UNSW mine safety research receives federal funding

Underground Grader

A researcher from the University of New South Wales (UNSW) has received funding from the Australian Research Council to enhance mining safety by maximising gas capture during coal extraction.

Guangyao Si is one of six UNSW researchers to receive funding as part of 67 new research projects awarded through the scheme.

Si receive $298,389 in the latest round of the Australian Research Council’s (ARC) Linkage Project Grants to advance the study.

Coal mine methane is a serious mining hazard and creates greenhouse gas emissions.

In this project, gas explosion and spontaneous combustion risks associated with intensive gas drainage will be quantitively assessed and eliminated to help mine managers with decision making, design optimisation and mitigation planning.

It’s hoped the research will help the mining industry maintain production commitments in a safe workplace, while also addressing environmental concerns by capturing the fugitive emissions to be converted into a useful energy resource.

ARC chief executive officer Professor Sue Thomas welcomed the announcement of the new research projects totalling $31.7 million through this round of the scheme.

Thomas said collaboration for quality research and development was fundamental to transforming industries, building communities and strengthening the Australian economy,

“The Linkage Projects scheme is about encouraging collaboration between researchers, industries and communities to find solutions to real, everyday challenges and issues,” Thomas said.

“It’s about bringing together the scientists in our research institutions with those who can apply the outcomes of research to create meaningful outcomes that benefit the Australian community.”

Minister for Education and Youth Alan Tudge said the projects would keep Australia at the forefront of emerging technologies and have real-world benefits for Australians.

“Importantly these projects will leverage the financial and intellectual backing of some of the world’s top companies, meaning the findings can be translated into practical solutions,” Tudge said.

“It further demonstrates our commitment to university research in Australia and is an important part of our research commercialisation agenda.

“I would love to see many of these projects culminate in world-first breakthroughs or new products that change the way we live, work and communicate.”

UNSW deputy vice chancellor Professor Nicholas Fisk congratulated the University’s researchers on their success.

“These six are major awards, with a total cash and in-kind investment across the partners of over $11 million,” he said.

“We are most proud of the ability of our academics across both STEM and HASS to partner with a range of business, industry and community organisations to deliver future-thinking solutions to big picture problems.”


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