Photograph of a large open pit mine.

A large open pit mine.

Researching metal mining solutions

CSIRO’s research into mining materials deposited by water is developing new mining systems and equipment to improve safety and minimise environmental impact.

  • 2 February 2006 | Updated 14 October 2011


We are developing a new mining process for underground hard-rock mines. The ROES™ drilling and blasting processes will be remote-controlled to improve safety. The system will also:

  • lower costs by 15–20 per cent
  • reduce the time required to bring ore into production.

Large open pit mines

We are addressing gaps in knowledge about the causes of failure of rock slopes in large open pit mines. This will help us create effective ways to predict the reliability of rock slopes, leading to improved:

  • productivity
  • safety
  • profitability.
These tools could revolutionise mining excavation.

This research is sponsored by ten of the world's leading mining houses. We will integrate best-practice on pit slope design with ground-breaking geomechanical theory, resulting in new:

  • three-dimensional slope reliability software
  • pit slope design
  • risk management manuals.

New drilling technology

Drilling operations account for a significant proportion of overall costs for mineral exploration and mine production. Longer-lasting and more productive drill bits could result in large savings for the industry.

CSIRO is developing SMART*CUT drilling technology with highly wear-resistant cutting elements. These tools could revolutionise mining excavation by offering faster rates of penetration with lower energy expenditure.

Learn more about the research team leader, Mr Jock Cunningham: leading research into autonomous mining systems.

ROES is a trademark of CSIRO Australia.