The University of Queensland’s Sustainable Minerals Institute (SMI) and Mining3 have been united with Newcrest Mining, Vale, OZ Minerals, BHP Billiton and PT Merdeka Copper Gold to develop Cave Mining 2040.
The international consortium will collaborate on projects aimed at developing new and improved cave mining methods that could help meet future demand for minerals.
SMI Director Professor Neville Plint said the agreement was important because it brings together two Queensland based, world class research organisations.
“We are working collaboratively with industry to unlock complex orebodies that occur at depth and require advancements in Cave mining technologies,” he said.
“We look forward to developing further partnerships to enhance Queensland’s and Australia’s reputation as a leader in research, technology and innovation.”
Mining3’s CEO Paul Lever said he was looking forward to furthering the collaboration between academia and industry.
“Involving researchers, industry and government will accelerate the required innovations and information to transform cave mining, ensuring its longevity through viable and sustainable methods,” he said.
The Cave Mining 2040 consortium was originally proposed by Professor Gideon Chitombo whose understanding of caving needs and his strong engagement with the mining industry was key to its successful formation.
The consortium aims to develop solutions that will reduce lead times and capital investment while also improving viability, safety, cost, production, and societal and environmental acceptance.
After initial consultation with established and future mine owners; mining equipment and technology services; original equipment manufacturers; and a range of other organisations a number of cave mining challenges have been identified.
The first phase of Cave Mining 2040, Horizon 1, is now underway comprising eight research areas – total deposit knowledge, cave engineering, cave establishment, mine design for new and emerging technologies, high stresses and major seismicity, macro-block design and sequencing optimisation, sublevel caving and open automation platform.