CRC ORE and CSIRO join forces for sustainability of mining operations in Future Research Program

CRC ORE and Australia’s national science agency, CSIRO, have formed a Future Research Program to take CRC ORE’s most promising fields of research into new areas to broaden the impact on the Australian mining industry and economy

Crc ore
A sample of ore being prepared for mineralogical characterisation. Image: CRC ORE

This work will boost the sustainability of the mining industry by helping reduce energy and water consumption, generation of tailings and residues, the physical footprint of operations, as well as optimise the extraction of valuable minerals from resources.

The Future Research Program, launched in September 2021, will ensure that the work of CRC ORE and its research legacy continues to benefit the Australian mining industry.

The program will expand upon CRC ORE’s foundation research into the development of ore preconcentration technologies that can be deployed within the mine and ahead of the mineral processing plant. The new research scope will investigate ways to apply these principles further down the mining value chain, targeting smaller particle sizes and a wider range of ore types.

Focus areas will include:

  • Incorporating the principles of Selective Breakage into the design and operation of comminution circuits
  • Optimising ore feed to coarse and fine particle separators to enhance their performance
  • Step change reductions in energy and water intensity
  • Developing new options for sustainable management of waste material

CRC ORE’s former General Manager of Research and Innovation Paul Revell, who is now overseeing the program at CSIRO, said if successful, the research will increase the number of potential locations where preconcentration can be deployed, providing a larger overall impact for the minerals industry.

The program is initially small-scale and aims to undertake preliminary research into these areas that others could then build upon.

The program will be run for an initial three years with the possibility for extension through continuing industry sponsorship and collaboration.

“We will explore opportunities to engage with the mining industry to build a self-sustaining and on-going applied research portfolio in this field to advance promising developments to commercialisation,” Mr Revell said.

“We are fortunate to have CSIRO as a research partner who are supportive, share this vision, and have a depth of research capability and excellent facilities.”

The program will also support CRC ORE’s mission to help build a highly skilled workforce for the nation amid an ongoing skills shortage in the resources sector.

It will initially support a number of Research Higher Degree scholarships, which will be fully funded and placed across several selected Australian universities.

CRC ORE is a cooperative research centre, established in 2010, to focus on Optimising Resource Extraction and delivering value to Australia by improving mine productivity, commercial return, and environmental outcomes. For the duration of its funding term, CRC ORE made significant progress in rapidly developing and integrating technology from concept to implementation.

CRC ORE used innovative methodologies to develop new technology, or repurpose existing technology, often from outside the mining industry, to significantly reduce the time from prototype to production scale application. On 30 June 2021, CRC ORE reached the end of its Federal Government funded term and allocated its remaining resources to establish a Future Research Program in collaboration with CSIRO.

To read more about CRC Ore, go to their website here.

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