Australia school launches training center
For future scientists and engineers in the mining industry Metal Tech News – July 14, 2021
Last updated 7/27/2021 at 4:41pm
The University of Adelaide July 9 announced its launch of the Australian Research Council Training Centre for Integrated Operations for Complex Resources at its Institute for Mineral Energy Resources, designed to bring together resources and expertise from 20 partners to create the next generation of scientists and engineers.
The center has been developed to bring together end-users, translation partners, and researchers to drive productivity in mining; as well as grow competitiveness in the mining equipment, technology services (METS) sector, and build skills and capacity for end-user focused research.
"As higher grade and more accessible mineral deposits become depleted, mineral resources will be extracted from deeper, lower grade, and more complex ore bodies," said University of Adelaide Professor of Mining Engineering Peter Dowd. "The ARC Training Centre for Integrated Operations for Complex Resources will deliver the vital enabling tools for automated, integrated and optimized mining."
The four-year A$11.75 million (US$8.8 million) project, which involves three universities and 18 industry partners through the ARC Industrial Transformation Research Program, will be led by Professor Dowd.
The facility, which began operating in August 2020, will equip the next generation of scientists and engineers through mentoring programs, career-relevant training, industry placements, collaboration with partner organizations, and participation in world-leading interdisciplinary research.
"The Centre will produce future leaders in advanced sensors and data analytics for complex resources," added Dowd.
So far, the new training center is intended to:
• Transform end-user mining operations by optimizing productivity and product quality and by delivering automated and integrated mining.
• Translate new technological research outcomes to industry-ready applications.
• Increase certainty on product quality.
• And maximize throughput and recovery of minerals in mining operations.
Early career researchers, early career professionals, and Ph.D. scholars will be trained at the center, which will also run outreach projects promoting STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) to high school students.
Among the Ph.D. students at the center is Zeqi Li, who is researching ways to make grinding technologies utilized by the mining sector less energy intensive.
"I am analyzing the performance of a scaled-down version of a semi-autogenous grinding (SAG) mill which is used in mining operations world-wide to break ore into smaller particles," he explained. "The liners inside the SAG mill wear down as ore passes through the mill. Effective systems to monitor this wear ensure the mill is working at optimal efficiency, which in turn reduces the energy required for this part of the mining process."
In addition to money savings for mine operators, any reductions in the energy used for grinding will make mines more environmentally sustainable.
The sixteen projects being undertaken by Ph.D. students at the center will cover all aspects of integrated mining operations from extraction of ore to analysis to processing through to the final product. Thus, the holistic, interdisciplinary approach to training people in integrated mining operations is a unique and new approach.
The project is a collaboration between the University of Adelaide, the University of South Australia, and Curtin University, as well as partners from the mining industry, mining equipment, and technical services companies, and government.
"Delivering research excellence that directly benefits society is at the core of what the University of Adelaide seeks to achieve," said University Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Peter Høj AC. "The ARC Training Centre for Integrated Operations for Complex Resources builds on our existing mining and mineral processing research expertise."
Funding for the training center was won by the South Australian college Institute for Mineral Energy Resources, with A$3.7 million (US$2.8 million) from the Australian Research Council, along with more than A$8 million (US$6 million) in cash and in-kind from companies, universities, government, and technology stakeholders across the mining sector.
"This Centre will help train the next generation of leaders in the mining industry who will tackle the challenge to provide society with the sustainable supply of resources it needs to maintain future prosperity," finished Høj.