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(L-R): UQ vice-chancellor and president Deborah Terry; MDP chief executive officer Sadahiko Haneji; UQ chancellor Peter N Varghese.

Mitsubishi Development (MDP) and the University of Queensland (UQ) have developed a digital technologies curriculum for mining engineering students, with $750,000 invested by MDP.

The funding will go towards a director who will develop a program that drives technological education for mining engineering, as part of a Future Mining Systems Initiative at UQ.

The goal is to bolster Australia’s supply of skilled mining professionals, with all corners of the mining and manufacturing industries affected by a skills shortage in this area.

Mitsubishi Development chief executive officer Sadahiko Haneji said there was no question about the need for initiatives like this.

“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 two to five per cent of the wider engineering enrolments at UQ, we knew that something different was needed in addition to typical scholarships and research grants.”

UQ has started a program which allows mining engineering students to specialise in civil, mechanical or mechatronic engineering.

While pathways like this are useful, UQ vice chancellor and president Deborah Terry said more was needed to ensure these students were prepared for what a future in mining really looked like.

“We know that mining engineering students will still need the knowledge they gain from the traditional curriculum for the industry of the future,” Terry said.

“But they will also require additional elements, and it is not sufficient to simply add more content to the degree.”

UQ executive dean of the faculty of engineering, architecture and IT Vicki Chen agreed MDP’s contribution to the UQ was highly important to the future of mining.

“When Mitsubishi Development approached us with the same concerns that we had when creating the new program, we were thrilled with the opportunity to partner with them for the benefit of the students, and the broader resources industry,” Chen said.

“This is a great example of positive engagement with industry to develop leaders of the future for the mining and resource industries. It also highlights the high level of technological innovation occurring in these industries.”

Resources Minister Scott Stewart said the future of mining was equally as important as the present.

“This is about Queensland’s future: future skills, future jobs, future resources investment across the state and growing our regional economies,” Stewart said.

“This partnership will see future mining engineering graduates excel in fields like automation, data analytics, and robotics.”

MDP has invested in the management and development of Australia’s mining sector for more than 50 years, with the BHP Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA) the cornerstone of this support.