The Collaborative Consortium for Coarse Particle Processing Research (CPR) had its first in-person meeting to discuss the current success of its common goal to accelerate adoption of coarse particle technology. 

Researchers from the Sustainable Minerals Institute (SMI) and mining industry representatives were part of the Collaborative Consortium meeting in Brisbane in June 2022. 

Coarse particle technology would improve resource utilisation and mineral processing energy efficiency, and then outlined the program of work going forward.

Sitting on the Consortium are representatives of some of mining’s biggest names, with Rio Tinto, Glencore, Anglo American, Hudbay Minerals, Newcrest Mining, Aeris Resources, Baker Hughes, Eriez Flotation and Newmont Corporation all involved in the initiative, as well as researchers from SMI’s Julius Kruttschnitt Minerals Research Centre (JKMRC).

JKMRC Flotation Chemistry Group Leader and CPR Consortium Technical Director, Associate Professor Liza Forbes, said the representatives are confident that substantial progress would be made in the coming years.

“From a technical point of view, many of the Consortium’s earlier programs have made progress and we are now in a strong position to build on that going forward and achieve some meaningful advancements in efficiency,” Ms Forbes said.

“We have designed and are now commissioning a small-scale device for studying course particle flotation which is ideal for lab use as it only requires 1kg of material – a significant reduction from the current equipment’s 100kg requirement.

“One of the projects aims to build and refine a modelling framework for a new coarse particle technology, similar to that which has been developed for standard conventional mechanical machines. When completed it will be included in future modelling software packages.

“Other work is investigating the fundamentals of how to achieve rock breakage in a way that makes them amenable to being used in coarse particle flotation techniques.

“Additionally, we have introduced a project from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Enabling Eco-Efficient Beneficiation of Minerals which will examine the chemical aspects of flotation and reagent addition methods for coarse particle technology.

“After a two-year period where it was impossible to bring in the talent needed for some of the projects, we are now running at full power and foresee significant progress in the next year.”

JKMRC’s Group Leader of Separation and CPR Consortium Technical Director, Associate Professor Kym Runge, said the meeting was a model of industry-academia collaboration.

“It was great to finally get in the room in-person with everyone, because we had formed a really solid working relationship from a distance over the two years,” Mr Runge said.

“Three of the companies – Rio Tinto, Eriez and Newcrest Mining – presented their experiences from the last two years and started valuable conversations between the representatives.

“We have created a platform where companies can come together to discuss and share learnings on their own processing challenges in a collaborative, not adversarial, way. That is a huge success in itself.”

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