Ensuring Australia’s mining future

Australian Academy of Science media release

AAS 1/11

Sixty of Australia’s big-thinking young geoscientists have identified how to ensure this country continues to be a powerhouse of mining for at least the next century.

The report of a Think Tank on the future of resource discovery and utilisation held at the Australian Academy of Science late last year was launched by the Minister for Resources and Energy, The Hon Martin Ferguson, today at the Shine Dome in Gordon Street, Canberra at 3 pm. [continue reading…]

Quarrying data for gems of knowledge

Released on behalf of the Australian Academy of Science

Predicting where Australia’s next mineral boom will come from is serious business. Data collected using satellite sensing, airborne surveys, seismic crews and prospecting teams is immense and is piling up rapidly. But what use are all these data? [continue reading…]

Are we all mined out?

Released on behalf of the Australian Academy of Science

Most of the easily-found, economically exploitable mineral deposits in Australia have already been discovered, and are steadily being mined out. We need new, large, rich ore bodies to replace them.

How we go about finding and developing them is at the core of an Australian Academy of Science Think Tank to be held in Canberra on Thursday 19 and Friday 20 August. The media are invited to the first day, and the speakers are available for interview. [continue reading…]

Bacteria munch up alumina impurities

New genus of bugs discovered at WA alumina refinery

Previously unknown species of naturally-occurring bacteria have the potential to save the alumina and aluminium industries millions of dollars while helping to reduce their impact on the environment, microbiologist Naomi McSweeney has found in a collaborative project between Alcoa of Australia, CSIRO and the University of Western Australia.

The bacteria can successfully break down and remove sodium oxalate, an organic impurity produced during the refining of low-grade bauxite into alumina. The work is being presented for the first time in public through Fresh Science, a national competition for early-career scientists. Naomi was one of 16 winners from across Australia.

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Ultrasound puts water back in the Murray Darling…

…by putting the squeeze on mining waste

You may not be able to squeeze blood out of a stone but, by applying the right amount of ultrasound during processing, Jianhua (Jason) Du and colleagues from the Cooperative Research Centre for Contamination Assessment and Remediation of the Environment (CRC CARE) have been able to squeeze a considerable amount of fresh water from mining waste.

Honeycomb-like structure which retains significant amount of water in tailings before ultrasonic treatment. (Photo: Jason Du)

As well as conserving water the technique reduces the waste bulk, which could also save mining companies millions of dollars in operational costs and help postpone significant capital expenditure, Jason says. Jason is one of sixteen winners of the national 2010 Fresh Science program – highlighting the work of leading young scientists.

[continue reading…]