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24 February 2021 2 min read


Jonathan Law, Director of CSIRO Mineral Resources

Australia has a strong national resource base and a history of innovation that has positioned our resources industry at the heart of the national economy.

The industry is also poised to expand into new areas as the global economy grows and continues to differentiate into new technologies and underpinning resource demands.

In positioning for these changes, we need to find strong commercial opportunities and support these with effective research and development.

This approach relies on strong partnerships with a shared vision of the future, and promises big rewards based on speed to market and the ability to scale rapidly into new opportunities.

In this issue of Resourceful, we focus on a suite of opportunities that rely on an effective innovation ecosystem, rather than a specific technological solution for a focused problem: Supercritical CO2 turbine powered by solar thermal energy is a great example.

With the ability to replace diesel energy at mine sites, provide stored energy at night, and provide direct thermal energy to processing circuits, this energy could be a key driver for green steel options reducing downstream process emissions and supporting the drive to net zero emissions.

Supporting a global energy transition

The energy transition globally is driving demand for a suite of enabling metals often further complicated by geo-political considerations linked to clean, safe, competitive and reliable production.

These critical metals provide many opportunities for Australia and come with a suite of uncertainties around demand and availability.

CSIRO works closely with the Critical Mineral Facilitation Office to help Australia make the right choices.

At the same time, we are supporting industry by demonstrating Li and Ni battery products as we move downstream to supply raw materials and Australian manufacturing opportunities.

Our gold analytical technology commercialised with Chyrsos Corporation continues to deepen its engagement with global gold producers using their innovative technology to provide a fast, safe and reliable alternative to fire assay.

This technology enables effective management of gold grade across the value chain making near real-time control available to industry.

The community impact of mining continues to grow in importance and independent engagement is necessary to maintain strong links between mining and the broader community.

Our Voconiq spin out is taking our technology to market to provide a longlived community interface to help build an industry valued and supported by all our stakeholders.

Our researchers have also collaborated with Australian technology start-up SenseOre and brought modern and cutting edge digital and machine learning approaches to support new exploration success.

In each of these cases, Australian science and technology is unlocking value propositions far broader than the individual technologies.

This value lies at the heart of CSIRO’s role as an innovation catalyst for Australian innovation.

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