University of Adelaide to strengthen mining sector with $15m investment

The University of Adelaide has launched a mining research consortium to boost South Australian copper production and develop its mining, equipment, technology and services (METS) sector.

The Research Consortium – Unlocking Complex Resources through Lean Processing initiative will cost $14.6 million. The South Australian Government will supply $4 million of this figure from its research consortia program over the next four years.

The program aims to use technologies, including machine learning and Internet of Things (IoT) integration, to develop lean processing techniques tailored to the characteristics of mineral ores in real time.

“The key will be integration of data from when the resource is still in the ground, right through the mining and processing stages,” said Stephen Grano, director of the University of Adelaide’s Institute for Mineral and Energy Resources.

“We’ll be using data analytics and machine learning, enabling the whole system to be optimised rather than optimising isolated parts.”

The consortium members plan to establish a data room in the university’s School of Computer Science to monitor existing mining operations and within 18 months hope to have conveyor belt and grinding mill sensor systems set up across separate projects for mass ore sorting and throughput optimisation, respectively.

The project will aims to optimise and improve South Australian mining operations. It will eventually commercialise these technologies globally, boosting the state economy further, according to University of Adelaide deputy vice-chancellor Mike Brooks.

“By bringing together industry partners with university research expertise we are able to leverage the great strengths of each partner to address these significant industry challenges,” he said.

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