The Queensland Resources Council has welcomed progress in setting up the Mackay Resources Centre of Excellence, with construction set to start early next year.
QRC chief executive Ian Macfarlane said the State Government’s commitment of $3.6 million for the centre was a commitment in confidence in the sector, its development and adoption of cutting-edge technology as well as acknowledging the industry’s contribution to jobs, exports and the broader economy.
“The resources sector contributes more than $1 billion in wages alone to the Mackay region,” he said.
“Due to the strengthening of the mining sector, Mackay has the lowest unemployment rate in Queensland at 3.8 per cent and there are currently more than 500 jobs advertised on-line in the mining, resources and energy sector in the Mackay region.”
The centre will include an underground coal mine simulator which will be available for testing, demonstrating and filming new equipment and products operating in confined spaces.
It will also enable new emergency response procedures to be practised and refined, and will allow tourists to experience what it is like working in an underground coal mine.
State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning Minister Cameron Dick said the government funding delivered on the Premier’s election commitment to increase opportunities for apprentices and drive research and innovation in the region’s rebounding mining sector.
“The Mackay Resources Centre of Excellence will be a one-of-a-kind facility in Queensland that will tap into local expertise to provide training and education, biomedical research, product innovation and demonstration, as well as having tourism potential,” he said.
The centre will be delivered by Mackay Regional Council in partnership with the Resource Industry Network, with operational involvement from tertiary education providers.
Mr Dick said the Department of State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning would continue to work with stakeholders to finalise the location of the centre, with the goal of construction starting early 2019.