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:: Independent Review: The Parker Centre is the World’s Leading Hydrometallurgy Research Provider
The recent CRC Program Third Year Review of the Parker CRC for Integrated Hydrometallurgy Solutions’ performance strongly endorsed the Centre’s work for the global minerals industry.
The Review Panel’s report concluded that the Parker Centre continues to be the world leader in hydrometallurgical research, and has established its strategic importance to the Australian economy through its value adding to the minerals sector.
The report also noted that “the Centre represents a knowledge and skills repository for an industry of critical importance to the nation."
In the current environment, the reviewers said, “the Parker Centre provides a source of technical stability and a memory bank for the technology essential if Australian companies are to be well-positioned to take advantage of the future economic turnaround."
The Parker CRC for Integrated Hydrometallurgy Solutions is the current and third incarnation of the Parker Centre, which first opened its doors for business in 1992. The Centre is supported by the Australian Federal Government’s Cooperative Research Centres (CRC) Program.
The Centre generates research outputs that maximise returns from hydrometallurgical processing of mineral resources and reduce environmental impacts of hydrometallurgical processes.
The Centre undertakes fundamental and applied research on behalf of the minerals industry (the alumina, gold and base metals market sectors), at laboratory and pilot scales and at operating sites around the world.
The Parker Centre operates as a multi-million-dollar collaborative joint venture between four Core Research Participants (CSIRO Minerals, Curtin University of Technology, Murdoch University and the University of Queensland), eight Core Industry Participants from the minerals industry and 12 Supporting Participants.
“The Panel was particularly impressed by the level of collaboration within the Centre crossing traditional CSIRO/academic/industry boundaries," said the Third Year Review Report.
The Centre’s client list extends way beyond its 18 Industry Participants, with 107 companies investing a total of A$5.1 million in the Centre’s activities in 2007-2008. “The world leadership of the Parker Centre is demonstrated by its ability to attract both Australian and international clients ranging from major multinational companies to SMEs," said the Review Panel.
The outputs of the Centre’s work have been applied widely throughout Australia and overseas, and have delivered considerable benefits to industry. The reviewers said the evidence is overwhelming that the Parker Centre supplies economic benefit to the end-user Participants and provides substantial economic benefit for Australia.
The Parker Centre’s Education Program works to build capacity - people and skills - for the minerals industry. One avenue is continuing education for industry and researchers. “There is clear demand for the Centre's knowledge both via technical conferences and professional development courses," the Review Panel said.
Another avenue is student training. The reviewers observed that “the Centre has been able to attract high quality research students into the organisation”. The Centre’s postgraduate students graduate as industry-oriented graduates with training in hydrometallurgy research, and the majority go on to work in hydrometallurgy and related metallurgy positions in the global minerals industry.
The reviewers’ report also stressed that “The Panel is greatly concerned that the Centre’s future funding be assured”, and included three recommendations to further improve the Centre’s performance.
The independent Review Panel comprised:
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