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Mine Australia Magazine: Issue 7 | March 2015

Mining automation has come a long way since Rio Tinto launched its Mine of the Future programme in 2008. Now the technology partnership with Sydney University, which has already delivered driverless trucks and autonomous drills among other innovations, has been extended for another five years. We review the project’s achievements so far and ask what’s in store for the next phase.

We also find out how the South Australian Government is trying to attract business and give struggling junior explorers a boost with a range of new investments and initiatives, including the publication of geo-scientific data for promising deposits, and catch up with Western Australia’s Department of Mines and Petroleum to learn what the Mining Rehabilitation Fund has achieved in its first two years.

Moreover, we chart a timeline of key developments in the troubled relationship between miners and Aboriginal communities to find out whether the situation has improved in recent decades and take a look at the effects of fly-in, fly-out lifestyles on the wellbeing and mental health of workers.

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In this issue

A Model for Growth?
The South Australian Government has put in a slew of initiatives to kick-start its struggling exploration sector, but is it doing enough? Elly Earls reports on initiatives and investments.
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Age of the Machines
Rio Tinto and Sydney University are extending their partnership, which has already delivered autonomous drills and driverless trains, for five more years. Adam Leach finds out what’s next for automation and the Mine of the Future project.
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Covering the Cost
The Western Australian Department of Mines and Petroleum has returned more than $1bn in bonds to mining operators following the implementation of the Mining Rehabilitation Fund in 2012. Julian Turner finds out more about the purpose and benefits of the fund.
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Sharing the Land
A Western Australian politician has proposed using mining royalties to save around 150 remote indigenous communities. As the proposal is considered, Heidi Vella-Starr charts the history of the chequered relationship between miners and Aboriginal land owners.
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A Heavy Toll
Fly-in, fly-out work schedules dominate the mining industry but can exact a heavy toll on relationships and families. Julian Turner catches up with the parliamentary inquiry into the mental health impacts.
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