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13 August 2021 3 min read

There are plenty of exciting opportunities given the rapid pace of change in technologies in a range of affiliated industries and the new approaches they provide for mining. Rapid sensing and digital technologies linked to automation provide a range of options that simply did not exist even five years ago.

Jonathan Law, Director of CSIRO Mineral Resources

Perhaps the most impactful shift in innovation thinking relates to how value is unlocked through structured partnerships that enable widespread deployment of technology into the market.

In short, innovations are only as good as the commercial delivery vehicle!

CSIRO has a long history in industry focussed R&D, however, our focus is increasingly shifting to technology translation through commercialisation, company creation, and how our intellectual property can best add value to our stakeholders and provide returns to fund future innovation.

R&D is traditionally a project-based activity that leaves the end use and delivery mechanism open.

In fact, many research activities have no independent line of sight to market as they form a small part of a much broader opportunity.

The risk, and common reality, is thus that many technologies or research ideas are stranded.

In this issue of Resourceful, we look at a range of commercial innovations that have been developed with the end use in mind.

These innovations look to participate in the new value created for our customers rather than simply provide a product or service that is not well integrated with their operations.

A key enabler in each case is building structured partnerships that offer win-win outcomes for the participants that each add value to delivering the opportunity.

In the case of Chrysos Corporation, CSIRO and our partners created a new spin out company linking capital, market knowledge, manufacturing support and new technology to unlock value in gold processing performance through real time information.

There will be many other applications, but the company is focussed on unlocking value for customers as opposed to simply providing a cheap and fast analysis.

Our NextORE partnership brings together capital and market knowledge with engineering expertise to deliver an ore sorting solution based on new technology.

NextORE aims to provide a fully engineered grade uplift to its customers. This focus on an integrated service, rather than the measurement tool itself, forms a key part of unlocking value for our partners.

Environmental, social and governance (ESG) pressure is a growing challenge for the industry. CSIRO is working to fast-track a suite of environmental solutions through commercial partnerships.

Recent examples of successful CSIRO research that delivers both commercial and positive ESG outcomes include the VESI™ groundwater monitoring system; reduced emissions from steelmaking and cement from the dry slag granulation process; and an innovative water treatment process that combines forward-osmosis and reverse osmosis in a unique solution with applications in many sectors.

Each of these provide compelling commercial opportunities while focussing on positive environmental outcomes.

Geoscience data is another area of rapid progress. Large data volumes, sporadic data distribution and profound implications across the entire mining lifecycle make this an important area for innovation.

In this edition, we also highlight four new technologies on the commercialisation journey and how they will underpin fast and effective decision making in industry.

The number of potential market opportunities is large and so are the potential pathways to unlock these. We look to explore these opportunities with our partners to create value in the most effective way for each specific circumstance.

CSIRO and government have a range of options available for potential partners from support for SME engagement; through commercial accelerators; to access to capital through our venture fund, Main Sequence Ventures.

Perhaps the most important new innovation opportunity, is in the innovation process itself!

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