New minerals research institute on the West Coast
A new research institute being established on the West Coast is expected to drive a “paradigm shift” in how New Zealand extracts value from minerals.
The Government has today announced funding of $11million over four years for the New Zealand Institute for Minerals to Materials Research which will find ways to revolutionise the way in which the country uses its mineral resources, which currently generate $3 billion per annum - $400 million of which comes from the West Coast.
“It will deliver a paradigm shift that will provide a significant opportunity for not only the West Coast, but the whole of New Zealand, to increase revenue from minerals,” says West Coast Economic Development Manager Kevin Stratful.
The new institute will investigate new means of cost and waste minimisation, including co-extraction of multiple minerals, and recovery of minerals from existing waste piles through the development of cost-effective separation and purification techniques.
It will be an independent organisation, owned by a trust and governed by a board, which will draw on the skills, experience and infrastructure of the mining, materials and manufacturing industries.
It is anticipated that, by 2027, the Institute will have 19 internal staff, 32 external researchers and 11 students located at the Tai Poutini Polytechnic in Greymouth.
Mr Stratful says before today’s announcement the Institute already had more than $800,000 in funding commitments from Development West Coast, Greymouth District Council, Minerals West Coast, Ngāi Tahu, Tai Poutini Polytechnic and the coal sector.
“This announcement of the Government’s significant support for the Institute is great news. While it is part of the overall Tai Poutini Economic Development Action Plan, I expect it will be a very positive development that will deliver benefits well beyond the West Coast.”