Refining preliminary results
Australian Bauxite (ABx), a mining and exploration company with tenements across QLD, NSW and TAS, were looking to increase the value of their bauxite. They looked to the Entrepreneurs’ Programme to assist in developing their innovative ideas and progress their Alcore project.
Australia is the world’s largest producer of bauxite, a sedimentary rock with a relatively high aluminium content. ABx were investigating the use of new technology developed in their Alcore project to convert bauxite into aluminium fluoride. Preliminary results demonstrated that the process was feasible, which led to a need to more deeply understand the process.
The business aimed to progress and refine the process by better characterisation of materials and process optimisation.
Engaging research expertise
ABx applied for an Innovation Connections grant under the Australian Government’s Entrepreneurs’ Programme and were connected with Innovation Facilitator Hayley Mcgillivray, from CSIRO SME Connect, who assisted the business in accessing an Innovation Connections Researcher Placement grant.
Drawing on Hayley’s background in minerals she was well placed to understand ABx’s needs and assist with the research opportunity.
The grant supported ABx to progress the Alcore project through a collaboration with CSIRO Minerals to optimise and test their technology that would convert bauxite into aluminium fluoride, and supported the placement of Dr Mark Cooksey, who was seconded into the business from CSIRO, to work on the project alongside CSIRO researchers and using ABx’s facilities.
ABx has now commenced their second project to further develop this offering and Dr Cooksey is continuing the research as a full-time employee of the business to take the Alcore project forward permanently.
Success has allowed the business to have a greater value revenue stream associated with its bauxite product as well as a technology offering in the marketplace to diversify revenue streams.
The Innovation Connections grant allowed us to rapidly and effectively connect with scientific expertise that has accelerated the development of the Alcore project.
— Dr Mark Cooksey, CEO Alcore Project, Australian Bauxite Ltd