Optimising remediation of legacy mines

Cleaning up mine wastes: Optimising remediation of legacy mines, Tasmania

Degree type


Closing date

22 November 2021



Citizenship requirement

Domestic/International Onshore


$28,597pa for 3.5 years

About the research project

Characterisation of mine wastes through lab- and field-based testing is standard practise in the initial stages of mine closure. However, long-term (> 10 years) disposal and storage of tailings and waste rock at surface exposes these heterogenous materials to natural weathering processes over the life-of-mine, and potentially in perpetuity at abandoned sites. Transformations in mineralogy, surface area, texture, and grainsize of mine wastes due to weathering processes may affect the long-term mobility of hazardous trace elements but may also create opportunities for remining wastes. This is especially true in regions of western Tasmania that receive a mean yearly rainfall of 2400 mm (BOM, 2021). Long-term changes need to be considered in the implementation of closure solutions as they will ultimately influence the effectiveness of closure designs and the feasibility of extracting additional value from these wastes. By assessing how various degrees of weathering alters the reactivity of waste piles over time, this project aims to inform mine closure designs and assess the potential for extracting further value from mine wastes. The knowledge generated from this project will provide insights to improving economic and environmental outcomes at active and abandoned mine sites in Tasmania and will influence mine closure planning globally.

This project will run in collaboration with the Central Sciences Laboratory, University of Tasmania, and the Department of Geological Sciences and Geological Engineering, Queen’s University, Canada.

Primary Supervisor

Meet Dr Clare Miller


The scholarship supporting this project provides:

  • a living allowance stipend of $28,597 per annum (2021 rate, indexed annually) for 3.5 years;
  • a relocation allowance of up to $2,000;
  • a tuition fee scholarship for up to 4 years (successful domestic applicants will be awarded an RTP Fees Offset and successful international applicants will be awarded a University of Tasmania Fees Offset)

The scholarship supporting this project is funded by the University of Tasmania and the Australian Government through the Research Training Program.


The project is open to domestic (Australia and New Zealand) and international applicants who are already in Australia (onshore) at the time of submitting their application.

Due to current Australian COVID-19 travel restrictions the University cannot accept applications from International applicants who are currently overseas.

Applicants should review the PhD minimum entry requirements.

Applicants from the following disciplines are encouraged to apply:

  • Geology
  • Earth Sciences
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Environmental Science
  • Physical Geography

Selection Criteria

The project/scholarship is competitively assessed and awarded.  Selection is based on academic merit and suitability to the project as determined by the College.

Additional selection criteria specific to this project/scholarship:

  • Experience designing and conducting independent field or lab-based projects is required.
  • Hands-on experience with laboratory analysis and/or numerical modelling is preferred.
  • Experience in environmental chemistry, mineralogy, and/or geochemistry is required.
  • Proficiency in written and oral English is required.

Application process

There is a three-step application process:

  1. Select your project, and check you meet the eligibility and selection criteria;
  2. Contact the Primary Supervisor, Dr Clare Miller, if you have any questions about the project; and
  3. Click here to submit an application by the closing date listed above.
    • Copy and paste the title of the project from this advertisement into your application. If you don’t correctly do this your application may be rejected.
    • As part of your application you will be required to submit a covering letter, a CV including 2 x referees and your project research proposal.

Following the application closing date applications will be assessed within the College. Applicants should expect to receive notification of the outcome by email by the advertised outcome date.

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