Go back

How to boost Australia’s declining mineral exploration

Better networking and more technology transfer are among the answers to Australia’s decline in mineral exploration, according to a group of science leaders convened by the Australian Academy of Science.

In a report, Uncover: Searching the deep earth, published on 8 August, the group proposes establishing a collaborative geoscience researcher network ”focused on the genesis, distribution and discovery of the nation’s mineral wealth.”

The network would include Geoscience Australia, CSIRO, industry representatives, cooperative research centres, universities, state geological surveys, and geophysical survey and software development companies.

More collaboration will lead to higher-impact science as a result of attaining the critical mass achieved through bringing together multidisciplinary skills, the report’s authors argue.

A key element of the proposed network, they say, is to offer mechanisms for “rapid technology transfer between and within industry, government surveys and academia.” This is the only way in which research results can reach their full impact. Industry must be continually informed of outcomes in order to “effectively implement them in exploration practice.”

The report suggests creating exploration teams of researchers, from postdoctoral to senior, that will boost understanding of commercial implications of research and help scientists to learn about industry needs.

“At the same time, exploration industry personnel will be placed in research teams to participate both in the research being developed, and to attain knowledge of how to apply the research findings”, the report states.