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Conference to discuss opportunities for green mining

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The sixth International Symposium on Green Mining has kicked off in Wollongong today, with international researchers and engineers gathering  to discuss opportunities in the sector.

The event is a collaboration between the University of Wollongong and China University of Mining and Technology. 

Around 120 people from Australia, China, Japan, Poland and the US are expected to attend, with first discussions to be held this morning, The Illawarra Mercury reported.

It is the first time the event will be held outside of China.

Senior lecturer at UOW and event organiser Dr Ting Ren, said the mining sector could benefit from an increased focus on going green while increasing efficiency.

‘‘This is a forum for research scientists and engineers to put some of the best ideas together on how we can achieve the objectives of so-called green mining,’’ Ren said.

The forum will include talks on the latest in mining technology, new techniques for the extraction of gas from coal seams, water management, subsidence minimisation and automation.

‘‘Automation is probably the ultimate goal for any sort of mining operation,’’ Ren said.

‘‘Automation is being implemented in lots of underground and surface mines in Australia but to a certain level we are still developing and improving the technology. 

‘‘We are hoping in the next five or 10 years this technology will be more reliable and more intelligent.’’ 

Ren said the event highlighted the importance of the relationship between UOW and other institutions.

‘‘This is another milestone in promoting  collaboration,’’ he said. 

‘‘It is very likely that we will be able to bring some more industry support to the university and perhaps bring in some tourism or investment to the Illawarra.’’ 

Leading sustainability strategist Martin Blake told Australian Mining that the resources industry should focus on the benefit of energy efficiency rather than the impact of global warming if it's to succeed in driving sustainable initiatives. 

Blake said if businesses and policymakers "focused on the money" then green initiatives would have a greater likelihood of being adopted. 

Blake argues that instead of treating green and sustainable initiatives as moves to protect the environment, they should be looked at "the same way you would any other business decision". 

He says before complaining about the lack of commitment in the business world, the sustainability sector need to make sure its offerings are worth taking up. 

"Once you show the board of a company that there is more money to be made by energy reduction than there is as just business as usual, then of course they are compelled to do it, they can see the business case," Blake says.

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