SMI-ICE CHILE creating change in the global minerals industry

8 May 2019
Professor David Mulligan

An additional three years of funding from the Chilean government will see the Sustainable Minerals Institute’s International Centre of Excellence in Chile (SMI-ICE-Chile) continue to grow as a force for change in the minerals industry.

SMI-ICE-Chile Director Professor David Mulligan said the funding reflects the growing demand for pragmatic, sustainable practices and technology in the minerals industry.

“The International Centre of Excellence in Chile is building into as one of South America’s most respected minerals research centres, and has created an excellent platform and framework for new opportunities to work with industry, government, and academia”, he said.

“Our potential involvement in developing the Chilean Clean Technologies Institute, which the Chilean government’s Production Development Corporation (CORFO) put out an international call for last year, is a great example of that.

“As part of a combined Australian effort, we are proactively expressing our interest in the Institute, which will have major applied research programs on solar energy, low emission mining, and lithium-based advanced materials and a commitment to sustainability, much like the Sustainable Minerals Institute (SMI).

“Delegates from UQ and the SMI have met several times with Chilean stakeholders and, until the ‘Request for Information’ stage ends on 20 May, will be discussing the technical program and a collaborative partnership strategy.”


Escondida Copper Mine, Chile

In addition, the first quarter of 2019 saw SMI-ICE-Chile launch a number of new projects connected to the Chilean minerals industry.

“Our researchers are leading projects in areas like water interconnection, cobalt metallurgical recovery, community relations strategies, and gangue leachability.

“This work is in collaboration with both local and international companies and organisations, and includes Consejo Minero, Rubik Sustentabilidad, BHP, and the International Copper Association. Engagement with Anglo American, Mitsubishi Corporation and Codelco will also see scope discussions advance to project proposals and partnerships in the coming months.

“Various disciplinary and management groups across Anglo American, Mitsubishi Corporation and MC Inversiones will also see scope discussions advance to project proposals and partnerships in the coming months.

“These projects and partnerships, combined with the airing of three short film segments on a public television network within a show called ‘Todo por la Ciencia’ (All for Science), have ensured SMI-ICE-Chile’s reputation as an invaluable member of the Chilean ecosystem continues.

 “Another advantage we have been leveraging is our connection to SMI’s Australian-based Centres, the wealth of knowledge and experience of their researchers is a valuable resource for many Chilean minerals companies.

 “Minerals Industry Safety and Health Centre (MISHC) Director Brett Garland reinforced this during a recent visit to the country in which he met with industry and government stakeholders and consolidated their interest in the Centre’s health and safety research and training.

“We are now planning to introduce an additional staff member to support these developments and embed a conduit for the occupational health and safety disciplinary areas between Chile and Brisbane."


David Mulligan, Executive Director, SMI-ICE-Chile