IMER celebrates ARC grant successes

ARC research success

The Institute for Mineral and Energy Resources (IMER) – Modern Energy Systems has secured two large ARC Linkage projects, and a Discovery Project in the most recently announced round of ARC grant funding.

Congratulations to Associate Professor Murat Karakus, Associate Professor Giang Nguyen, Professor Javen Shi, Dr Cristiana Ciobanu, Dr Ha Bui and Dr Abbas Taheri for securing a grant of $516,000 for the linkage project, “A Machine Learning driven flow modelling of fragmented rocks in cave mining” with industry partner OZ Minerals Ltd.

The project aims to develop an integrated method that uses micro scale and macro scale information to predict block scale behaviour so that a better cave mining design can be established. The role of various mineral composition on the energy storage and fracture properties of rocks will be investigated to examine rock fragmentation for block cave mining. Later Machine Learning based models will be developed to establish various predictive models for Block Scale rock mass behaviour and caveability of ore deposit. Finally, a new constitutive model based on a dual damage concept that will capture the rock fragmentation and simulate the cave propagation in a large scale mine layout using Smoothed-particle hydrodynamics will be developed.

Professor Nigel Cook has been granted $456,000 for the linkage project “Critical metals from complex copper ores, with partner BHP Billiton Olympic Dam Corporation Pty Ltd.

The aims of this project address the critical mineral resource potential of complex copper ores. The research will generate new knowledge on the concentration, distribution, physical form and chemical speciation of critical minerals, including tellurium, cobalt and rare earth elements, in ores and processing streams using innovative approaches and utilising state-of-the-art analytical techniques. Expected outcomes include integrated models for critical element endowments in Australia's largest copper resource, Olympic Dam (S.A.). Future recovery of these elements would add significant value to existing operations, providing long-term economic and commercial benefits and would also contribute to Australia's transition to a low-carbon future.

Finally, Dr Juraj Farkas, Professor Glenn Brock, Dr Stefan Lohr and Professor Alan Collins have been awarded $390,000 for the discovery project “Glauconite: Archive Recording Timing and Triggers of Cambrian Radiation”.

This project aims to constrain the timing and speed of the Cambrian radiation of complex animals, and to test potential environmental triggers of this milestone bioevent. New laser mass spectrometry and mineral mapping technology will be integrated to precisely date glauconite – a silicate mineral commonly formed in Cambrian shallow marine animal habitats. This innovative and cost-effective approach will produce the first high-resolution timeline of early animal evolution, where the glauconite-based marine isotope record identifies the most likely environmental trigger for the Cambrian Radiation. Outcomes of this study include improved understanding of the drivers of animal evolution, and a new dating tool for basic and applied research.

IMER Director, Professor Michael Goodsite, said that IMER is very pleased to see the expertise and exciting partnerships awarded with new research opportunities.

"We are confident these will lead to results important to the partners, as well as to this vital sector.  We welcome hearing from others who’d like to 'make our team your team'", Professor Goodsite said.

For further information, read the Minister for Education, the Hon Dan Tehan MP’s media release “Research collaborations to strengthen our economy.

Tagged in research, Australian Research Council, grants, cave mining, critical minerals, laser spectrometry, mineral mapping