Prime Minister Julia Gillard has launched the Federal Government’s Mining for Development initiative aimed at assisting developing countries use their natural resources to improve their economies.


The initiative will draw on expertise from across government, industry and academia to assist over 30 developing countries in Africa, Asia-Pacific and Latin America develop their mining sectors.


“We want to make sure resource-rich developing countries use opportunities generated by mining to create much needed education and job opportunities for some of the world’s most vulnerable people,” Ms Gillard said.


“Well-governed mining, gas and petroleum sectors can not only help reduce poverty but also reduce a developing country’s dependency on aid.”


The centerpiece of the government’s initiative is the International Mining for Development Centre, which will be based in the University of Western Australia’s Energy and Mining Institute. The centre will operate in partnership with the University of Queensland’s Sustainable Minerals Institute.


Through this centre Australia will provide up to $31 million for practical advisory, education and training services to developing countries. 


“We expect this to include 1,870 training places in Australia and in developing countries and 24 research fellowships,” Ms Gillard said.


The centre is part of a broader mining for development initiative launched during CHOGM which will include: 


  • New funding of up to $29 million for short-course undergraduate and post graduate Australian Mining Awards scholarships.
  •  $20 million over four years to see Federal and State Government agencies to work more closely with their counterparts in developing countries to improve public sector capacity in mining regulation and administration.
  • $22 million to support select NGO's already active in social and environmentally sustainable activities in mining.

Further elements of the package will be announced in coming days.