Our Team

Carl Spandler

Director

Associate Professor Carl Spandler, School of Physical Sciences

A recognised leading researcher in critical minerals geoscience in Australia, Carl has a background in both basic and industry focussed research, and a solid record of research funding from the ARC, industry and government. 

He was appointed in 2020 under The Univesity of Adelaide’s Top Talent Program to develop and grow research initiatives in critical minerals science. The program, which is part of the university’s strategic plan ‘Future Making’, is designed to attract new high-performing, world-leading researchers across a range of areas to Adelaide. Before this, Carl was co-director of the Economic Geology Research Centre at James Cook University. 

Carl’s roles as Centre Director will include leadership, day-to-day management, and regular reporting to IMER and the Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Vice-President (Research).
 

Nigel Cook

Deputy Director

Professor Nigel Cook, School of Civil, Environmental and Mining Engineering

Nigel has a substantial record delivering industry-ready research that spans the geochemistry-mineralogy-processing nexus. He specialises in complex ore deposits and has secured multiple millions of dollars in research funding to investigate the mineralogy of complex ores.

He is director of the ARC Research Hub for Australian Copper-Uranium and the PRIF industry consortium Unlocking Complex Resources Through Lean Processing.

Nigel’s role as Centre Deputy Director will be to help develop and execute the centre’s research programs.

Together, Nigel and Carl have published the majority of papers on Australian rare earth element ore systems.

Researchers

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  • Chemical Engineering and Advanced Materials

    Researcher Expertise Programs
    Dr Cristiana Ciobanu 
    • Iron-oxide mineralogy
    • Genesis of ore deposits
    • Developing new mineral geochronometers
    • Rocks and minerals at the nanoscale using transmission electron microscopy
    • Mineralogy
    Professor Nigel Cook,
    Deputy Director, Australian Critical Minerals Research Centre
    • Research at the geochemistry-mineralogy-minerals processing nexus
    • Sulphide mineralogy
    • Uranium mineralogy and geochemistry
    • Ore characterisation
    • Mineralogy
    • Processing and recovery
    Adjunct Professor Kathy Ehrig,
    also Metallurgy Superintendent at BHP Olympic Dam
    • Discovery of metalliferous ore deposits 
    • Geometallurgy 
    • Sustainable productivity improvement in producing marketable metals
    • Identifying new revenue metals (e.g. green technology critical metals)
    • Mineralogy
    Professor Volker Hessel
    • Chemical engineering design
    • Manufacturing processes and technologies
    • In situ resource utilisation (ISRU)
    • Space chemical processes and manufacturing
    • Processing and recovery
    Associate Professor Yung Ngothai,
    Deputy Head of School of Chemical Engineering and Advanced Materials
    • Mineral science and minerals processing
    • Recovery of valuable minerals and metals from brines
    • Nanotechnology and materials engineering
    • Processing and recovery
    Professor Allan Pring
    • Mineralogical research on minerals, particularly sulfide minerals 
    • Mineral formation by hydrothermal processes
    • Neutron and x-ray diffraction
    • Mineralogy
    • Processing and recovery

     

  • Physical Sciences

    Researcher Expertise Programs
    Professor Alan Collins
    • Palaeomagnetism
    • Structural geology
    • Geochronology 
    • Sedimentology
    • Discovery
    Professor Martin Hand
    • Metamorphic petrology
    • Ore deposit formation
    • Geochemical exploration
    • Economic geology
    • Crustal heat production
    • Tectonics
    • Discovery
    • Mineralogy
    Dr Juraj Farkas
    • Biogeochemistry
    • Non-traditional isotopes
    • Stable isotope systems of alkaline earth metals
    • Discovery
    Associate Professor Stijn Glorie
    • Multi-method thermochronology (including U/Pb, Ar/Ar, fission track, U-Th-Sm/He analysis)
    • Determining constraints on the timing of the formation of continents, mountain building, and burial in adjacent sedimentary basins
    • Discovery
    • Mineralogy
    Associate Professor Tony Hooker,
    Director Centre for Radiation Research, Education and Innovation
    • Radioactivity and matter
    • Radiation safety and protection
    • Radiation detection, gamma spectroscopy, alpha scintillation
    • Processing and recovery
    Associate Professor Rosalind King,
    Head of Department of Earth Sciences
    • Structural geology
    • Tectonics 
    • Petroleum geomechanics
    • Discovery
    Professor Graham Heinson
    • Geophysics
    • Crustal structure
    • Ore deposits
    • Discovery
    Dr Richard Lilly
    • Ore deposit formation
    • Geochemical exploration
    • Economic geology
    • Discovery
    Dr Derrick Hasterok
    • Geophysics
    • Geochemical exploration
    • Crustal heat flow
    • Plate tectonics
    • Discovery
    Dr Diana Zivak
    • Ore deposit formation
    • Geochemical exploration
    • Economic geology
    • Rare earth element mineralisation
    • Discovery
    • Mineralogy
    Dr Lucy McGee
    • Ore deposit genesis
    • Competing tectonic and source component-related signatures
    • Developing metal isotopes to look for mineral prospectivity
    • Discovery
    • Mineralogy
    Dr Laura Morrissey
    • Geochronology
    • Understanding the metamorphic character of regions
    • Discovery
    Associate Professor Carl Spandler, Director, Australian Critical Minerals Research Centre
    • Petrology and geochemistry
    • Evolution of Earth’s crust and mantle
    • Microanalysis of trace elements and isotopes in minerals within rock formations
    • Rare earth elements
    • Discovery
    • Mineralogy
    Adjunct Professor Nigel Spooner
    • Fibre optic and imaging for environmental dosimetry
    • Natural radiation fields
    • Radiation detection technology development
    • Mineralogy
    • Processing and recovery

     

  • Research and innovation

    Researcher Expertise Programs
    Professor Mike Goodsite,
    Director Institute for Mineral and Energy Resources 
    • In situ resource utilisation (ISRU)
    • Civil and environmental engineering
    • Processing and recovery

     

Outreach

The goal of outreach activities is to raise awareness of critical minerals, their vital role in contemporary life, and the major opportunities that they offer for economic development in South Australia and the nation. 

The South Australian Museum is a major partner of the centre. The museum is re-establishing its high profile mineralogy research focus with the joint appointment with the University of Adelaide of a postdocorate fellow in critical minerals. 

The museum has a world-class minerals collection containing more than 1500 mineral species, including specimins from many of South Australia’s mineral deposits. It plays an important role in engagement and education for the centre by showcasing collections to the general public, including schools. 

Facilities

Facilities

The centre has access to analytical facilities and laboratories, including at: 

Background

The Australian Critical Mineral Research Centre is an initiative of the Institute for Mineral Resources (IMER) and the Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Vice-President (Research) (DVC&VP(R)) at The University of Adelaide.

It has strong support from the South Australian Museum, the SA Department of Energy and Minerals, and the backing of the South Australian Chamber of Mines and Energy (SACOME), the leading industry body representing the resources sector in South Australia, and the SA Department of Energy and Mining.