State-of-the-art critical mineral processing plant concept unveiled

31 January 2024

Queensland's emerging critical minerals industry has been reinforced with the conceptual launch of a state-of-the-art processing plant designed by researchers from the Sustainable Minerals Institute. 

The Future Industries Hub FlexiLab is a common-use facility that will test and process minerals essential for energy technologies, and provide a space for resource sector research, development, and training. It is intended to help prove the commercial viability of processing critical minerals such as cobalt, nickel, zinc, vanadium, molybdenum, silica, alumina and rare earth elements.

The facility is supported by $5.7 million committed through the Queensland Resources Industry Development Plan to expand the Resources Centre of Excellence to meet the growing demands of the industry into the future.

Professor Mohsen Yahyaei, Director of SMI's Julius Kruttschnitt Mineral Research Centre, attended the event and said the launch was a significant milestone. 

"The vision for FlexiLab began in mid-2018 during our initial discussions with the management team of the Mackay Resources Centre of Excellence shortly after the organisation was established," said Professor Yahyaei, "...and now, here we are standing at the official launch of the detailed engineering and construction of the facility."

"I am sure the establishment of this facility will advance Queensland’s capabilities on several fronts, including processing critical minerals, mine waste reprocessing, mining industry 4.0, energy transition, and decarbonization."

Read the Queensland Government media release