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Keywords:

  • by-product synergy;
  • eco-industrial development;
  • industrial ecology;
  • industrial ecosystem;
  • resource industry;
  • utility synergy

Summary

The realization of regional synergies in industrial areas with intensive minerals processing provides a significant avenue toward sustainable resource processing. This article provides an overview of past and current synergy developments in two of Australia's major heavy industrial regions, Kwinana (Western Australia) and Gladstone (Queensland), and includes a comparative review and assessment of the drivers, barriers, and trigger events for regional synergies initiatives in both areas. Kwinana and Gladstone compare favorably with well-known international examples in terms of the current level and maturity of industry involvement and collaboration and the commitment to further explore regional resource synergies. Kwinana stands out with regard to the number, diversity, complexity, and maturity of existing synergies. Gladstone is remarkable with regard to unusually large geographic boundaries and high dominance of one industry sector. Many diverse regional synergy opportunities still appear to exist in both industrial regions (particularly in Kwinana), mostly in three broad areas: water, energy, and inorganic by-product reuse. To enhance the further development of new regional synergies, the Centre for Sustainable Resource Processing (CSRP), a joint initiative of Australian minerals processing companies, research providers, and government agencies, has undertaken several collaborative projects. These include research to facilitate the process of identifying and evaluating potential synergy opportunities and assistance for the industries with feasibility studies and implementation of selected synergy projects in both regions. The article also reports on the progress to date from this CSRP research.