Transforming the Mining Value Chain


The mining and mining services industry is a vital source of economic activity and jobs in regional Australia, and a major contributor to national income and wealth creation. Technical and business innovation is continually needed to maintain the industry's international competitiveness and to ensure that mining is conducted in an environmentally sustainable manner that is aligned with society's expectations. The value of all aspects of mining to Australia is encapsulated in the Mining Value Chain, extending from exploration and discovery through mining and processing to waste disposal. Along the chain, there are critical areas of industrial activity wherein improved efficiencies can markedly increase the value of Australia's mineral resources, and aid in the discovery of new resources, thereby benefiting the nation's economy.

The ARC Research Hub for Transforming the Mining Value Chain will make significant improvements to industry practices along the Mining Value Chain that will enhance ore deposit discovery, mineral processing, and environmental management of waste materials. The Research Hub brings together a multi-disciplinary research team that will tackle three of the industry's current technological imperatives and hurdles to growth, which define the principal aims of the TMVC:

  1. Detecting proximity to ore (footprints): Efficient discovery of new ore zones around current mine infrastructure
  2. Optimising geometallurgical prediction: Early acquisition and modelling of geometallurgical parameters
  3. Minimising geoenvironmental risks: Early identification of environmental issues for ores and wastes

These three research themes will be integrated around the application of technology developed at the TMVC and applied to drill core at the industry partners' mine sites. The anticipated outcome from this collaboration is the development of more efficient and environmentally sustainable exploration, mining and waste disposal practices that will lead to extended mine lives and employment opportunities in Australia's regional mining centres, and help in the discovery of new resources near existing mines.

Transformations to existing practices in the Mining Value Chain will be derived from advanced mineral characterisation methods developed by the TMVC, along with innovative technologies for their implementation, which will be applied much earlier in the Mining Value Chain than current practices permit. Early application of these methods will enhance decision-making and maximise productivity and profitability at Australian mine sites.

Theme 1- FootprintsTheme 2- GeometallurgyTheme 3- Geoenvironmental
Underpinning Technologies

TMVC sub-projects: 2015 to 2019. Sub-projects that did not proceed are in bold

Sub-project numberSub-project titleStatus
1.1Applying the explorers' toolbox to discover porphyry and epithermal Cu, Au and Mo deposits (AMIRA P1153)Completed Q2 2018
1.2Lithocap footprintsEnded 2017
1.3Pyrite footprintsIn progress
1.4Applying pyrite chemistry to the search for sediment-hosted Cu-Co ores in the Proterozoic Capricorn Orogen, WADid not proceed
1.5Geochemical and mineralogical vectors to ore, Bilihe-Hadamiao district, Inner Mongolia, ChinaOn hold
1.6Gosowong footprintsDid not proceed
1.7Magmatic-hydrothermal transition features in Sn granites of TasmaniaIn progress
1.8Magmatic mineral chemistry as a tool for detecting fertile intrusive complexes associated with porphyry copper depositsDid not proceed as planned - Rolled into 1.14 Q3 2018
1.9Geological and geochemical vectors to low sulfidation epithermal gold mineralization, Cerro Negro district, Deseado Massif, ArgentinaIn progress
1.10Geochemical and hyperspectral analysis of epidoteRolled into 2.11 Q3 2018
1.11Geology and genesis of the Prince Darwin prospect, western TasmaniaCompleted Q4 2018
1.12Advanced argillic alteration at Glen Lyell and western Tharsis deposits, Mt Lyell district, western Tasmania: Implications for the genesis of Cu-Au mineralisation and district explorationCompleted Q4 2018
1.13The application of spectral analysis and mineral chemistry in exploration; a case study from the Mount Cassidy porphyry prospect, Rockhampton district, QueenslandCompleted Q4 2018
1.14Far-field and near-mine footprints: Finding and defining the next generation of Tier 1 ore deposits (AMIRA P1202): Modules 1-3In progress
1.15Timing relationships within porphyry-epithermal depositsIn progress
1.1aTourmaline scanning in CorescanCompleted Q4 2019
1.16Identifying unique Resistate Indicator Mineral (RIM) chemistry as a guide in prospectivity for sediment-hosted copper mineralisation (AMIRA P1206)In progress
2.1General geometallurgy studiesIn progress
2.2Geotechnical and geometallurgical assessment of the Cadia East deposit using Corescan automatic logging technologyCompleted Q1 2018
2.3Ore characterisation and geometallurgical modelling at the Productora Cu-Au-Mo deposit, ChileCompleted 2016
2.4Cadia East multi-element lithogeochemistry: Evaluation of trace element deportment important to processing Completed 2016
2.5Technology transferOngoing
2.6Comparing element deportment: LA-ICPMS vs. sequential extraction (cross theme project)Did not proceed
2.7Geological and geometallurgical characterisation of QPG veins, Mankayan District, PhilippinesRolled into 1.14 mid-2018
2.8Geology and geometallurgical characterisation of the high Au, low Cu material at West Dome, TelferCompleted Q2 2018
2.9Characterising supergene copper mineralogy using hyperspectral techniquesOn hold
2.10Quantification of gold-bearing pyrite in processing samples from Lihir gold mineCompleted Q4 2018
2.11Far-field and near-mine footprints: Finding and defining the next generation of Tier 1 ore deposits (AMIRA P1202): Module 4In progress
3.1Integrated waste classification for best practice AMD predictionCompleted Q4 2019
3.2Development of effective short-term leach tests for water quality predicationCompleted Q4 2017
3.3Mineralogical domaining of low grade and no grade zones using automated drill core logging at CadiaCompleted Q2 2020
3.4Metal extraction from mine tailings using bioleaching: Environmental and economic benefitsCompleted Q2 2018
3.5Utilising industrial waste materials for AMD controlIn progress
3.6Geometallurgy of historic mine waste: Evaluating options for reprocessingIn progress
3.7Determining bioaccessibility risks at the historic Aberfoyle tailings site, north east TasmaniaCompleted Q4 2017
3.8Education and trainingOngoing
3.9Mineralogical and geochemical characterisation of historical slag: Evaluating environmental impacts and economic significanceCompleted Q2 2018
3.10Optimisation of kinetic testing for improved predication of drainage chemistry from laboratory to field: Savage River Mine, TasmaniaDid not proceed
3.11Recovery of ferric pigments from acid and metalliferous drainageTMVC association completed Q4 2018
3.12Comparing element deportment: LA-ICPMS vc. sequential extraction (Cross theme project)Did not proceed
T1Development of the high-throughput laser cellIn progress
T2aCorescan data feature extraction and classification for mineralogical and textural information analysisIn progress
T2bLine scan technologies for drill coreCompleted Q1 2018
T2cIntegrating chemical and mineralogical data layers for element deportmentIn progress
T2dGeological feature discovery from quantitative data integration (algorithm development)In progress
T3Method development for laser ablation ICPMS applied to complex matricesIn progress


Josh Phillips, PhD candidate in Theme 1

Cassady Harraden, PhD candidate in Theme 2

Laura Jackson, PhD candidate in Theme 3