The International Centre of Excellence in Chile aims to fundamentally improve the Productivity and Environmental Signatures of Chilean Mining Operations

The University of Queensland’s long and rich history of mining research and teaching is being exported to South America with the establishment of the International Centre of Excellence in Chile.


To fundamentally improve the Productivity and Environmental Signatures of Chilean Mining Operations




To create a new collaborative Global Mining Knowledge force in Chile that builds human capital, provides innovative research outcomes and realises effective technology transfer to Industry.

With a long and close association with the Chilean industry dating back 40 years, UQ’s Sustainable Minerals Institute’s research Centres have forged innovative strategies to increase the productivity, sustainability and safety of the industry in Chile.

In 2013, SMI and JKTech - SMI’s research commercialisation arm - applied to the Chilean Government’s “Attraction of International R&D Centres of Excellence for Competitiveness 2.0” to establish an International Centre of Excellence (SMI‐ICE‐Chile). This scheme is coordinated by the Chilean Government, through CORFO, and is part of their strategy to build Research and Development capability in Chile.

For this initiative, UQ partnered with the Universidad de Concepción (UdeC). UdeC has a strong capability in extractive metallurgy and these activities are delivered through UdeC’s Metallurgical Engineering department (DIMET) and Applied Economic Geology Institute (GEA). SMI has been working with UdeC since 2009, providing a range of undergraduate and postgraduate coursework degrees as well as continuing professional development for people from Chile. Our association with UdeC draws together our complementary strengths in research and technical capabilities.

For UQ the opportunity to establish an International Centre of Excellence signifies substantial progress in institution-wide efforts to collaborate more closely with Latin American communities, businesses and governments.

The aim to SMIICEChile is to establish an International Centre of Excellence in Chile that delivers demonstrable benefit to the Chilean people and its economy. The Centre will be at the forefront of innovative research and technology transfer to address several of the major challenges and competitive pressures faced by the Chilean Minerals sector. It will make significant and auditable improvements for its industry in the areas of productivity and environmental management and will build local capacity in both research and technology transfer.

By extending The University of Queensland’s (UQ) Sustainable Minerals Institute’s (SMI) business model from Australia, it will be selfsustaining and have grown significantly at the end of the eight-year ICE period. Through the involvement of JKTech, SMI’s technology transfer partner that has been operating in Chile since 2012, it will develop a new and dynamic approach to commercialisation and technology transfer.

The Centre will be established as a worldclass platform for the commercialisation of SMIICEChile research through implementation of a proven commercialisation model. This model will lead to significant financial and environmental benefits including:

  • A world-class platform for the commercialisation of research through implementation of a proven commercialisation model
  • A collaborative framework that serves as a model for good governance and deepens the productive relationship between university centres and private industry stakeholders
  • Significant, demonstrable outcomes from the research lines to the benefit of Chilean industry sponsors
  • A research, training and knowledge transfer model that encourages innovation within the Chilean mining sector.

With 98 new mining projects identified for 2007-2015 in Chile, and a commitment from CORFO to improve water resources, increase efficiency of energy resources, and train operating and professional personnel in the mining industry, SMI-ICE-Chile will provide the research, training and knowledge transfer model that encourages a culture of innovation and adds to the capacity in the Chilean Mining sector.

SMIICE-Chile will bring new skills, experience, expertise and networks into the Chilean innovation system. This is a priority area for industry where Chile has an opportunity to establish an international profile and world leadership position in the area of sustainable mining.

SMIICEChile will build upon extensive expertise that already exists in Chile in many areas of mining research and this collaboration and investment in industrydriven research has a very high potential for significant gains for the industry and therefore the economy. Its research will be at the forefront of developments within the mining sector and will lead to national and international recognition. It will also progressively attract an increasing number of highly skilled Chilean professionals, ensuring intellectual capital, which will not be lost overseas.



David MulliganProfessor David Mulligan
Executive Director of SMI-ICE-Chile
+56 2 2307 9712
+56 9 8724 2895 (Chile)
+61 409 619 583 (Australia)