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New research hub to increase value of Australian copper

Education

A MAJOR new research hub to improve the quality of Australian copper was launched today in Adelaide, South Australia.

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The Australian Research Council (ARC) Research Hub for Australian Copper-Uranium, based at the University of Adelaide, involves key industry, university and government partners in South Australia and nationally to increase the value of Australia’s $6 billion-a-year copper industry

The hub is tasked with finding new ways of removing other metals from copper deposits, which can reduce the quality of the copper, and to ensure these new methods are suitable for industry-level operations.

Professor Stephen Grano, the director of the new ARC Research Hub for Australian Copper-Uranium, said much of South Australia's copper deposits are very fine intergrowths of a range of different metals and minerals, which adds technical challenges to achieve high-purity copper concentrates ready for market.

“Being able to find cost-effective ways of removing other metals from copper concentrates will provide a boost to the industry's economic prosperity, as well as its environmental sustainability. This work will help to ensure Australia is a world leader in copper production and associated technology,” Professor Grano says.

The ARC awarded $2.52 million to the University of Adelaide to establish the research hub. In addition, industry partners are contributing a further $5.55 million in cash and in-kind support over five years.

South Australian Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis welcomed the new hub, which he said would provide a boost for one of South Australia’s most significant commodities.

“As one of the world’s largest copper producers, maximising the value of copper ore by the commercialisation of safe and cost- effective ways of separating uranium from copper concentrates is of enormous benefit to the State’s economy,” he said.

The ARC Research Hub for Australian Copper-Uranium is led by the University of Adelaide’s Institute for Mineral and Energy Resources. It is funded by the Australian Government through the ARC’s Industrial Transformation Research Hubs scheme.

Partners include mining companies BHP Billiton and OZ Minerals, the Department of State Development, Defence Science and Technology Group, Environment Protection Authority South Australia, Flinders University, Monash University, University College London (UCL) Australia, and the University of Queensland.

This is a Creative Commons story from The Lead South Australia, a news service providing stories about innovation in South Australia. Please feel free to use the story in any form of media. The story sources are linked in with the copy and all contacts are willing to talk further about the story.

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