The Hon Ian Macfarlane MP, Federal Minister for Industry, launched the National Resource Sciences Precinct (NRSP), a CSIRO, Curtin University and The University of Western Australia (UWA) collaboration aiming to advance global competitiveness for the Australian resources sector on 8 April 2014.


The NRSP is like a portal through which companies and government can readily connect with world-leading expertise and gain access to infrastructure to address their needs. It also aims to replace competition with collaboration between the partner organisations.

The inaugural Chair of the NRSP and the current Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Transfield Services, Mr Graeme Hunt, was introduced at the launch, boasting a strong minerals and energy background of almost 40 years.

“As the industry faces rising exploration costs and diminishing success rates, our dependence on innovative research and development has never been stronger,” Mr Hunt said.

“Instead of competing with one another for the same government or industry funding for research, the new alliance will work together to find opportunities for large-scale infrastructure projects developed in Perth and around Australia.

“I’m looking forward to working with CSIRO, Curtin and UWA, as not only do they have a strong history of working together, but collectively they host more than 400 FTE staff involved in resource sciences.

“With that extent of expertise pooled together, the opportunities for innovation are endless.”

Under the NRSP banner, the founding partners have already attracted nearly $17 million from the Science and Industry Endowment Fund (SIEF) for state-of-the-art minerals characterisation and Distal Footprint capability.

Recently, the NRSP’s Distal Footprints project was awarded a further $2.6 million in State Government funding to identify new methods of accurately predicting underground rock properties to help with mineral exploration.

By bringing together the best scientists within the partner organisations, the Distal Footprints project will deliver new data, interpretations, understanding and technologies to help discover mineral wealth in areas that have previously been difficult.

The Advanced Resources Characterisation Facility (ARCF) is also housed under the NRSP and includes three pieces of equipment, including the NanoSIMS probe, MAIA Mapper and Atom Probe, dedicated to helping researchers understand the properties of mineral and energy samples.

Mr Hunt said in his position as Chair, he would help the NRSP foster collaborations within the resources industry, attract the best scientists, mount infrastructure projects and link industry to research in an effective manner.

“Ultimately, it’s about getting the knowledge needed for tomorrow’s Australian resource industry, to help ensure its future success,” Mr Hunt said.

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Image: Professor Paul Johnson, Vice-Chancellor, The University of Western Australia, The Honourable Ian Macfarlane MP, Federal Minister for Industry, Professor Deborah Terry, Vice-Chancellor, Curtin University, The Honourable Bill Marmion MLA; State Minister for Mines and Petroleum, Dr Megan Clark, Chief Executive, CSIRO and Mr Graeme Hunt, Chair of the National Resource Sciences Precinct