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Project Overview

Project Number
Total Grant Value
MRIWA Contribution
Project Theme
Value adding through mineral processing
Project Period
2022 - 2022

The Challenge

The mining industry requires a specific innovation focus as it is typified by high capital investment and slow clock speed. It has different constraints and objectives than the faster cycle industries. This is particularly the case with innovation in new types of requirements for metals.

New demand for metals including rapidly changing technical requirements for:

  • digital equipment
  • renewable energy builds
  • chemical processing advancements
  • electrification of industry

How can the mining industry accelerate the supply of critical minerals to meet increasing metals demand from new technologies?

Proposed Solution

The study seeks to identify clusters of strategic and technical Critical Minerals lending themselves to common technical and research solutions, and to define solution sets whose development could unlock or accelerate the creation of value from those resources in Australia.

Specific solution sets to be considered in the study are defined as: Exploration technology, Extractive technology, Processing technology, Recycling technology, Digital and Analytics technology, Energy technology, and Environmental management.

The study will then consider three time-horizons with regard to solution benefit on each Critical Mineral:

  1. Horizon 1 (current) – Existing, proven technology and processes can be applied to increase supply.
  2. Horizon 2 (breakthrough) – New methods and/or technologies are required to increase supply.
  3. Horizon 3 (unknown) – New methods and technology need to be identified to make mining feasible.

A report will be published in December 2022 including results of surveys around the solutions sets and the outcomes of the round table sessions with industry and researchers.

Proposed Benefits to WA

The proposed State of Play solution runs parallel to MRIWA’s priority Research Programs. The study outputs would be expected to be directly relevant to MRIWA decision making and analysis of opportunities. The insights could help accelerate projects in these priority programs.

The benefit of defining value opportunities common to multiple commodities with multiple industry participants will be an enabler for potential Critical Minerals projects. The consideration of multiple time horizon impacts from technology solutions could also support strategic investment in R&D to benefit Western Australia.

Keywords: Critical Minerals, Rare Earths, Platinum, Nickel, Lithium, Cobalt, Manganese, PGM, minerals processing renewable energy

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Page was last reviewed 10 November 2022

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