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19 March 2018 2 min read

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Jonathan Law, Director of CSIRO Mineral Resources

What being Australia's innovation catalyst means for mineral resources

CSIRO strives to be Australia's catalyst for innovation. "Catalyst" is a powerful analogy for CSIRO as it implies a facilitating role within a broader landscape.

CSIRO's focus is not on science for its own sake, but for the impact it has on Australia and the globe. With collaboration as the cornerstone of success, we facilitate programs, partnerships and networks that lead to innovation to benefit the economy, environment and community.

This mission includes supporting a productive mineral resources industry as one of Australia's key areas of competitive advantage: your business, your impact in the world and your prosperity.

This edition of resourceful showcases our role as Australia's innovation catalyst for the mineral resources industry, by focusing on the range of different ways organisations can work with us – from solving today’s problems to strategic R&D programs to unlock future value.

Working with partners globally

One great example, is our work on a commodity flow database developed with several international partners for the United Nations Environment. The database is providing unique insights into global trends that drive markets and innovation, helping businesses and governments prepare for the future.

Back at home, the Australian continent is a minerals treasure chest with the contents largely hidden under barren sedimentary cover. To uncover this wealth, we've partnered with state and territory geological surveys to take advantage of new knowledge and tools to create opportunities for industry and attract investment into Australian exploration.

Also, critical to innovation and growth in Australia’s exploration sector are funding mechanisms for small and medium-sized companies. CSIRO expertise is widely deployed in minerals exploration programs through government-funded embedded researcher programs, ensuring that cutting edge science is right behind the drill bit.

Arrangements to suit different needs

As we work with a wide range of organisations, there is no "one-size-fits-all" approach: we deliver tailored solutions for challenges of all sizes.

Sometimes innovation is there to be picked off the shelf, and can be accessed through our scientific consulting services. For example, our world-leading expertise in electrical connections for electrowinning is providing energy and greenhouse gas savings for metal producers around the world.

In contrast, bigger challenges such as unlocking complex and low-grade resources need a long-term commitment in order to make a fundamental change. Our development of a new process technology for phosphate ores is one example of developing Australian technology IP around a key industry challenge to deliver to global markets.

Fostering national science capacity and expertise is also a long-term game – one which CSIRO is committed to. On behalf of the BHP Billiton Foundation, we are delivering a program to grow science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education and engagement with Indigenous Australians.

These examples show how we partner with a wide range of organisations – from multi-nationals to SMEs, government, research institutes, industry associations and universities.

Together, we can help your organisation succeed in new and better ways. We can help you increase competitiveness, reduce risk and expand markets, while driving the change Australia and the world needs.

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