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A significant proportion of the future Western Australian resource base is likely to reside in deep and complex geotechnical environments. Additionally, most major open-cut and underground operations are known to have extensions to the mineralisation, albeit at possibly lower grade. Mining methods have to adapt to allow economic and safe extraction of resources.

The research priority areas in Program 2 are intended to systematically advance knowledge and capability toward solutions for mining more ore from challenging deposits.

In doing so, the research will create engineering capability and demonstrate technical feasibility of mining more selectively and deeper to:

  • position Western Australia as a global leader in extraction technologies
  • decrease the capital and operating costs associated with mining
  • allow for safer and increased productivity from existing mines and a new generation of deposits to be brought into production

Themes and intended outcomes

Deep and complex extraction systems

Systems engineering approaches to enable mining in deep and complex conditions

Engineering in highly stressed and complex rock masses

Understanding and quantification of seismic hazard, including the dynamic behaviour of ground support elements design and systems, mine design and rock mass conditioning

Mining Technology

Equipment and processes utilising artificial intelligence and machine learning to:

  • enable automation and alternative methods of extraction, concentration and/or precision mining to extend the life of mine
  • optimise recovery and economic extraction from low-grade ores both for underground and surface mining

Data Driven Decisions

Reporting standards to deliver clarity on data needs, facilitating the development of risk-based design and decision-making frameworks, and common information management platforms with real-time data collection, for better mine planning and whole of site interoperability

Energy Utilisation

Lower overall energy costs, reduced carbon footprint and removal of hazards from mining operations through adoption of alternative energy sources

Regulatory Tools and Processes

Evidence based tools to increase confidence and provide certainty and efficiency in regulatory processes

Safety, Social and Environmental Sustainability

New processes and novel technologies which eliminate exposure to hazards, improve social wellbeing, reduce the environmental footprint and impact of mining including the reuse and disposal of processed mine waste

Workforce of the Future

An agile, adaptable and skilled workforce capable of leading and implementing mining technological changes into the future

Read the complete MRIWA Research Priority Plan

Page was last reviewed 7 August 2020

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