Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard recently announced plans for an international mining center to “facilitate greater prosperity for developing nations.” The $31 million International Mining for Development Centre, funded by the federal government through AusAID, will provide practical advisory, education and training services to developing nations, most notably African, across mining-related issues.

Based at the University of Western Australia (UWA) in Perth, the center will support developing nations to establish and maintain sustainable mining sectors, improve governance and accountability in developing nations and strengthen economic outcomes through better industry governance, education and capacity building in developing nations. The University of Queensland (UQ) in Brisbane, Australia, would also support the effort.

The International Mining for Development Centre will reinforce Australia’s position at the forefront of best practice and innovative mining methods and technologies. UWA Vice Chancellor Professor Alan Robson and UQ Vice Chancellor Professor Paul Greenfield said the new center would broaden and deepen the existing collaborations in mining and energy education and research between the two leading national universities.

“The University of Queensland and The University of Western Australia are committed to delivering high quality education, training and research to developing nations,” Robson said. “We believe this initiative can contribute to lifting the quality of life in developing nations through more sustainable utilization of minerals and energy resources.”

“This is a far-sighted strategic investment of Australian aid and development funds,”

Greenfield said. “It is in our national interest and in the interests of people of resource-rich developing regions.”

The vice chancellors announced the center’s inaugural director would be Ian Satchwell, an executive with Australian services firms in mining, environment and economics, and recently a trade and investment adviser to the Government of Indonesia.