National research Centre opens to secure minerals for the future

National research Centre opens to secure minerals for the future

The ARC Centre of Excellence for Enabling Eco-Efficient Beneficiation of Minerals (COEMinerals) will develop and commercialise new and more sustainable mining technologies as demand for minerals – including those used in white goods, smartphones, and solar panels – increases.

COEMinerals is a national collaboration of multiple universities and industry partners headquartered at the University of Newcastle.

University of Newcastle’s Laureate Professor, Kevin Galvin will lead the Centre and oversee collaboration with researchers from seven other Australian universities, the CSIRO, industry partner organisations and leading international researchers.

COEMinerals was officially opened last week by Liberal Patron Senator for the Hunter Region, Hollie Hughes representing the Minister for Education and Youth via Zoom with representatives from the ARC, partner universities and industry representatives.

“A strong, successful and sustainable minerals industry makes for a stronger country,” Hollie said.

“The official opening and our significant investment in COEMinerals represents the Morrison Government’s support for transformative, research-led initiatives that help bring together industry and universities.

“This is a major boost in our efforts to prepare the minerals sector for the needs of the economy and the environment well into the future.”

University of Newcastle Vice-Chancellor, Professor Alex Zelinsky congratulated the partners on the important milestone.

“A low carbon future will not be possible without minerals. We’re delighted to be hosting this Centre and playing a key role in bringing researchers together to find new sustainable technologies to reduce the environmental footprint of minerals recovery,” Alex said.

“I congratulate Laureate Professor Galvin on his work to date to bring together a research program that will help transform the minerals industry and bring together expertise across the country for a more sustainable future.”

Over the next seven years, more than 70 PhD students and 15 post-doctoral researchers together with consortia members will work across multiple research disciplines to achieve the Centre’s transformational solutions.

“We know this Centre will also play a role in developing the next generation of scientists and engineers and we can’t wait to see what they will achieve,” Alex said.

Researchers at the Centre will focus on developing new technologies and commercialising these technologies with industry partners in an effort to secure future availability of metals essential to modern living – like those used in smart phones and electric vehicles.

“It is becoming difficult to access and extract some minerals. Couple that with the high energy and water use in processing, and these processes can become very expensive and environmentally demanding,” Professor Kevin Galvin said.

“These pressures make it urgent that we transform the value addition of mineral processing, known as beneficiation, to achieve a step-change reduction in the environmental footprint.”

COEMinerals will seek to double energy and water productivity, reducing the loss of high value metals during processing by up to 90 per cent.

“Everyone along the mineral and renewable energy supply chain will benefit from the work coming out of this important research centre,” Kevin concluded.

The ARC Centre of Excellence for Enabling Eco-Efficient Beneficiation of Minerals is funded by the Australian Government through the Australian Research Council Centres of Excellence funding scheme.

IMAGE | University of Newcastle’s Laureate Professor, Kevin Galvin who will lead the ARC Centre of Excellence for Enabling Eco-Efficient Beneficiation of Minerals.

University of Newcastle

The University of Newcastle is ranked in the top 3% of universities in the world according to two global independent ranking systems, and in the top 200 universities in the world for medicine. 

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