Education minister Dan Tehan on Tuesday revealed the government will be putting $7.67 million towards two new mining research centres to develop data science skills in the sector.
One hub will be established at the University of Sydney, and the other at the University of Adelaide, in collaboration with commercial partners.
The Sydney centre, which gets $4 million of the funding, will focus on data analytics related to the long-term impact of resource use on Australia’s economy, society and environment, aiming to improve resource industries’ use the quality of evidence-based decisions when using natural resources.
It will also examine ecological issues in the mining sector, including water storage and biodiversity loss.
The centre based in Adelaide will train future scientists and engineers in the use of advanced sensor equipment and data analytics, with the goal of increasing the certainty on product quality to maximise resource recovery.
University of Adelaide deputy vice-chancellor (research), Professor Mike Brooks, said the centre will deliver vital tools, training and “workforce needs” to help keep Australia as a prominent global figure in the resources sector, through the combination of its expertise in artificial intelligence and machine learning, advanced sensors, and data analytics.
Dr Michael Spence, vice-chancellor and principal at the University of Sydney, added that, for Australia to maintain its prime global position in the sector, “it’s important we invest in transformative technologies and collaborative research”.
"New approaches to data analysis will allow for an improved understanding of how the resource sector can mitigate risk and impact, while in turn preparing Australia’s resource economy for a long term approach to resources and mining."
Tehan said translational research will also be a key driver of jobs and productivity.
"When we get collaboration between research and industry right, the benefits are unambiguous."