Australia establishes new CRCs to tackle ‘future energy’ and mining economies

Australia establishes new CRCs to tackle ‘future energy’ and mining economies

The Australian Government has confirmed it will provide A$40 million ($25 million) for the establishment of the Future Energy Exports (FEnEx) CRC and A$29.5 million for the CRC for Transformations in Mining Economies (CRC TiME).

Minister for Industry, Science and Technology, Karen Andrews (pictured), and Minister for Resources, Northern Australia and Water, Keith Pitt, delivered the news this week.

Since 2013, the Australian Government has committed A$1.1 billion to support the establishment of 30 cooperative research councils, with industry and research partners contributing A$3.4 billion in cash and in-kind contributions, it said. Among a number of active CRCs are the MinEx CRC, aimed at lifting Australia’s mineral discovery rate, and CRC ORE, focused on optimising resource extraction.

Andrews said the FEnEx CRC would help Australia maintain its position as a leading global energy exporter. The bid has been substantially supported by the WA State Government, global energy giant Chevron, Hydrogen leader ITM Power and mining innovator Mineral Resources with research partners UWA, Curtin University, Queensland University of Technology, University of South Australia and Swinburne University, the FEnEx CRC said.

“The world’s demand for energy is insatiable and Australia is already dominant, with current energy exports worth nearly A$90 billion,” she said. “The FEnEx CRC will further strengthen our export industry by developing technologies to improve the efficiency of existing LNG processes and the development of new exports like hydrogen.

“Importantly, the FEnEx CRC will tap into international interest in lowering the cost of energy production, while at the same time reducing the carbon footprint of the LNG industry.

“This CRC’s research program promises to place Australia’s LNG sector well ahead of the curve by anticipating future changes in our energy mix, improving the competitiveness, productivity and sustainability of Australian industries.”

Minister Andrews said the CRC TiME, which has a national consortium led by The University of Queensland and University of Western Australia behind it, meanwhile, would help keep jobs in regional communities, building on the strength of the resources and energy sectors.

“Australia’s world-class mining expertise is undeniable, but being a global resources powerhouse means ensuring a sustainable future for our mining towns in rural and regional Australia,” she said.

Minister Pitt added: “The resources and energy sector is building new infrastructure across regional Australia and developing highly skilled and highly committed local workforces. This new CRC will provide the tools for towns and regions to navigate opportunities to create new jobs and development that keep communities strong.

“The government and the resources industry recognise more needs to be done to diversify the economy of some local communities, which are highly dependent on individual mining projects. The work of CRC TiME will help mining communities broaden their local economies so they can continue to grow and stay strong.”

The FEnEx CRC has generated a further A$122 million in cash and in-kind contributions from industry and researchers, while the CRC TiME has generated a further A$105 million in cash and in-kind contributions from industry and researchers.

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