Mitsubishi Invests In Queensland Skills

Mitsubishi Development (MD) and the University of Queensland (UQ) have joined forces to create a new digital technologies curriculum for mining engineering students, in a move that has been welcomed by both the state government and the resources sector.
MD will invest A$750 000 over the next three years to expand technology education in mining engineering at UQ.
“This partnership will see future mining engineering graduates excel in fields like automation, data analytics and robotics,” said Resources Minister Scott Stewart.
“The resources sector is transforming, as the resources market transforms. We must continue to invest in our people and their skills and knowledge, as Mitsubishi and UQ are doing with this latest initiative.”
The Future Mining Systems Initiative director appointed at UQ will develop and implement new curriculum focusing on digital technologies, integrated with UQ’s mining engineering offerings. The partnership will also facilitate UQ’s engagement with secondary school students.
Mitsubishi Development CEO Sadahiko Haneji explained that not only was the demand for skilled mining engineers increasing year on year, but also the traditional curriculum needed to fundamentally change along with the evolution of technology.
“Currently, there are too few graduating mining engineering students to meet industry demand,” Haneji said.
“When we learned that mining engineering students currently make up only 2% to 5% of the wider engineering enrolments at UQ, we knew that something different was needed in addition to typical scholarships and research grants.
“Now, more than ever, our industry is trying to identify revolutionary ways to adapt to the age of digital transformation and decarbonisation. MDP is excited to partner with UQ, which is well-positioned to address these challenges as a top global university in the mining engineering field.”
UQ Vice-Chancellor and president, Professor Deborah Terry, said this initiative aimed to address the sector’s demand for highly skilled workers with a broad skillset, and an innovative mindset.
“We know that mining engineering students will still need the knowledge they gain from the traditional curriculum for the industry of the future,” Terry explained.
“But they will also require additional elements, and it is not sufficient to simply add more content to the degree.”
This agreement follows the implementation of a new programme and course structure by UQ’s Faculty of Engineering, Architecture and Information Technology, allowing students to major in mining engineering while pursuing a specialisation in civil, mechanical, or mechatronic engineering.
The Queensland Resources Council (QRC) has welcomed the three-year initiative, with CEO Ian Macfarlane saying the state’s resources industry urgently needed more mining engineers now and into the future to support continued strong growth across the sector.
Macfarlane said the partnership between MDP and UQ was a game-changer for Queensland’s A$82.6-billion resources sector, and would create new pathways to attract the state’s brightest young minds to work in the resources sector.
“Queensland has the potential to become a global energy and resources superpower, but we need highly skilled people coming through our universities to add their technical expertise, new ideas and leadership to our workforce,” he said.
“One thing is for sure, students who study mining engineering will be almost guaranteed a job. Based on the QRC’s latest ‘State of the Sector’ report, the number one concern of mining CEOs right now is how to recruit more skilled workers to fill positions across our sector.”
Macfarlane said job opportunities in resources will continue to grow owing to increasing global demand for traditional resources such as coal, base metals and gas plus accelerating demand for new economy minerals such as cobalt, graphite, vanadium and rare earths, which are used to build everything from microchips to electric vehicles.
“There will be a growing and increasingly diverse pipeline of jobs for Queenslanders in resources, with a National Skills Commission report predicting employment in this area will rise by a further 8% to 2025,” he said.