CSIRO signs international coal research agreement in Japan



Coal being mined in Australia
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A three-way coal research and development Joint Statement was signed in Tokyo on Wednesday, September 5.

The three signatories were the Japan Coal Energy Centre (JCOAL); Australian Coal Research Ltd (ACR), a company established by the Australian coal industry to manage the activities of the Australian Coal Association Research Program (ACARP); and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO).

The purpose of the Joint Statement is to establish understanding about the principles and guidelines to be followed by the three parties in developing their relationship and in discussing and establishing future collaborative research projects in the development of coal-related technologies.

CSIRO Exploration & Mining Deputy Chief Greg Rowan was signatory for the CSIRO and said he was delighted the historic signing will support closer collaboration between the coal mining industry and industry researchers in Australia and Japan.

"Improving our relationship and sharing research priorities will lead directly to a deepening of capabilities in coal production technology, mine safety technology and coal utilisation technology, Mr Rowan said.

The signatories to the Joint Statement have agreed to a number of specific activities.

They have agreed to coordinate research and development and pool the scientific and technical results; work together in the operation of special research or pilot facilities; and share information through meetings, workshops, seminars and the exchange of researchers.

The Joint Statement builds on a number of previous agreements. The Enhanced Framework for Energy and Minerals Cooperation between Australia and Japan was signed in 2003 between the Agency for Natural Resources and Energy, Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan and the Department of Industry, Tourism and Resources of Australia. It was followed by the Aichi Coal R&D Joint Statement signed between CSIRO and JCOAL in 2005.

This new Enhanced Aichi Coal R&D Joint Statement brings ACARP into the relationship. ACARP's mission is to research, develop and demonstrate technologies that lead to the safe, sustainable production and utilisation of coal.

Mr Rowan said he felt there was enormous synergy between the signatories, JCOAL, ACARP and CSIRO.

"We now have coal research bodies and mining industry stakeholders in both Japan and Australia working together towards commonly agreed goals," he said. "That is an outstanding result and one that is sure to result in major benefits to both countries."

Mr Rowan is based at the Queensland Centre for Advanced Technologies in Brisbane.

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