19 December 2005

A University of Queensland commercialisation company is the first in the world to sell leading-edge mineral analysis technology to the booming Chinese market.

JKTech Pty Ltd will export a mineral liberation analyser (MLA) to Jinchuan Group Ltd, China’s largest producer of nickel, cobalt and platinum.

JK Tech Managing Director, Dr Geoff Gault, said the instrument and software package sold to Jinchuan would be a centerpiece of a Minerals Engineering Research Institute being established by Jinchuan.

“This is the world’s most sophisticated analyser of its type,” Dr Gault said.

“It derives quantitative mineral analysis from a scanning electron microscope, and will take outdated manual mineral identification in China into the new realm of automation and quality assurance used in Australia, North America and southern Africa.

”Jinchuan technologists will use the MLA to analyse products from the Jinchuan mineral concentrators and to evaluate ore deposits.

“Staff at JKTech’s Brisbane headquarters will train them in this technique early in 2006.

“This opens the door for further applications of MLA technology in the world’s fastest growing economy,” Dr Gault said.

The sale flowed from a visit to Australia by Jinchuan Chairman, Mr Li Yong-jun, and Jinchuan Director of Science and Technology, Madam Xiao-xia Yu, in July 2004.

Price Waterhouse Coopers partner and leader of its China strategy, Mr Tom Seymour, said: “The MLA technology provides a good practical example of a Chinese mining company and an Australian technology provider working together.”

Mr Seymour said that as Jinchuan is one of China’s significant state-owned mining companies, its presence in Australia would also indicate it is one of the more advanced Chinese state-owned enterprises.

The MLA’s entry into China marks a continued rapid expansion of the system’s world-wide reach.

There are 25 MLA systems installed around the globe, compared to only six systems in 2002.

More installations are planned for early 2006. These include deployments by: Mexico’s largest miner, Penoles; the world’s largest mineral sand mining operation, Richards Bay Minerals in South Africa; and the Geological Survey of Finland, which will analyse material from Europe’s greatest and one of Earth’s deepest holes in its crust.

“From 1996 to 2000 we were in development mode under the direction of Dr Ying Gu (Manager, MLA Group), so in just nine years we have taken a system design concept to a position of undisputed world leader in the field – and we continue to expand,” Dr Gault said.

For more information contact:

Dr Geoff Gault, Managing Director JKTech Pty Ltd
Ph: (+61 7) 3365 5861, Mobile: 0417 738 468
Email: g.gault@jktech.com.au

Dr Ying Gu, Manager, MLA Group
(+61 7) 3365 5919, Email: y.gu@jktech.com.au

Mr Tom Seymour, Price Waterhouse Coopers, Brisbane office: Ph (+61 7) 3257 8883.

Media inquiries to:

David Goeldner, Media and external relations, (+61 7) 3365 5848,
Mobile: 0416164243, Email: d.goeldner@uq.edu.au