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CSIRO sets up mineral processing research centre in Chile

CSIRO’s Dr Neal Wai Poi (pictured alongside) will lead the development of a major new international mining and mineral processing research centre based in Santiago, Chile.

Developed by CSIRO in collaboration with the University of Chile and leading industry and research partners, the Chile International Centre of Excellence in Mining and Mineral Processing will tackle key challenges that both the Australian and Chilean mining industries face.

“Australia and Chile have many common current and future challenges that their mining industries need to address. These include processing lower-grade ores, improving water and energy efficiency in remote operations, and deeper open-cut and underground operations,” Wai Poi said.

“The Centre of Excellence will have extensive benefits for Australia, including creating new bilateral business opportunities for service companies, improving the efficiency and competitiveness of the industry and advancing scientific research.”

Wai Poi said the Centre will provide both countries with a unique opportunity to build a world-leading partnership. Collaboration to address these common challenges will be beneficial for both nations.

“The Centre will facilitate great benefits for Chile, allowing faster access to new and existing technologies in the mining sector, building new and improved technologies and strengthening local capacity to build the services sector through partnership with industry,” Wai Poi said.

Wai Poi brings with him a strong network of industry and research contacts in the international mining and mineral resources community and a wealth of knowledge in negotiating large-scale, multi-organisational and multi-national projects.

“I’m excited and honoured to take on this role as Director of CSIRO’s first international Centre of Excellence. I hope the Centre will confirm CSIRO’s reputation as a global leader in science, technology and innovation,” Wai Poi said.

Shortly after joining CSIRO in 2009 as a research leader, Wai Poi was appointed Acting Director of the Light Metals Flagship. Throughout his career he has successfully delivered international initiatives that have implemented advanced technologies in industry and science.

He previously worked with Corus Aluminium Voerde GmbH in Germany coordinating its involvement in several European Union projects (ALU-2000 and NOVEM), with Simonsen AS in Hong Kong and Australia, and with Rio Tinto Aluminium Technology in Australia.

The Centre of Excellence will be co-funded by the Chilean Government and is supported by CICITEM, the University of Antofogasto and leading industry partners including BHP Billiton Codelco, Anglo American Chile, Antofagasta Minerals and Xstrata Copper as well as local Australian companies.

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