What do you get when you cross one of the world’s top mining engineering universities with the world’s top copper-producing company? A mutually beneficial partnership, hopes The University of Queensland (UQ) and the National Copper Corporation of Chile (Codelco). The two entities have just finalized an agreement that will provide UQ students with internships, training, and research opportunities in copper-rich Chile.
UQ’s Sustainable Minerals Institute (SMI) and School of Mechanical and Mining Engineering have enjoyed a prior history of collaboration with Codelco, Chile’s state-owned mining company. SMI is the world’s leading research institute dedicated to finding solutions to the sustainability challenges of the minerals industry.
But this type of official agreement is the first of its kind. The new partnership will create internships for UQ undergraduate students, develop a young professionals program for Codelco, encourage joint research projects, provide English language training for Codelco staff, and promote the enrolment of Codelco staff into UQ’s Master degree programs.
Codelco produced 1.79 million metric tons of refined copper last year, or about 10 percent of the world’s copper production. The company will gain a knowledgeable asset through the new deal with UQ, according to Juan-Pablo Schaeffer, Codelco’s Corporate Affairs & Sustainability General Manager and UQ alumnus.
“The Codelco-UQ partnership offers us the opportunity to internationalize our company through a leading world-class research intensive university that is immersed in the mining industry. We also see UQ as a strong technical partner for our operations,” Schaeffer said.
Chile is the world’s leading copper producing country, and recent studies have shown that its copper reserves, which are the largest in the world, contain enough of the precious metal to sustain production for a period of between 90 to 200 years. The country has been recently ranked as the third best destination for mining investments, surpassed only by the United States and Canada.