The University of Adelaide in Australia has announced the opening of a new mining research hub.
The new Australian Research Council (ARC) Research Hub for Australian Copper-Uranium is expected to add value to the country's $6bn-a-year copper industry. It involves key industry, university, and government partners from South Australia and nationally.
ARC Research Hub for Australian Copper-Uranium director Stephen Grano said: "Much of South Australia's copper deposits are actually very fine intergrowths of a range of different metals and minerals.
"This introduces additional technical challenges for industry, which needs to achieve high-purity copper concentrates ready for market."
Opening of the new hub is aimed at discovering new cost-effective methods of removing other metals from copper deposits and ensure they are suitable for industry-level operations.
The university secured $2.52m from the ARC to establish the facility. A further $5.55m in cash and in-kind support will be given by BHP Billiton, OZ Minerals and the Department of State Development up to 2020.
University of Adelaide vice-chancellor and president Warren Bebbington said: "This new research hub will translate our mining research into real economic outcomes for the state.
"The strong support from the resource sector and government illustrates its importance for the future of industry."
The new ARC hub is expected to provide a boost for one of South Australia's significant commodities.
In addition, the state government is providing $500,000 over four years towards the testing and commercialisation of safe methods of separating uranium from copper concentrates.
OZ Minerals and the University of Adelaide signed a partnership in June to collaborate on new research projects that have direct interest to both parties.
The primary focus was on areas such as geology and exploration, resource characterisation, mine to mill optimisation, geometallurgy and infrastructure development.