Science and Innovation Minister Paul Goldsmith today announced a new Regional Research Institute based in Greymouth that will use innovative research and manufacturing techniques to unlock the potential of New Zealand’s minerals resources.

The New Zealand Institute for Minerals to Materials Research led by industry organisation Minerals West Coast Trust, is the third successful proposal under the Government’s initiative to establish new Regional Research Institutes.

“Mining is and will continue to be an important part of the West Coast’s economy, its history, and its DNA,” Mr Goldsmith says.

“The new institute’s strategic vision is to reposition this traditional sector using innovation to convert minerals into higher-value products which will begin a new chapter in the history of the West Coast.”

The Government will provide funding of $11 million over four years for the new institute. With additional funding from industry, it will operate as a private, independently governed organisation.

The institute will explore three research areas initially, including purifying rare earth elements for use in magnets and lasers, extracting tungsten from gold mining waste and developing a carbon foam pilot plant.

“This research has the potential for significant commercial outcomes and economic benefits for the West Coast region including jobs, new infrastructure and export revenue,” Mr Goldsmith says.

“The institute will bring together players from the minerals and materials sectors, an economic development agency, Ngāi Tahu, and research organisations. All of which demonstrates a strong, cohesive collaboration with significant support from the wider community and iwi.

“I look forward to seeing the institute get started and what innovations it can produce for the benefit of the Coast,” Mr Goldsmith says.

The announcement of the new institute through the Regional Research Institute initiative comes as the West Coast launches its Tai Poutini West Coast Economic Development Action Plan. The West Coast was included in the Government’s Regional Growth Programme in November 2015. The programme aims to increase jobs, income and investment in regional New Zealand. More information can be found on the MBIE website, HERE.

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