Tag Archives: Sabina Shugg

New Kalgoorlie metals research lab to pave the way for mining’s greener future

Curtin University is to open a new research lab geared towards carbon-neutral metal production paths at its Kalgoorlie campus in Western Australia.

Curtin’s WA School of Mines: Minerals, Energy and Chemical Engineering Head of School, Professor Michael Hitch, said the Kalgoorlie Metals Research Laboratory would explore cleaner alternatives through teaching and research that would pave the way for a greener future for the industry.

“The Kalgoorlie Metals Research Laboratory will provide undergraduate students with practical education in carbon-neutral metal production paths, which is particularly important given they are the generation that will help decarbonise the mining industry in the most challenging area of pyrometallurgy,” Professor Hitch said.

Iron ore processing expert, Dr John Clout, has been appointed the Professor of Practice in Pyrometallurgy at the lab with Curtin’s WA School of Mines Kalgoorlie Director, Sabina Shugg, saying he would oversee a high-tech laboratory, fitted with experimental high temperature furnace equipment, capable of simulating the complete industrial process to test renewable energy and green hydrogen sources in the metal extraction process of pyrometallurgy, which currently require fossil fuels.

“Highly respected in the field of pyrometallurgy, Professor Clout will bring real-world experience to the laboratory’s teaching and research, ensuring we contribute to a sustainable future for the Western Australia resources industry,” Shugg said.

Professor Clout said he was thrilled to support the new research hub’s development as an internationally-recognised laboratory and pilot-scale pyrometallurgical research facility for undergraduate teaching and applied research.

“The Kalgoorlie Metals Research Laboratory will aim to develop end-to-end production paths that set new standards for efficiency, value and carbon neutral management, which will ultimately support a cleaner future,” he said.

“After working in the gold, iron ore and nickel industries for more than four decades, I am especially excited to be working with the future leaders of the resources sector to find the most efficient renewable energy sources and processes for pyrometallurgy.

“There is significant potential for industry to be extracting and producing critical metals right here in Western Australia, especially in the Goldfields where there is significant scope for renewal energy production, untapped critical mineral resources, an existing infrastructure network and workforce.”

The Kalgoorlie Metals Research Laboratory has been established as the result of a A$600,000 ($443,697) grant from Curtin University.

The new research facility is also seeking support from industry and private donors for the purchase of additional equipment and ongoing industry-funded projects.

CRC ORE’s Kal Hub integrated into Curtin University’s WA School of Mines

The Kalgoorlie-Boulder Mining Innovation Hub, an initiative of the Cooperative Research Centre for Optimising Resource Extraction (CRC ORE), has, this week, transitioned to be part of Curtin University’s Western Australian School of Mines (WASM).

The Kalgoorlie-Boulder Mining Innovation Hub has been operating out of the Chamber of Mines and Energy (CME) office in Kalgoorlie, Western Australia, since 2018. It was established in the renowned Goldfields mining community thanks to a partnership between CRC ORE, Curtin University, the Minerals Research Institute of Western Australia, the City of Kalgoorlie-Boulder and CME.

CRC ORE Chief Operating Officer, Dr Luke Keeney, said he was pleased that the Kal Hub has become part of WASM and will continue this collaborative innovation.

“We are proud of what has been achieved through the Kal Hub since its inception and look forward to seeing great things under its new stewardship,” Dr Keeney said. “It is an optimal outcome that Curtin University, one of our valued Research Participants and key partner in the hub to date, is ensuring the future of the Kal Hub as a centre of mining innovation for Western Australia and beyond.”

Curtin University Kalgoorlie Campus Director, Sabina Shugg, said the Kal Hub is a welcome addition to the local campus.

“The Kalgoorlie-Boulder Mining Innovation Hub is growing in stature and already has strong ties to the University, WASM and the local community,” Shugg said. “It is fitting that the Kal Hub is now operated locally to focus on innovations and solutions for the local mining industry.”

Reflecting on the hub and its achievements while operating as a node of CRC ORE, Dr Keeney said the flagship Integrated Screening and Particle Sorting project was a standout.

“This collaborative study with Australian mining companies BHP, Norton Gold Fields and Saracen on the integration of screening and particle sorting techniques is delivering benefits across the resources sector,” Dr Keeney said. “Run through the hub, this study developed a robust and scientifically rigorous framework for collecting, testing and reporting results for integrated screening and particle sorting techniques in a variety of ore domains.”

Dr Keeney said the hub creates opportunities for innovation, collaboration, employment and education.

“We’re particularly proud of being able to engage students – mining’s future brightest minds, with the hub through the vacation student program,” he said.

As part of the transition, Kal Hub Technical Adviser, Dr Laurence Dyer, now works full time for Curtin University. He divides his time between hub projects and his existing role as Curtin’s Discipline Lead for Metallurgical Engineering.

“I’m looking forward to continuing to support collaborative innovation throughout the Goldfields region and beyond,” Dr Dyer said.

Curtin University is planning several new initiatives for the Kal Hub including scaling up an existing major water management project and new partnerships with leading mining technology providers.