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The challenge

Reliable mineral data

Mining, exploration, and mineral processing require high quality, accurate, mineral resources characterisation and composition data.

At key stages in the exploration, mining, processing, and metal production value chain, availability of such data can make a substantial impact to the viability and productivity of a mining operation. Often this data can only be produced by specialists using highly advanced equipment or through services customised to a company's specific needs.

Our response

A new specialised facility

SIEF has provided a $12.4 million grant as part of the Research Infrastructure Program to support the establishment of a new Advanced Resource Characterisation Facility (ARCF) in Perth as part of the National Resource Sciences Precinct (NRSP).

Characterisation image showing strontium.

The ARCF provides a global hub for metre to atomic scale analyses through an advanced workflow involving the measurement and interpretation of multi-scale compositional analyses for the research community, industry, and government geoscience agencies. SIEF funding has enabled the purchase and installation of :

  • the Maia Mapper, hosted by CSIRO (for core-scale chemical mapping);
  • the NanoSIMS, hosted by UWA (for sub-micron elemental and isotopic mapping); and
  • the Geoscience Atom Probe, hosted by Curtin University (for sub nanoscale characterisation)

Combined with the partners' existing equipment, and data management, processing, and integration made possible by the Pawsey Centre supercomputer, the ARCF will provide a multiscale approach to the characterisation of geological materials unmatched anywhere in the world.

The results

A collaborative research hub

The impact

The suite of instruments run by the ARCF allows the research partners to generate a workflow of minerals research activity that can progress research outcomes gained from the use of one instrument to further research on another instrument. It allows for a high degree of collaboration and synchronisation in the research process by bringing the research together in a 'one stop shop', meeting the resources sector's growing need for increasingly detailed information.

Although the project has yet to reach a point where it is possible to explore the nature and scale of potential benefits, the leading-edge nature of the facilities is gathering interest both nationally and internationally.

Download Printable version: Securing the future of Australian mineral exploration PDF (388 KB)

Download the impact evaluation report.

Find more SIEF toward impact fliers.

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