Extracting more value from mining
The mining industry is highly complex and energy intensive. It takes a major investment at every stage to obtain good value from the time and effort expended.
Our Institute for Mineral and Energy Resources (IMER) leads a consortium that examines the entire mining system, from identifying raw materials to taking the resulting product to market.
The Integrated Mining Consortium develops, trials and commercialises technologies and techniques that promise to improve the process of gaining value from mineral deposits.
The result will be to reduce waste and inefficiencies and increase profitability.
Modern resource challenges are interdisciplinary, requiring a crossover of technical skills and sharing of information.
One of the major challenges facing the mining industry is variability in the ore body.
Advanced sensor technology will pick up and communicate information about its characteristics, allowing early decisions to be made about the worth of proceeding with a particular deposit.
The key is integration of data from when the resource is still in the ground, right through the mining and processing stages.
Analysis of data at every stage can feed back and forward along the chain to enable the best decisions to be made about how to proceed.
The consortium also looks at automation in the mining industry, with a view to applying it to more areas of operation to improve safety and reduce costs.
Modelling and simulation are important tools for decision makers to analyse and predict mining operations and plant performance. And recent advances in virtual and augmented reality offer opportunities to bring the models close to reality.
The consortium brings together industry partners with university research expertise to meet the mining challenges of the future.
A key outcome will be commercialising technologies for new global market opportunities, which also boosts the local economy.
Integrating technological advances across each step of the process will optimise the whole system, enabling growth of economically critical mineral and energy resources industries in a socially and environmentally sustainable manner.
Professor Nigel Cook
Director Integrated Mining Consortium
Institute for Mineral and Energy Resources