An Australian Research Council (ARC) Centre of Excellence based at the University of Newcastle in New South Wales has been established to work towards achieving zero-emission mining with more sustainable minerals processing.
The ARC Centre of Excellence for Enabling Eco-Efficient Beneficiation of Minerals will double energy and water productivity, reducing the loss of high value metals during processing by up to 90 per cent.
The $35 million centre’s work to make mineral processing more sustainable will help to secure future availability of metals essential to modern living.
Laureate professor Kevin Galvin will lead the centre and oversee the University of Newcastle collaborate with researchers from seven other Australian universities, the CSIRO, industry partner organisations and leading international researchers.
Galvin said more than 70 PhD students and 15 post-doctoral researchers would work across multiple research disciplines to achieve transformational solutions.
“Some minerals are becoming difficult to access and extract, while high usage of energy and water in processing make it expensive and environmentally demanding,” Galvin said.
“These pressures make it urgent that we transform the value addition of mineral processing, known as beneficiation, to achieve a step-change reduction in the environmental footprint.”
Galvin added the “new dawn” would ensure a sustainable and competitive future for a critical Australian industry, involving a whole new generation of scientists and engineers.
“For the students, it offers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be part of a world-first project that can make a practical difference to the future of this planet,” Galvin said.