In this issue: Ore processing, Rare Earths, Bioleaching and Seafloor Mining.
Falling iron ore and other commodity prices have made life difficult for Australian resource producers - but challenges and hard times can also be the catalyst for game-changing innovation, writes Jonathan Law.
As more of Australia’s accessible and high grade mineral reserves are depleted, Chris Vernon reports that our great challenge is to find ways to target and process our lower grade or more complex ores to maintain productivity and value for the nation.
Vast aluminium global resources that are currently uneconomic to mine could be opened up through a CSIRO-patented process that recovers caustic soda from red mud. Tim Thwaites reports that it may be environmental factors that drive adoption.
Gold produced with a cyanide-free thiosulphate process is adding value to a US gold operation. Roger Nicoll reports that the process incorporates patented technology developed through a collaboration between Barrick Gold Corporation and CSIRO.
The challenge with complex ore bodies is typically an economic one but new technologies and approaches can transform C1 costs and make all the difference, writes Paul Dowd.
A new and largely untapped frontier that could change the economics of mining and improve environmental performance is the focus of a coordinated campaign spearheaded by CSIRO. Tony Heselev reports
Naturally occurring ‘bugs’ such as bacteria and archaea may hold the key to a technology that can turn low grade deposits into economic projects. Tony Heselev reports
While not especially rare and not really earths, there is no doubting the difficulties in mining and processing the rare earth group of metals, or their importance to the global economy. Tim Treadgold reports
Research and innovation is unearthing new tools and approaches for tackling current challenges and boosting viability and productivity, at a time when the plunging iron ore price is casting a shadow over the future of the industry. Anna Littleboy reports
The vision for a cleaner, greener and more productive steel industry, moved a step closer with the recent signing of an agreement with a company in China to scale-up CSIRO’s dry slag granulation (DSG) technology.
The mineral riches of the world’s ocean floor are on the verge of being tapped following advances in technology, growing demand for resources and legal frameworks that make exploration and mining possible. Roger Nicoll reports