8 December 2010

Australian and international mining industry leaders will today join forces to launch the new Cooperative Research Centre for Optimising Resource Extraction (CRC ORE) at the Sir James Foots building, The University of Queensland.

The new CRC ORE will receive $17.5 million of CRC Program funding in addition to partner contributions of over $30 million to facilitate a fundamental transformation of the methods used by Australia’s mining and minerals industry to evaluate and extract mineral deposits.

CRC ORE is headquartered at UQ and will work closely with the Sustainable Minerals Institute (SMI) - its major partner and research provider - to deliver industry results.

CEO of CRC ORE Professor Alan Bye said over the past 30 years the average grade of Australian ore bodies has halved, while the waste removed to access the minerals has more than doubled.

"These lower quality ore bodies, currently being mined, are driving significant increases in energy use and capital costs," Professor Bye said.

"CRC ORE’s research will allow these geologically complex and lower grade ore deposits, now being encountered, to be extracted in an economically and environmentally sensitive manner."

CRC ORE’s work will be vital to developing energy-saving and resource-expanding technology and methodologies.

It will allow lower-grade ores to be economically and sustainably mined for the ongoing benefit of Australia.

Aimed at improving the efficiency and business intelligence of mining industry, the five-year program will provide direct reductions in energy and water consumption, reductions in CO2 emissions, and increase viability of Australia’s minerals resources.

This will lead to longer operating periods for mines and more jobs.

The program will also provide education and training to mining professionals who will implement the technology and have the skills to solve future mining industry challenges.

The launch will be officiated by Ms Anne Baly, Division Head Research from the Department of Industry, Innovation, Science and Research.

CRC ORE’s partners - SMI, QUT, UTas, BHP Billiton, Newcrest, Xstrata, Anglo Platinum, and AMIRA - will be represented at the event.

Media: Tara Young (07 3346 3434, 0408 159 805)