3 June 2019: A renowned British expert in the modelling and simulation of minerals processing recently visited the Cooperative Research Centre for Optimising Resource Extraction (CRC ORE) to review one of its key initiatives.

Professor Stephen Neethling is a Professor of Minerals Processing in the Royal School of Mines at Imperial College London. He was approached by the Board of CRC ORE to undertake an independent review of the Integrated Extraction Simulator (IES). IMG_4840.JPGStephen Neethling & Nick Beaton (General Manager, IES)

IES represents the next generation of high performance mineral processing simulation driven by the power of cloud computing.CRC ORE developed IES and incorporated the industry leading equipment models developed by the Julius Kruttschnitt Mineral Research Centre (JKMRC) in conjunction with Australian Mining Industry Research Association (AMIRA) and its global network of leading research institutes. IES provides the mining industry with a system that can simulate and optimise the mineral processing value chain from blasting through to final concentrate on the massively powerful computing platform provided by Amazon Web Services (AWS).

During an immersive two week review, Professor Neethling examined the functionality of IES and how it compared to the current state of the art in the field. He also explored how IES is used in both industry and academia, the improvements and additional functionality that both should and could be implemented within IES, and what form IES and its support should take in the future.

“I found IES to be a user friendly and powerful simulator and I feel that there are two main benefits of IES relative to other simulation packages,” Professor Neethling said.

“The first is the Mass Simulation capability that allows it to be run with hundreds of thousands of different conditions.”

“These can be based, for instance, on resource block models, thus allowing process simulation to expand from its current roles in concentrator design and throughput debottlenecking, to be a key component in mine scheduling, budgeting and project evaluation.”

Professor Neethling said that the second important attraction of IES is that it is a key tool in a range of proven mine optimisation strategies.

“These strategies include Mine2Mill, Grade Engineering and Floatability Component modelling, and augment and extend the JKSimMet and JKSimFloat products in this role,” he said.

While in Brisbane for the IES review, Professor Neethling provided his thoughts about technology in mining. He said that the continuing decrease in ore grades coupled to the environmental and economic constraints associated with energy and water consumption are strong drivers for the need for innovation.

“The key to meeting these challenges is likely to lie in achieving both mineral liberation and gangue rejection at coarser particle sizes,” he said.

“This will require both new comminution and mineral separation technologies, the alternative is to avoid the need for liberation and leach the metal out at coarser particle sizes, although this has a range of its own challenges.”

Professor Neethling also noted that while innovative solutions such as IES are needed by the mining industry, the challenge lays with industry acceptance of new ideas.

“There are challenges in the development and implementation of new technology in the mining industry,” he said.

“A major challenge is that the scale at which mining, and minerals processing occurs means that it is hard and expensive to translate ideas from the laboratory scale up to the demonstration and industrial scales.”

“This is exacerbated by the decline in in-house research and development activity in most mining companies.”

CRC ORE approached Professor Neethling to review IES as the main areas of his research are in the modelling and simulation of multiphase flow with particular application to minerals processing. This has been accompanied by research into advanced imaging techniques to complement simulations, including micro-computed tomography (microCT) and positron emission particle tracking (PEPT) studies. This research has resulted in over 100 publications in international journals.

Professor Neethling’s work has a strong mining industry focus, with research and consulting projects carried out for a wide range of mining companies and equipment manufacturers including Anglo American, BHP, Outotec, Rio Tinto, Weir Minerals and Imerys.

CRC ORE will undertake a full assessment of Professor Neethling’s report findings and recommendations to further strengthen IES as an important tool to support future planning and decision making in mining.

CRC ORE is a Cooperative Research Centre focused on Optimising Resource Extraction for the mining sector. It delivers value through increased unit metal production, and reduced water and energy consumption.

 

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  • 24 January 2018: CRC ORE has been involved in a number of high profile events in recent months. Read more about CRC ORE’s Annual Assembly line up and a successful site-based innovation leadership talk with Sumitomo at IMARC2017. CRC ORE also cooperated with METS Ignited to organise an initial consultation session for the consideration of a new CRC for the mining industry at IMARC. A couple of short courses were held – one on Geometallurgy in Tasmania and the respected Gold Plant Operators Course which was run in Kalgoorlie late last year.

    We are in the process of putting together the schedule for the coming year. Stay tuned for a listing of upcoming events in the next edition.

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  • 5 April 2018: CRC ORE's Grade Engineering modelling programs have been strengthened over the summer thanks to the work of four motivated students who joined CRC ORE for our inaugural vacation intern program. Alex Perera, James Bamford, and Jacob Rogers joined us from The University of Queensland (UQ). Samantha Maslin joined us from the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) with the support of Austmine via its women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) initiative. Hear more about their work by clicking on the video below.

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  • 21 November 2017: The photos and presentations from this year's CRC ORE Annual Assembly have been added to our website.

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  • 30 June 2017: Two of CRC ORE’s Board Members have been recognised for excellence in their chosen fields in recent months. Dr Sue Keay has just been named one of Australia’s first Superstars of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). This follows news that Joe Pease has been recognised in two prestigious mining industry awards. Also in recent months, CRC ORE was awarded a high commendation for an “exceptional paper demonstrating excellence” in the CEEC Medal 2017 round.

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  • 30 November 2016: For presentations, photos and the wrap up of the 2016 Assembly, read on.

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  • 15 February 2016: Forward thinkers of the mining industry came together at the start of the year to celebrate the official launch of a second phase for the highly successful CRC ORE.

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  • 2 November 2015: The Directors of CRC ORE are very pleased to announce the appointment of Professor Ben Adair as Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Australian mining innovation hub, CRC ORE Limited.

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  • 6 October 2015: The CRC ORE team has moved to CSIRO's Queensland Centre for Advanced Technologies (QCAT) in Pullenvale, Brisbane.

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  • 26 May 2015:  CRC ORE is set to be funded for a second six year term with the Australian Government flagging $34.45 million to support vital ongoing work in improving the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of the minerals extraction industry.

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