In June 2022, Amira Global launched a preliminary prospectus about tailings management.
The prospectus outlines a proposed pathway to achieving zero harm tailings by 2040.
Integral to achieving this goal is investment in research and development, and innovation – or what we call R&D+I.
What are the barriers to R&D+I?
Implementing R&D+I into industry requires investment, co-ordination on a global scale, and sustained support for research institutions by both governments and industry.
There are two main barriers preventing industry from achieving the best outcomes from the research and development, and innovation:
- Declining industry investment in research and development and innovation, and its implementation.
- Fragmented programs supporting individual researchers.
A decade of decline in R&D funding
Over the last decade, investment in research and development by the mining industry has been significantly slashed:
- Australian mining industry research and development investment levels are 20 percent lower than a decade ago, and is 9 percent of what it was two decades ago
- The USA and Canada have begun a similar trajectory of declining investment in R&D dropping 25 percent and 50 percent respectively over the last decade.
In contrast, Chinese mining industry doubled its efforts a decade ago and has sustained these irrespective of boom-bust cycles.
Chinese industry investment in R&D now outstrips the combined USA, Australian, Canadian, UK, and Chilean mining industry investments by at least one third.
Fragmented research and dissemination of knowledge and solutions
Added to the challenge of a shrinking pool of R&D funds is their increased fragmentation.
Knowledge is being gathered by companies working directly with research organisations (either individually or in limited scaled consortia).
The fragmentation is further exacerbated by distributions of R&D budgets to departments or operations within corporates.
Moreover, the fragmented support by industry of individual researchers in an environment of limited funding is creating increased competition between researchers and between institutions.
Such competition undermines the ability of knowledge to be accelerated to industry deployment and limits industry’s benefit from the research investments made.
Diminishing funds and continued declining enrolments in mining related degrees has also contributed to the cancelling of degree programs, the closing of academic departments and schools, and the under-resourcing of academic researchers.
This is limiting the pool of capability available to work in, and on, industry’s scientific and technological challenges.
Amira’s proposed pathway to impact
Amira is in the process of developing a comprehensive framework to enable more efficient use of and impact from its Member’s R&D+I investment.
This framework is supported by Amira’s established, trusted, and transparent governance and financial systems.
Core elements of the Amira framework are:
1. Aligned partnerships for efficient industry support: Global alliances and aligned partnerships to create a smooth, effective, and efficient support network for industry deployment of new technology, knowledge, data, and capability in the interests of industry impact.
2. Amira Knowledge Platform: Connecting decision makers, mining professionals, agencies, and researchers to the most up-to-date aggregated and verified information curated and validated by teams of leading experts and editors.
3. Defragmented R&D+I: Connect research development and innovation across the globe to limit duplication or stranded knowledge and to ensure the most efficient pathways for knowledge, capability, and technology for improved R&D+I efficiency and industry impact.
4. Increase return on R&D+I investment for industry: Leverage investment in R&D+I through collaboration and shared knowledge development, technology support, trialling testing, scaling and pre-commercialisation deployment to maximise exposure to R&D+I outcomes.
For more information, please view the Amira Collaboration on Tailings Preliminary Prospectus.