CSIRO opens world-class drill core research lab

CSIRO has formally opened its latest state-of-the-art research facility, the Geoscience Drill Core Research Laboratory, at the Advanced Resources Research Centre in Perth.
CSIRO opens world-class drill core research lab CSIRO opens world-class drill core research lab CSIRO opens world-class drill core research lab CSIRO opens world-class drill core research lab CSIRO opens world-class drill core research lab

L-R: Bill Johnston, Kirsten Rose and Dr Robert Hough

The A$7 million lab, the only one of its kind in Australia, brings together a suite of advanced mineral characterisation equipment, including CSIRO's unique Maia Mapper, specialised for drill core analysis and research.

The facility was formally opened yesterday by Western Australian mines minister Bill Johnston.

Johnston said exploration expenditure in WA was up 21% this year and now accounted for just over two thirds of all the exploration in Australia.

"We recognise the need to continue to support the industry on the research and development, on the exploration side," he said.

"We've done research that shows for each million dollars of investment that the government makes them to exploration activity, we get $3 million."

Acting director of CSIRO Mineral Resources Dr Rob Hough said the lab's combination of advanced mining, equipment, technology and services (METS) instrumentation alongside CSIRO's existing advanced characterisation facilities gave researchers and industry the opportunity to study drill core samples at multiple scales.

"This facility will give researchers and their industry partners the tools to discover and recover the quality resources required for Australia to sustainably support a global energy transition," he said.

CSIRO executive director Kirsten Rose said as Australia's national science agency, CSIRO sought to solve the greatest challenges through innovative science and technology.

"Today is a great example of that," she said.

"Our minerals research resources research is focused on supporting our mining and resources industry to become more productive, sustainable, and globally competitive for the benefit of Australia and the world.

"We have one of the largest minerals and minerals research and development groups in the world, with a proud track record in delivering innovation and solutions across the mineral resources value chain.

"This facility enhances our ability to drive even greater innovation benefit for our industry and research partners to prosper, long into the future."

Separately this week, CSIRO and CRC ORE formed a future research program to achieve a step change in the sustainability of mines.

The program will expand upon CRC ORE's foundation research into the development of ore preconcentration technologies that can be deployed within the mine and ahead of the mineral processing plant.

The new research scope will investigate ways to apply these principles further down the mining value chain, targeting smaller particle sizes and a wider range of ore types.

Focus areas will include the incorporation of the principles of selective breakage into the design and operation of comminution circuits; the optimisation of ore feed to coarse and fine particle separators to enhance their performance; step change reductions in energy and water intensity; and the development of new options for sustainable management of waste material.