A new copper research hub was officially opened yesterday at the University of Adelaide that is set to add $10 billion to Australia’s $6 billion-a-year copper industry.
In collaboration with Flinders University, UCL Australia, Monash and the University of Queensland, the hub will focus on finding new ways to eliminate other metals from copper deposits and ensuring that these new methods are suitable for industry-level operations.
“Much of South Australia’s copper deposits are actually very fine intergrowths of a range of different metals and minerals. This introduces additional technical challenges for industry, which needs to achieve high-purity copper concentrates ready for market,” said Professor Stephen Grano, Director of the new ARC Research Hub for Australian Copper-Uranium.
“Being able to find cost-effective ways of removing other metals from copper concentrates will provide a boost to the industry’s economic prosperity, as well as its environmental sustainability. This work will help to ensure Australia is a world leader in copper production and associated technology.”
The federal Australian Research Council will provide $2.5 million and the State Government $500,000.
“This new research hub will translate our mining research into real economic outcomes for the State. The strong support from the resource sector and government illustrates its importance for the future of industry,” said The University’s Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Warren Bebbington.
According to Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis the new ARC Research Hub for Australian Copper-Uranium could provide a boost for one of South Australia’s most significant commodities.
“One of our key economic priorities is to unlock the full potential of our mineral resources, which is why the State Government is contributing $500,000 over four years towards the testing and commercialisation of safe and cost-effective ways of separating uranium from copper concentrates,” Mr Koutsantonis said.
“As one of the world’s largest copper producers, maximising the value of copper ore is of enormous benefit to the State’s economy.”
The ARC Research Hub for Australian Copper-Uranium is led by the University of Adelaide’s Institute for Mineral and Energy Resources. The hub’s partners include mining companies BHP Billiton and OZ Minerals, the Department of State Development, Defence Science and Technology Group, Environment Protection Authority South Australia, and the University College London (UCL) Australia.