Tag Archives: CSIRO

Metso Outotec and CSIRO to cooperate on SwirlFlow agitation tech for bauxite, alumina sector

Metso Outotec and Australia’s national science agency, CSIRO, have signed a global exclusive cooperation agreement on the delivery of SwirlFlow® agitation technology for the bauxite and alumina sector outside of China.

The combination of the companies’ leading expertise in their respective fields will allow the parties to create the strongest offering to the market for the use of SwirlFlow technology in the refinery precipitation tanks, Metso Outotec said.

“Sustainability is a top priority for Metso Outotec,” Dr Alessio Scarsella, Director of Light Metals at Metso Outotec, said. “In addition to our own investments to develop technology for sustainable alumina processing, we are pleased to be able to announce our cooperation with CSIRO. This will allow us to meet our customers’ growing demand such as lower capital installation, reduced spare parts costs and increase in precipitation tank availability.”

Andrew Jenkin, Research Program Director for Processing at CSIRO, added: “CSIRO’s leading technology in SwirlFlow agitation has been pioneered at a Tier One refinery precipitation tanks, leading to significantly reduced maintenance costs and improved operational time between descaling events.”

SwirlFlow, according to CSIRO, enhances the agitation process by mixing liquids and suspended solids to create a tornado-like vortex in a tank. The solution uses a motor, gearbox and a specially-designed radial impeller with a short shaft near the top of the tank. The system improves agitator reliability, resulting in reduced maintenance and shutdowns. And, due to higher and more uniform wall veolcities, the scale formation rate is also reduced.

Chrysos Corp adds Britannia Mining, Kibali to PhotonAssay customer base

Chrysos Corp continues to expand the reach of its PhotonAssay™ technology, with the company set to provide new units to Britannia Mining Solutions, Intertek and Barrick Gold’s Kibali gold mine.

This brings the total number of deployed or contractually committed units to 38, up from the previous total of 33 units, with the new lease contracts increasing Chrysos’ total contract value by A$108.6 million to A$559.8 million ($386.8 million).

Two five-year leases (with five-year renewal options) have been signed with new customer Canada-based Britannia Life Sciences to deploy PhotonAssay units across its newly formed North American subsidiary, Britannia Mining Solutions. The contract specifies the deployment of an initial two PhotonAssay units while providing the opportunity for further expansion of the agreement in the future.

Two other new lease contracts highlight Chrysos’ growing relationship with international testing, inspection and certification company, Intertek (ITK). The association, which started with the installation in 2021 of two PhotonAssay units at ITK’s Minerals Global Centre of Excellence in Perth, Western Australia, has since expanded to include another already-operating unit in Perth and the upcoming deployment of two new units on a five-year plus five-year-option contract basis for the ITK business in Ghana.

Chrysos says one recently commissioned PhotonAssay unit is now operating in Val d’Or, Canada, with MSALABS, and another unit is now fully operational in Kalgoorlie, Western Australia, with ALS, it added.

Furthermore, Barrick Gold is expanding its adoption of PhotonAssay technology, with one of MSALABS’ already-committed PhotonAssay units to be deployed to Barrick’s Kibali gold mine in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Barrick, in partnership with MSALABS Ltd, installed a Chrysos PhotonAssay laboratory at the Bulyanhulu mine in Tanzania last year.

Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Dirk Treasure, said: “This is an exciting time for our business as we continue to execute our expansion plans and focus on key international mining hubs.

“With increasing demand, a strong pipeline of blue-chip customers and our global market penetration continuing at pace, we feel the business is well positioned to meet its ongoing strategic and operational objectives.”

PhotonAssay, Chrysos says, delivers faster, safer and more accurate analysis of gold, silver and complementary elements by non-destructive measurement of larger and more representative samples in as little as two minutes, enabling rapid turnaround of critical operational information that drives optimisation throughout the mining value chain.

The system, originally developed at Australia’s national science agency, CSIRO, provides an environmentally friendly, chemical-free, more sustainable replacement for traditional fire assay methods, significantly reducing CO2 emissions and hazardous waste.

Chrysos went public on the Australian Securities Exchange earlier this month following a successful, fully underwritten IPO, raising A$183.5 million at A$6.50 per share.

CSIRO unveils Geoscience Drill Core Research Laboratory in Perth

Australia’s national science agency, CSIRO, has unveiled its latest state-of-the-art research facility, the Geoscience Drill Core Research Laboratory, at the Advanced Resources Research Centre in Perth, Australia.

The only facility of its kind in Australia, the A$7 million ($5.2 million) lab brings together a suite of advanced mineral characterisation equipment, including CSIRO’s unique Maia Mapper, specialised for drill core analysis and research.

Acting Director of CSIRO Mineral Resources, Dr Rob Hough, says the lab’s combination of advanced mining, equipment, technology and services instrumentation alongside CSIRO’s existing advanced characterisation facilities, gives researchers and industry the opportunity to study drill core samples at multiple scales.

“Exploration and mining companies commit large investment in drill core operations to be able to peer beneath the surface to understand orebodies and uncover new underground resources,” Dr Hough said.

“This unique facility is able to maximise data from drill core samples, enabling characterisation across scales; from big picture analyses on kilometres of drill core through to the elemental composition of rock on a microscale.”

Extracting more data from drill core analyses will help unlock Australian critical minerals by providing information that drives key decisions for the discovery, mining and processing of resources, CSIRO said.

“This facility will give researchers and their industry partners the tools to discover and recover the quality resources required for Australia to sustainably support a global energy transition,” Dr Hough said.

CSIRO’s Geoscience Drill Core Research Laboratory is a test bed platform that provides the infrastructure for the research community to work with industry to develop new workflows to enhance success and productivity in mineral exploration and mining, working in collaborative projects with industry.

CEO of the Minerals Research Institute of Western Australia, Nicole Roocke, said the laboratory will support industry and researchers working together to develop a better understanding of Australia’s mineral endowment.

“Faster analysis of drill core by a range of cutting-edge techniques in this facility will speed up the development and testing of new ideas about how mineral systems develop, and help our leading researchers identify new clues to recognising undiscovered orebodies,” Roocke said.

The facility will also provide a new training ground for students, supporting development of the next generation of geoscientists to become innovators for the resources sector.

The Geoscience Drill Core Research Laboratory and Maia Mapper were funded by CSIRO and the Science and Industry Endowment Fund, with co-investment from the University of Western Australia and Curtin University.

CRC ORE, CSIRO look at broadening pre-concentration tech applications

CRC ORE and Australia’s national science agency, CSIRO, have formed a Future Research Program to, they say, take CRC ORE’s most promising fields of research into new areas to broaden the impact on the Australian mining industry and economy.

This work will boost the sustainability of the mining industry by helping reduce energy and water consumption, generation of tailings and residues, the physical footprint of operations, as well as optimise the extraction of valuable minerals from resources, the companies said.

The Future Research Program, launched in September 2021, will ensure the work of CRC ORE and its research continues to benefit the Australian mining industry.

The program will expand upon CRC ORE’s foundation research into the development of ore pre-concentration technologies that can be deployed within the mine and ahead of the mineral processing plant. The new research scope will investigate ways to apply these principles further down the mining value chain, targeting smaller particle sizes and a wider range of ore types.

Focus areas will include:

  • Incorporating the principles of Selective Breakage into the design and operation of comminution circuits;
  • Optimising ore feed to coarse and fine particle separators to enhance their performance;
  • Step change reductions in energy and water intensity; and
  • Developing new options for sustainable management of waste material

CRC ORE’s former General Manager of Research and Innovation, Paul Revell, who is now overseeing the program at CSIRO, said, if successful, the research will increase the number of potential locations where pre-concentration can be deployed, providing a larger overall impact for the minerals industry.

“Our aim is to extend the resource base that pre-concentration can be applied to,” Revell said. “The pre-concentration technology developed through CRC ORE is currently best suited to structurally controlled, vein-hosted ores, however these only represent about one third of the resource base on average.

“A key ambition of the new program is, therefore, to initiate research into technologies that can pre-concentrate disseminated ores. This group of ore types can be difficult to pre-concentrate with contemporary mineral processing technology, however they host a significant proportion of valuable base and precious metals.”

Revell said some 3% of global direct energy consumption is used in the mining industry just in crushing rock, so if pre-concentration technology could be applied more broadly across the resource base, it would have a wider global environmental and economic impact.

“The opportunity is to develop more energy efficient crushing and grinding processes that are integrated with a pre-concentration capability, to remove as much barren material from the ore as possible prior to subjecting the remaining ore to energy and water intensive fine grinding and concentration processes,” he said. “We’re focusing on the largest energy consuming portion of the mining value chain.”

Revell said it was important to note that the program is initially small scale and aims to undertake preliminary research into these areas that others could then build upon.

The program will be run for an initial three years with the possibility for extension through continuing industry sponsorship and collaboration.

“We will explore opportunities to engage with the mining industry to build a self-sustaining and on-going applied research portfolio in this field to advance promising developments to commercialisation,” Revell said.

“We are fortunate to have CSIRO as a research partner who are supportive, share this vision, and have a depth of research capability and excellent facilities.”

The program will also support CRC ORE’s mission to help build a highly skilled workforce for the nation amid an ongoing skills shortage in the resources sector. It will initially support a number of Research Higher Degree scholarships, which will be fully funded and placed across several selected Australian universities.

“One of CRC ORE’s key objectives has always been to build research capacity across Australia, which it did very successfully during its government-funded term,” Revell said. “By taking this new seed research and offering higher degree students a Masters degree or a PhD, it will build capacity for the minerals industry as well as getting the work done. It’s a great outcome.”

CSIRO Mineral Resources’ A/Director, Dr Rob Hough, said CSIRO is looking forward to commencing activities within the Future Research Program, initiated in partnership with CRC ORE.

“The R&D focus areas align well with our existing initiatives and plans, which have significant potential to positively impact the Australian minerals industry,” Dr Hough said.

Chrysos PhotonAssay lab up and running at Barrick’s Bulyanhulu

Barrick Gold, in partnership with MSALABS Ltd, has successfully installed a Chrysos PhotonAssay™ laboratory at its Bulyanhulu mine in Tanzania – the first in Africa and in its global operations.

This new technique, Chrysos says, delivers faster, safer and more accurate analysis of gold, silver and complementary elements by non-destructive measurement of larger and more representative samples in as little as two minutes, enabling rapid turnaround of critical operational information that drives optimisation throughout the mining value chain.

The system, originally developed at Australia’s national science agency, CSIRO, provides an environmentally friendly, chemical-free, more sustainable replacement for traditional fire assay methods, significantly reducing CO2 emissions and hazardous waste, according to Barrick.

Introducing the new system to media at the mine, Barrick President and Chief Executive Mark Bristow said it was part of the group’s continuing drive to harness technological innovation in the service of operational excellence, occupational safety and environmental care.

Bulyanhulu is in northwest Tanzania and is a narrow-vein gold mine containing gold, silver and copper mineralisation in sulphides.

The unit, which is also the company’s first deployment directly to a mine site, is part of a collaboration with MSALABS, a subsidiary of Capital Ltd, which will see at least seven Chrysos PhotonAssay units installed across the globe over the next 18 months, Chrysos says.

Dirk Treasure, Chrysos Corporation Chief Executive, said: “We are confident that PhotonAssay’s faster, safer and environmentally-friendly process not only aligns with Barrick’s focus on operational excellence through technology adoption, but also reflects and enhances its global reputation as a leader in sustainable mining and exploration.”

He added: “Our ambitious plan is to deploy 80 PhotonAssay units over the next five years. At that point, with each unit capable of processing up to 480,000 samples per annum, we will be helping our customers reduce CO2 emissions by an estimated 18,000 t and decrease hazardous waste by approximately 12,000 t every year.”

The company anticipates further acceleration of demand over the coming years in a worldwide market with room for approximately 350 units.

Nexxis wins AMGC backing for Magneto robotic technology development

Perth, Western Australia-based robotics company Nexxis has been awarded a A$675,000 ($491,420) Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre (AMGC) Commercialisation Fund grant to assist its efforts commercialising its Magneto technology.

In August, Nexxis unveiled the world’s first fully design-approved EX-rated robotic camera inspection device – Magneto-EX. The spider-like device with its magnetic feet is the first developed system suitable for use in hazardous area inspections, according to Nexxis.

The A$675,000 grant recognises the value Nexxis is bringing to resources technology and critical minerals processing, one of the Federal Government’s six National Manufacturing Priorities, Nexxis says.

Nexxis Founder and Director, Jason De Silveira, said: “Receiving a share of the AMGC Commercialisation Fund will assist Nexxis create jobs, gain new market exposure and continue to drive innovation in the fast-emerging robotics and tech space. Our team is invested in research and development, engineering and manufacturing to develop transformational technologies across a range of sectors vital to Western Australia and Australia’s economic success.

“Robots such as our spider-like robotic crawler, Magneto, designed in our state-of-the-art headquarters in Perth, are revolutionising the energy and mining industries, putting Western Australian innovation on the global map.”

The funding will help accelerate the speed to commercialisation while allowing Nexxis to develop and scale the workforce required to be a global robotic technology company, the company says.

De Silveira said Nexxis had worked closely with partners NERA and CSIRO’s Data61 through the development of Magneto and were now positioning to take its latest technology to market.

“Our goal is to deliver leading-edge inspection, testing and measuring robots – among a range of other equipment – at fleet scale to Australia and the world across a range of industries,” he said.

“The AMGC Commercialisation Fund is helping us take those next steps.”

Glencore showcases automated longwall advancements at Oaky Creek

Glencore has highlighted the advances it has made in longwall automation at its Oaky Creek underground coal mine in Queensland, Australia, during a visit from the Federal Minister for Resources and Water, Keith Pitt.

The minister met production crews and was given a demonstration of the mine’s automated longwall, the company says.

Using ‘ExScan’ laser technology developed by CSIRO’s Centre for Advanced Technologies, Oaky Creek has become the first coal mine in Australia to fully automate its underground longwall operation, according to the company.

ExScan technology (picture courtesy of CSIRO) has a laser scanner and associated software capable of generating real time 3D maps of tunnels, walls and cavities underground where global positioning systems cannot penetrate, CSIRO says. These maps can be used for locating, steering and navigating equipment and vehicles.

At Oaky Creek, an above-ground control centre operates the longwall using 3D scans of the mining area recorded by ExScan sensors and transmitted to the surface.

The minister also saw how Glencore’s coal business is leading the way on land rehabilitation and emission reduction, the company says.

To date, Oaky Creek has achieved 132.8 ha of certified rehabilitation and, in the last year, cut emissions by up to 840,000 t of CO2-e by using methane emissions for electricity generation.

“That is roughly equivalent to greenhouse gas emissions avoided from 182,683 passenger vehicles driven for one year,” it says.

Ian Cribb, Chief Operating Officer for Glencore’s coal business in Australia, said: “Glencore has a world-class coal business in Australia and we welcomed the opportunity to show Minister Pitt some of the leading practices we have implemented, particularly around safety and gas management.”

Chrysos Corp raises A$50 million to fund PhotonAssay tech expansion drive

Australia-based Chrysos Corporation has successfully completed an equity placement, raising A$50 million ($37 million) of funds to, it says, meet accelerating demand for its PhotonAssay™ technology from miners, explorers and laboratories across the globe.

The technology is billed as being able to displace slower, more hazardous and toxic assay processes. It delivers faster, safer, more accurate and environmentally friendly analysis of gold, silver and complementary elements in as little as two minutes, according to the company.

Dirk Treasure, Chrysos Chief Executive Officer, said: “We are delighted with the support we’ve received from investors as we enter this exciting phase of our expansion strategy. Through effective planning and execution, we have built a long runway of sustainable growth and are well positioned to realise PhotonAssay’s immense potential in this attractive and progressive market.”

Chrysos says it has entered a transformative stage with the PhotonAssay technology already deployed and in-use with industry leaders, including the world’s third largest laboratory group, Intertek, geochemical laboratory services provider, MSALABS, and top-tier miners including Barrick and Kirkland Lake Gold.

The company maintains a strong sales pipeline and has contracts secured for a further nine units, which represents 150% growth on its current deployments and locking in its manufacturing capacity for the next 12 months, it said. This will bring the total number of deployed and committed PhotonAssay units to 15.

Chrysos anticipates accelerating demand over the coming years in a worldwide market with room for approximately 350 units.

Treasure added: “Our ambitious plan is to deploy 80 PhotonAssay units over the next five years. At that point, with each unit capable of processing up to 480,000 samples per annum, we will be helping our customers reduce CO2 emissions by an estimated 18,000 t and decrease hazardous waste by approximately 12,000 t every year.”

PhotonAssay units are leased to mines and analytical laboratories under long-term renewable contracts, with customers paying per sample processed. As a non-discretionary element of the mining value chain, the technology offers an attractive operating expenditure model for customers and delivers a high margin, long-life annuity revenue stream back to Chrysos.

Chrysos’ PhotonAssay technology was originally conceived at Australia’s national science agency, CSIRO, which remains a significant shareholder.

Curtin Uni to tap new acoustic sensing tech for Australian resource extraction

A Curtin University research team will work to bring leading broadband fibre optic acoustic sensing technology to the Australian mining, oil and gas and environmental monitoring industries, offering, the university says, a more cost-effective and safer resource extraction process.

As part of the Australian Government’s Global Innovation Linkages Program, the team – led by Professor Roman Pevzner from Curtin’s WA School of Mines: Minerals, Energy and Chemical Engineering – will partner with international collaborators to test the viability of the technology in the Australian landscape.

The project will seek to produce a suite of passive and active geophysical data acquisition and analysis techniques based on broadband fibre optic sensing that aim to significantly reduce the cost of geophysical characterisation of the subsurface and develop a safer resource extraction process, it said.

Curtin University Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research Professor, Chris Moran, said the Curtin research project sought to ensure Australia was not left behind by the latest global advances in fibre optic acoustic sensing technology.

“Despite Australia’s leading role in the deployment and application of fibre optic sensing for research, the current uptake of this technology in the Australian industry lags behind world leaders such as the USA and the UK,” Professor Moran said.

“Demonstrating the benefits of fibre optic technology in Australian conditions in cooperation with our major oil and gas producers will help accelerate the uptake of this technology in the sector, as well as the wider mining and environmental monitoring industries.”

Professor Pevzner said the project would develop technologies that use ambient seismic energy and physical phenomena, including remote earthquakes, ocean microseisms and human activity, through laboratory and field studies.

“Our Curtin team has developed, patented and commercialised a forced-oscillation stress-strain method and equipment for measuring different properties of rocks at seismic and sub-seismic frequencies,” Professor Pevzner said.

“As part of this new project, we will integrate fibre optic sensing technology into our apparatus with the ultimate aim of delivering cost-saving and safer resource extraction processes to Australia’s critically important resources sector.”

As part of the project, Curtin will work with CSIRO, Santos, Woodside and global leaders in seismology and fibre optic sensing in the application to geosciences such as Lawrence Berkley National Laboratory, Iowa State University, Class VI Solutions and Silixa Ltd.

Nexxis unveils first EX-rated robotic camera device for hazardous area inspections

The world’s first fully design-approved EX-rated robotic camera inspection device – Magneto-EX – was officially unveiled in Perth, Western Australia, yesterday.

The brainchild of Western Australia-based robotics firm Nexxis, the spider-like device with its magnetic feet is the first developed system suitable for use in hazardous area inspections, according to Nexxis.

Nexxis’ managing director, Jason De Silveira, says Magneto-EX is a game changer for any industry where there is a need for hazardous, confined space inspections.

“Whether it’s operating at heights, deep underground or in the presence of toxic chemicals, industrial worksites are dangerous places,” he said. “And confined spaces pose the biggest risk in terms of death or injury. Anything that can be done to keep humans out of these environments is a great step forward.

“Until now, robotic inspections haven’t been possible in confined and hazardous spaces due to the risk of ignition. But Magneto-EX changes all that. With its design approved, EX-certification, our prototype can work safely and reliably in the most extreme conditions, alleviating the risk to human operators.”

Working in confined spaces is estimated to be 100-150 times more hazardous than operating on an open site. By their nature, confined spaces are not designed for people to work in with poor ventilation allowing for hazardous atmospheres to quickly develop.

“With its stable navigation and seamless movement, Magneto-EX can place its feet in small gaps and on narrow beams, adapting its body configuration to navigate complex geometry and through narrow apertures,” De Silveira says.

“We’re confident Magneto-EX will not only save lives but will also dramatically reduce downtime costs at an industry-wide level.”

Western Australia’s Minister for Innovation and ICT, the Hon Don Punch MLA, said the state government was a proud supporter of the Western Australia-based robotics firm.

“Nexxis’ Magneto-EX is a prime example of how the Western Australia’s robotics sector is thriving and competing globally,” Punch said.

“Innovation has an important role to play in growing and diversifying the state’s economy, and the Western Australian Government is committed to nurturing local innovators.”

Western Australia Chief Scientist Professor, Peter Klinken, added: “Nexxis is a prime example of how innovative and technological expertise can be found right here in Western Australia. It’s fantastic to have a world leading robotics company based in Western Australia and I look forward to seeing Magneto-EX make a real difference to safety levels in the resources sector and beyond.”

Magneto-EX has been developed with the financial assistance and industry support of NERA (National Energy Resources Australia) as well as CSIRO’s Data61 and SixDe.

NERA’s CEO, Miranda Taylor, said it had been exciting to help Nexxis on its journey.

“NERA’s support of Nexxis dates back to 2018 when they were a team of just eight, and it’s been wonderful to have been able to provide that early support to them as they have grown,” Taylor said. “We’re so excited about the Magneto-EX project which we think can both help cut costs but more importantly save lives.

“The next step is for Nexxis to partner with some early adopters in industry and trial and refine the device, all leading to a commercially available version sometime next year.

“Nexxis is helping to position Australia as a world-leader in automated robotic inspection research and manufacturing. They’re already exporting robotic parts to help with the clean-up at the Fukushima nuclear plant. Magneto-EX is a major step forward in safer inspections in the industry.”