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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.

Dr Rob Hough, Director CSIRO Mineral Resources ©  Ian Dickson

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 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.

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