CODES – Centre for Ore Deposit and Earth Sciences

PhD - Mineralogical and textural controls on grade-by-size fractionation in porphyry copper deposits

The Research Project:

Preferential grade by size fractionation is one of the five rock based levers which determines the effectiveness of Grade Engineering®. Early rejection of low-grade material by coarse separation techniques prior to comminution reduces the volume of uneconomic material entering the mill and increases overall net-value of the mill feed. The observed fractionation of economic metals into specific size fractions during breakage is controlled by intrinsic rock and mineral properties. This project will characterise the specific mineralogical and textural features that impact grade by size fractionation of copper minerals in porphyry deposits. Mineralogical and textural parameters will be used to develop deposit-scale predictive geometallurgical models to identify specific domains that are capable of driving maximum value in Grade Engineering® assessments.

Key research areas for this project include:

  • Drill core logging and sampling at selected porphyry copper deposits
  • Integration of surface analytical techniques including hyperspectral scanning and XRF for mineralogical, chemical and textural mapping of ore types in drill core
  • Systematic sample preparation for grade-by-size characterisation and geometallurgical testing (controlled crushing, sizing and weighing)
  • Development of textural indices defining mineralogical heterogeneity within and between different ore types and the effect on grade by size fractionation
  • Development of geometallurgical metrics for integration into deposit scale 4D models to predict amenability to grade by size fractionation

Value & Duration: This scholarship provides $32,304 pa (2017 rate) living allowance for 3 years, with a possible 6 month extension. Operational funds to support the PhD research project including field work and analytical costs will be provided through CRC ORE.

Funding: This PhD scholarship is jointly funded by CRC ORE and the University of Tasmania.


The following eligibility criteria apply to this scholarship:

  • The scholarship is open to domestic (Australian and New Zealand) and international candidates;
  • The Research Higher Degree must be undertaken on a full-time basis
  • Applicants must already have been awarded a First Class Honours degree or hold equivalent qualifications or relevant and substantial research experience in an appropriate sector
  • Applicants must be able to demonstrate strong research and analytical skills
  • Applicants must meet English speaking and writing requirements, or be able to do so before commencement

Candidates from a variety of disciplinary backgrounds are encouraged to apply. Knowledge and skills that will be ranked highly include:

  • Experience in geological logging or practical geometallurgy of ore systems
  • A background in mineralogy and analytical techniques is desirable
  • Experience in the mining sector
  • Fluency in a second language (e.g., Spanish) would be advantageous

Application Process:

Applicants should complete the application via the University of Tasmania's admissions system (see How to Apply on the Graduate Research Future Students page).

Enquiries to: Dr. Nathan Fox (

Applications Close: 31st March 2018.

Published on: 07 Mar 2018 11:07am