Australia Africa Universities Network looks at mining research opportunities

The challenges faced by the mining industry in African countries can only be dealt with in a coordinated, structured approach with all stakeholders committed to finding solutions.

This was part of the message by Professor Ronny Webber-Youngman, Head of the Department of Mining Engineering at The University of Pretoria, to academics and representatives at the Australia Africa Universities Network (AAUN) Forum on Mining that was held in September 2013 in Pretoria, South Africa. 

AAUN is a consortium of Australian and African universities designed to:

  • Sustain Research and education collaboration and leadership across priority areas
  • Marshal Australian and African expertise to address challenges across the two continents
  • Enable Australia and Africa to work together creatively and innovatively to find new solutions to long-standing challenges.

The mining forum was aimed at establishing links between Australian and African mining research institutions and industry, as well as discussing mining research priorities on the continent. The Mining and Minerals theme of AAUN (linking with IM4DC) parallels other themes of: Food security (linking with the Australian International Food Security Centre); Public sector reform; Public health; and Education.

Panel discussions by industry experts were held with industry representatives from Anglo American SA, Sasol Ltd, Implats and Anglo American DeBeers.

In addition, each participating country discussed the country profile in terms of mining. The participating countries included Kenya, Ghana, Zambia, South Africa, Mauritius, Tanzania and Australia. 

Representatives from The University of Pretoria, The University of Ibadan in Nigeria, The University of Cape Town and The University of Mauritius participated. 

The Australian delegation in attendance at the forum consisted of AAUN Co-Chairperson and Deputy-Vice Chancellor (Internationl), Professor John Hearn from The University of Sydney, members of Murdoch University, and IM4DC Deputy Director Operations and Business Development, Richard Slattery.

The Australian High Commissioner, Graeme Wilson, was the keynote speaker at the forum dinner.