Tag Archives: University of Newcastle

New research collective to examine grinding mill process

Bradken, as part of a research collective, is to work on a project aimed at delivering a digital step-change in grinding mill design and performance.

The company, which specialises in equipment wear parts and services, made the announcement following the award of an Australian Government grant of A$545,000 ($362,264) for the project, which will focus on comminution and developing super-accurate simulations of the grinding mill process, it said.

Bradken Global Research and Development Manager, Reece Attwood, said the potentially game-changing project would give global mining and resources operators the ability to precisely target grinding efficiency, mill liner service life, power consumption and carbon emissions, to optimise their operations.

“The constant evolution of the global raw material market and the changing needs of our customers’ demands that Bradken innovates so we can deliver solutions that offer improved productivity, but on a whole new level,” Attwood said.

“This exciting project aims to accelerate improvements in mill design through development of an enhanced digital twin while, combining a number of technologies such as IoT instrumentation, enhanced simulation techniques and deep learning.”

The project will be hosted by the University of Newcastle through its flagship research institute, the Newcastle Institute for Energy and resources (NIER) in collaboration with the University of New South Wales and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), as well as international involvement from Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands.

Attwood said Bradken and the University of Newcastle had a long history of partnerships.

“Working with organisations like the University of Newcastle brings a bigger mix of ideas from a wider range of backgrounds all focused on the same significant challenge,” he said. “This collaboration will help generate the innovation our industry and our customers need to take the next step forward.”

Chief Investigator on the project, Professor Craig Wheeler, from the University of Newcastle, said the cross-disciplinary team will merge expertise from solids processing and artificial intelligence to develop new computational algorithms.

“Our work will enhance the design and maintenance of key industrial equipment, predict wear and optimise the design of key components to improve the life of machinery to process minerals,” Professor Wheeler said.

Leading the project for Bradken is Senior Research Scientist – Process Control, Dr Wei Chen, who, according to Bradken, has extensive experience in both industry research and applied numerical modelling.

Dr Chen said: “Partnering with a group of leading research experts from Australia and abroad, gives us access to world class thinking in IoT, deep learning and numerical modelling.

“Together we’ll go through a rigorous experimental and numerical research program that we expect will deliver considerable benefits for our customers around the world.

“Involving our customers in the research process through site trials will keep us together at the forefront of mineral processing technology.”

Work on the project is planned to get underway in March.

Australia Government provides funding for beneficiation research

The Australia Government says it has backed a new research centre to develop more selective and faster methods for the separation of valuable minerals.

Minister for Education Dan Tehan, earlier this week, said the government would provide A$35 million ($24 million) to establish the Australian Research Council (ARC) Centre of Excellence for Enabling Eco-Efficient Beneficiation of Minerals.

The centre, a partnership between ARC and the University of Newcastle, will be led by Professor Kevin Galvin and based at the university.

The centre will see the University of Newcastle collaborate with researchers from seven Australian universities, CSIRO, industry partner organisations, as well as leading international researchers, according to the university.

“Some minerals are becoming difficult to access and extract, while high usage of energy and water in processing make it expensive and environmentally demanding,” Professor Galvin said. “These pressures make it urgent that we transform the value addition of mineral processing, known as beneficiation, to achieve a step-change reduction in the environmental footprint.

“Through this investment, more than 70 PhD students and 15 post-doctoral researchers will work towards achieving ‘transformational’ solutions, working across multiple research disciplines. For the students, it offers a once-in-a lifetime opportunity to be part of a world-first project that can make a practical difference to the future of this planet.

“This new dawn will ensure a sustainable and competitive future for a critical Australian industry, involving a whole new generation of scientists and engineers.”

University of Newcastle Vice-Chancellor Professor, Alex Zelinsky AO, believes the research will lead to a sustainable future for Australia’s mining industry.

“We’re delighted to receive this significant funding, which will enable us to carry out world-leading research into developing more efficient and environmentally-friendly mining processes,” Professor Zelinsky said.

“The work of the centre can help propel us closer to zero-emission mining by doubling energy and water productivity and reducing the loss of high value metals during processing by up to 90%, helping secure the future of the metals we depend on for modern living.

“This is a prime example of how our university is at the forefront of providing solutions to major environmental issues.”