Research Program

Cost-effective ways to remove non-target metals from copper concentrates will increase the industry's economic and environmental sustainability.Prof Stephen Grano, Hub Director

A hand-picked team of research and industry scientists, engineers and regulators have come together to increase the sustainability of copper production from Australia’s - and the world's - iron oxide-copper-gold-uranium (IOCG-U) resources.

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  • Our aims

    The ARC Research Hub for Australian Copper-Uranium aims to transform South Australia's copper industry. Globally significant deposits at Olympic Dam, Prominent Hill, Wirrda Well, Carrapateena (and potentially other parts of Australia) will benefit from the Hub's work.

    Our key aims are to:

    • Find new ways to remove non-target metals from copper concentrates, which should be able to form a substantial portion of a typical global pool smelter feed.
    • Ensure the new methods are scalable, cost-effective and robust enough to be suitable for operating plant conditions.
    • Leverage emerging developments in highly sensitive radiation sensor technology by transferring technologies to the mining and mining services sectors.
  • The challenge

    The minerals in South Australia's copper-uranium deposits present as very fine intergrowths, making it difficult to achieve high purity copper concentrates for market.

    Hub researchers will use their knowledge of the complex distribution of such minerals to develop a cost effective process to reject non-target metals. Read more about our research programs below.

Hub nodes

Node 1. Understanding the minerals

Understanding non-target metals in copper-uranium ore and concentrates, in particular how and where those metals move.

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Node 2. Analysing the rocks

Developing new scanning technology to locate and quantify non-target metals, including in real-time.

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Node 3. Removing non-target metals

Identifying and demonstrating new approaches to the separation of non-target elements from complex copper-uranium ores.

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Our partners

BHP
OZ Minerals
Department of Energy and Mining
Department of Defence Science and Technology
Flinders University
Monash University
Australian Government | Australian Research Council
The University of Adelaide
The University of Queensland