“The Centre will focus on three thematic objectives to meet the need for: pre-concentration to reduce energy and water consumption, radically faster and more selective separations to maximize resource recovery and minimize scope 3 emissions, and solutions to eliminate tailings dams.”
Laureate Professor Kevin Galvin.
School of Engineering University of Newcastle.
“The recovery and concentration of particles of high metallurgical value, known as beneficiation, is based on relatively mature paradigms. The industry has evolved gradually over more than a century, however flotation processing rates per unit of vessel area have not increased during that period. The waste, which often requires massive tailings dams, results in excessive water consumption, and risk of a catastrophic tailings breach. With a projected global population of nine billion by 2050, and the demand for minerals set to soon outstrip supply, the industry faces an unprecedented challenge.”
ARC Centre of Excellence
In an exciting development for sustainable mining in Australia, the new ARC Centre of Excellence for Enabling Eco-Efficient Beneficiation of Minerals has officially opened for business. Researchers from eight Australian universities have joined to address some of the biggest global challenges in minerals processing.
Leading the seven-year project is Laureate Professor Kevin Galvin from the University of Newcastle. He said demand had skyrocketed for metals and rare earth minerals used for electric vehicle batteries and magnets for wind turbines. However, recovering and concentrating these consume vast quantities of energy and water.
“The Centre will focus on three thematic objectives to meet the need for: pre-concentration to reduce energy and water consumption, radically faster and more selective separations to maximize resource recovery and minimize scope 3 emissions, and solutions to eliminate tailings dams,” he said.
The Centre of Excellence received $35m from the Australian Research Council and will involve 35 researchers and 76 PhD students from the University of Newcastle, The University of Queensland, University of New South Wales, University of Melbourne, Monash, Deakin, University of South Australia, and Curtin. It is supported by Amira Global, CSIRO, FLSmidth and Jord.