Three major Chinese companies have joined The University of Western Australia and 15 other Chinese and Australian science and industry partners to develop new international collaborative approaches to energy and mining research.


The partnership will include four leading Chinese universities, two Chinese Academy of Sciences' institutes, major Chinese coal miner and power generator Huainan Mining Corporation, coal and construction giant Yancon Group Co., Ltd., and Shenhua Corporation - the world's biggest coal producer.


They plan to work with UWA, six other Australian universities, CSIRO division, BHP Billiton Iron Ore Pty Ltd, low-emission energy developer Ceramic Fuel Cells Ltd, thermal processing and biomass technology company Ansac Pty Ltd, and Umwelt (Australia) Pty Limited, a highly regarded environmental consulting firm providing services to Australian and international mining industries.


About 20 UWA researchers will be involved in joint projects with Chinese scientists to develop better environmental protection and rehabilitation (including water-related issues) for mining, and improved distributed energy systems for mining industries and remote communities.


A recent meeting to discuss the establishment of a China-Australia Joint Centre and Alliance for Energy and Mining was attended by the Consul General of the People's Republic of China to Western Australia, Madam Wang Yiner and 14 visiting Chinese scientists and business leaders.


UWA's Acting Vice-Chancellor Professor Bill Louden said the collaboration between Australian and Chinese business and researchers would benefit science and technology, and long-term economic cooperation between the two countries.


The Director of UWA's Centre for Energy, Winthrop Professor Dongke Zhang FTSE, said the partners would be well placed to bid for funds from the newly-created $18 million Australia-China Science and Research Fund.


The five-year partnership will include exchanges of research staff and students, joint conferences and other academic activities, and sharing of research findings.