The first regional Chinese memorandum of understanding (MOU) between Chinese regional authorities and the Hunter Valley region of New South Wales was signed on Tuesday, September 1, at the Asia-Pacific’s International Mining Exhibition (AIMEX) in Sydney, further consolidating mining sector trade.

The agreement is the result of Hunternet’s ongoing work to boost trade and collaboration with the Chinese city of Tai’an, helped by a grant from Austrade.

Hunternet CEO Tony Cade says that it supports the plan of Federal Trade and Investment Minister Andrew Robb to pursue opportunities created by the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA). “The Hunternet/CCPIT MOU will go a long way to foster opportunities for local Hunter businesses, which is in line with the Government’s goal to harness commercial opportunities in Asia for small to medium sized Australian businesses.

“Thanks to the support received from Austrade we signed two separate MOUs with Chinese industry bodies and agencies in 2014, and these have resulted in at least one multi-million dollar win to a local Hunter business. We have several more opportunities in the pipeline that are leading towards new products and patents of significant value.”

This latest MOU has been signed by Zhang Bin, vice president of China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT) Tai’an Branch and vice chairman of China Chamber of Commerce, Tai’an Chamber, and Tony Cade.

REEDMININGEVENTS director Robby Clark congratulated Austrade and Hunternet on reaching the historic agreement. “The reputation for Australia's mining industry is such that our trading partners continue to see value in innovation, knowledge and expertise, and AIMEX is the ideal venue to network, exchange ideas and form new alliances,” he said.

Mr Zhang said Australian suppliers had a very impressive reputation on the international market and that Australian technology was at cutting edge around the world, in part because of the continued support of Australian universities and scientific institutions to drive innovation in mining equipment technology as well as the ongoing establishment of co-operative agreements between the Australian and Chinese governments.

”There are plenty of patents and new technologies under development in Australia, and Australian suppliers have significant experience,” he said. “We really hope we can bring Australian companies and new technology into China, as well as introducing complementary companies and technologies into Australia to promote cooperation in mining equipment and other hi-tech areas between us. Today's MOU with Hunter Alliance is a good start towards more collaborative projects in the future.”

In terms of newly available technologies, Dr Zhang said that energy conservation and innovation in mining equipment were making the deepest impression on him at present. By way of example, he cited a joint agreement to develop an experimental rail conveyor, developed in the Hunter by Associate Professor Craig Wheeler from The University of Newcastle in association with Tunra Bulk Solids. The conveyor potentially offers up to 50% energy savings as well as improves the transmission distance by up to twice the distance of traditional conveyors.

Digital equipment, environmental and green technologies are products also of particular interest. “The equipment manufacturing industry is one of the pillar industries in Tai’an, so I am particularly interested to meet companies interested in pursuing opportunities to manufacture high-end equipment, digital and ‘intelligent’ equipment, as well as products around environmental protection technology, green energy-saving technology and equipment,” he said.

Mr Zhang’s will also visit the Hunter district to see a range of companies as well as to the University of New South Wales, and the University of Newcastle on behalf of CCPIT’s 500 member companies.

AIMEX is showcasing a range of the newest innovations and cost-saving technologies to come to the mining industry at the Sydney Showgrounds, and will remain open until September 4.