, and mitigating impacts of a changing climate in an inclusive and equitable way to minimise global warming.

We know mineral resources and mining are crucial in us achieving these transformational changes, playing a pivotal role on the global stage. From the many top class presentations at the World Mining Congress in June, we heard how the race for the often described ‘critical’ or ‘energy’ minerals is being prioritised by the international mining community and governments. Scientists from across the world are exploring how our research can meet the challenge before us. Speakers at the event and at recent International Energy Agency (IEA) summits, have clearly articulated the pivotal role of mining to be able to reach net zero targets, noting we will need to discover, develop and bring on stream sustainably, many new high quality copper, lithium, nickel, graphite and cobalt mines to meet the future demand for minerals crucial to renewable energy and electrified technologies.

Time is perhaps the greatest challenge. As we understand this urgency to transform we also realise the need for speed.

As Australia’s national science agency, we play a vital role in supporting innovation for Australia’s exploration and mining industry for national benefit, including through growth of the METS sector and broader SME engagement that can bring solutions to market. Throughout the year we have shared stories about our unique, multidisciplinary workforce, and our powerful partnerships with AuScope  and industry, including a recent announcement with Tivan to develop novel vanadium processing technology.

We have also shared a suite of new tools and knowledge to discover and unlock Australia’s resources. These include MyLogger for analysing hyperspectral data, fluid flow modelling in sedimentary basin, velocity modelling of the Australian crust, and new platforms to understand inference data.

I would like to take the opportunity to congratulate CSIRO’s Dr Suneeti Purohit who was recently recognised at COP28 as the winner of the Mission Innovation Net-Zero Industries Young Talent Award for her outstanding contributions to industrial decarbonisation on the global stage, and to Portable PPB Pty Ltd who was recently named 2023 WA Innovator of the Year for their portable gold detector which uses DetectORE™ technology initially developed by CSIRO.

In the year ahead, we’ll continue our hard work with you to solve the greatest challenges facing Australia’s resources sector through innovative science and technology. We look forward to sharing with you more technology updates, thought-provoking expert commentary and science insights through Resourceful. Thanks for reading and see you in 2024.

- Director, CSIRO Mineral Resources, DR ROB HOUGH

World Mining Congress

World Mining Congress catalyses collaboration for global decarbonisation

A meeting of the international mining community embraces the call for critical minerals to bring about transformational change to lower emissions, supercharge renewables and electrified technologies and create a sustainable resources industry, writes KEIRISSA LAWSON

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How AuScope and CSIRO power the geoscience community

A long-standing government-funded partnership makes a wide array of tools, data and technical infrastructure available to support innovative geoscience research and mineral exploration. JANE NICHOLLS reports

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Upcoming event


Discovery Innovations for Minerals Exploration seminar day

Join us in Perth on 8 February 2024 to hear our latest research on new and innovative disruptive technologies for cost-effective mineral discovery rates and better ore body delineation.


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