Rio Tinto

Rio Tinto

Project name

Managing groundwater in complex mining landscapes using advanced dating techniques.

Project description

The voids created by large-scale mining across Australia will require extensive management in perpetuity in the post-mining landscape. However, the ability to predict future water levels and salinity in mining voids is often constrained by the poor conceptual understanding of the surrounding groundwater systems. This study will use state-of-the-art environmental tracer measurements to characterise groundwater systems in the Pilbara region of Western Australia, where extensive mining is currently occurring. The tracers will include radiogenic noble gases and radioactive noble gases (85Kr, 39Ar and 81Kr) which together can ‘age’ groundwater at almost any timescale, years to billions of years, without many of the limitations of traditional tracer techniques. The measurements will be made using the new facilities currently being built for radiogenic noble gases at CSIRO (Helix mass-spectrometer) and radioactive noble gases at the UofA (Atom Trap Trace Analysis – ATTA).

Ideal candidate

  • A geologist, chemist or physicist with a sound understanding of the theory behind noble gas measurements to help with the completion of the new facilities.
  • A pragmatic individual able to adapt new techniques to the challenging conditions associated with groundwater investigations in remote regions of Australia.
  • Good interpersonal skills will be required because planning groundwater investigations in remote areas requires extensive consultations with aboriginal communities, pastoralists, various levels of government as well as the private sector.






CSIRO Partner Industry Partner University of Adelaide Partner
Business Unit:
Land & Water 
Rio Tinto
Research & Innovation
Research Program:
Water Resources Management
  School or Centre:
Institute for Photonics and Advanced Sensing (IPAS)
    UofA Supervisor(s):
Professor Andre Luiten/ Dr Phil Light

Application instructions

To apply for the Industry PhD program, you need to apply for Admission and Scholarship using the University of Adelaide’s online application form.

Apply now

Applications are now open.

  • Please review the generic process for submitting an application.
  • In addition you will need to submit an additional information form for each project that you want to apply for.
  • Specific notes on completing the online application form sections “Study Preference” and “Research Interests” are outlined below.

Study preferences

Add a Study Preference
Step 1-4:
Study type: Doctor of Philosophy
Award: Doctor of Philosophy in (relevant study area)
School: As per the Industry project outline
Research Area: Choose from available drop down menu
Study Conditions
Proposed study load: Full Time
Proposed attendance mode: Internal
Proposed start date: Between 1/1/19 and 31/3/19 as agreed with supervisor

Research interests

Please list the titles of the projects for which you wish to apply. For exact titles, please refer back to the Adelaide CSIRO Industry PhD.

Continue completing all other sections of the online application form and upload all required documents.


If you require assistance with the online application process please contact:

Adelaide Graduate Centre Senior Scholarships Officers
Phone: +61 8 8313 3044

For any other enquiries about the CSIRO Industry PhD Program please contact:
HDR Industry Enquiries
Tel: +61 8 8313 9127
Free-call: 1800 061 459