Once a mine responsible for producing around half a million carats of diamonds, including Australia’s largest of the gems, the Merlin mine has been mothballed since 2016. But with financial concerns fading and new owners, Lucapa Diamond, eager to restart operations, what will come of one of Australia’s most famous diamond mines, and can it live up to its now decades-old promise?

Elsewhere, we look ahead to the next 12 months, and ask what the next year could hold in store for Australian mining, and look overseas, to investigate the role of South Korean trade in securing Australia’s critical minerals future.

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In this issue

Could Merlin be forever? Inside Australia’s newest diamond mine

While not a new project, the Northern Territory’s Merlin diamond mine has been given a new lease of life by its acquisition by Lucapa Diamond, which has released a scoping study that could lay the groundwork for future commercial production. Abigail Armstrong looks at the site’s 20-year history, and asks what lessons can be learned ahead of operations restarting next year?

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A new deal: inside Australia and South Korea’s critical minerals strategy

Heidi Vella explores a new strategic agreement between Australia and South Korea, which aims to strengthen the supply and demand of critical minerals between the two nations.

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Australia’s Northern Territory: red earth paved with gold?

The Red Centre is a challenging yet immensely beautiful setting, and is crucial to Australia’s economy thanks to its profusion of rare earths. But, as Andrew Tunnicliffe reports, for all its offerings, the Northern Territory is intrinsically linked to a part of the country that most not be ignored: its heritage.

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2022 predictions: will China continue its ban of Australian coal?

In 2020, China banned the importation of Australian coal. With a phase down of coal expected to occur over the next decade, Zachary Skidmore asks if this ban could prove a permanent fixture, permeating the relations between the two pacific states.

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Talking sensory warning systems with Hetech

The application of advanced sensory systems has proliferated across mine sites over the last decade to alleviate the threats posed by tailing dam failures. Zachary Skidmore speaks to Mark Steiner, managing director of Hetech about its new sensory system.

Read more.https://mine.nridigital.com/mine_australia_jan22/sensory_warning_hetech

Next issue: FIFO workers

Fly-in fly-out workers are a backbone of the Australian mining industry, yet the profession has seen its fair share of pressure in recent years. From longstanding challenges surrounding mental health that have been exacerbated by the pandemic, to new risks such as the danger of Covid-19 transmission among workers, those working in remote locations have never been more critical, and the risks to their health never more obvious. How can companies and lawmakers work to balance protection and productivity in the sector?