18 December 2009

The University of Queensland will host a new $17.5 million Cooperative Research Centre aimed at transforming Australia’s mineral resources.

Professor Alan Bye, Director of the WH Bryan Mining & Geology Centre within UQ’s Sustainable Minerals Institute, will lead the CRC for Optimising Resource Extraction (cOREx) which will develop new methods of characterising , extracting and valuing ore in the ground.

“Over the last 30 years, the average grade of Australian ore bodies has halved while the waste removed to access the minerals has more than doubled,” Professor Bye said.

“Without action, the environmental cost of mineral production will increase.

“cOREx’s vision is to fundamentally transform the evaluation and extraction of mineral deposits, to significantly enlarge Australia’s mineral resource and to generate a more sustainable mining industry.

“This will allow the geologically complex and lower grade ore deposits now being encountered to be economically and sustainably mined.”

Announced by The Minister for Innovation, Industry Science and Research, Senator Kim Carr this week, the CRC Program provides funding to build critical mass in research ventures between end-users and researchers which tackle clearly-articulated, major challenges for the end-users.

Professor Bye said the development of cOREx technology, software and methodologies will enable the integration of energy efficiency and environmental impact into the mining sector’s daily business.

“This will equip mining companies to meet emerging environmental challenges, societal expectations and regulatory regimes for the ongoing benefit of Australia,” he said.

UQ Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor Max Lu said the University was already a leader in working with the resources industry to help promote sustainable practices and cOREx was another part of this engagement.

“With our research expertise, we can work together with our fellow institutions and industry partners to make a real difference in how Australia’s mining sector meets the challenges ahead in the 21st Century,” Professor Lu said.

UQ’s partners in cOREx include AMIRA International Ltd, Anglo American, BHP Billiton, FEI Company, Mass Mining Technology, Newcrest Mining Limited, Queensland University of Technology and the University of Tasmania.

Media: Professor Alan Bye (07 3346 4072) or Andrew Dunne at UQ Communications (07 3365 2802, 0433 364 181).