CMLR provides opportunities for students wanting to enrol in an Honours, Masters or PhD program. The research topics available address current industry questions across multiple fields and, under the guidance of our academic researchers, students are able to make significant contributions to sustainability in mining.

Postgraduate Studies in Environmental Geochemistry

Potential topics currently available for postgraduate research projects, in the area of environmental geochemistry, are listed below.
For further information, please contact Dr Mansour Edraki

  1. Understanding leaching dynamics to predict contaminant release rates
  2. Source, mobility and bioavailability of heavy metals and metalloids in mine environments
  3. Salinity issues in the coal mining and petroleum industry
  4. Mine related sediments and stream pollution
  5. Acid and metalliferous drainage (hydrology, geochemistry, remediation)
  6. Geochemical cycles of metals and contaminant pathway
  7. Hydro-geochemical modelling as a tool to study mine-related pollution
  8. Natural attenuation of contaminants in abandoned and legacy mine sites
  9. Studies in the application of isotope tracers to identify contaminant sources and pathways


Postgraduate Studies in Landform Stability and Evolution

Potential topics currently available for postgraduate research projects, in the area of landform stability and evolution, are listed below.
For further information, please contact Dr Thomas Baumgartl

  1. Improving runoff simulation with a cellular automata model using remote sensing data
  2. Modelling of the water balance of constructed covers under different climatic conditions
  3. Predicting preferential flow in constructed covers
  4. Modelling evaporation from bare soil using easily measurable data
  5. Designing landscape functions for constructed landforms
  6. Optimisation of water flow and water availability in constructed, vegetated landforms in semi-arid climates
  7. Linking water availability to intensity of oxidation processes
  8. Dynamic change of salinity in soil solutions through wetting and drying
  9. Regaining soil health in mined soils: the role of vegetation and time
  10. Clarifying best practice to rebuild soils in mine rehabilitation
  11. Chronosequence of soil development in directly vegetated tailings
  12. Compaction of rehabilitated soils affect success of revegetation
  13. Economy of rehabilitation

Postgraduate Studies in Soil-Plant Systems

Potential topics currently available for postgraduate research projects, in the area of soil-plant systems, are listed below.
For further information, please contact Dr Longbin Huang

Anthropogenic Soil Formation and Development

  1. Weathering and bioweathering Processes in mine wastes (e.g. red mud, base metal mine tailings) and hydro-geochemical/chemical dynamics in pore water, in relation to remediation inputs and biological responses (including microbes and plants);
  2. Microbe-mineral interactions in transformation and speciation of metals and metalloids in remediated tailings and pore water;
  3. Phylogenetic and metagenomic analysis of evolution of microbial community structure and functions in mine wastes/mined land, in relation to remediation and plant rhizosphere interactions;
  4. Structural development in remediated mine wastes in response to remediation: aggregation;
  5. Development of biogeochemical processes in remediated mine wastes: phosphorus cycling and supply, organic matter decomposition and microbial activities.

Plant Physiological Mechanisms and Physiological Ecology

  1. Foliar absorption of metals by means of XFM;
  2. Metal and metalloid uptake and accumulation in native plants species grown in remediated tailings of base metal mines;
  3. Phosphorus acquisition strategy of native plants grown in natural soil and remediated tailings;
  4. Seasonal nutrient status in key native plants at Mt Isa-Cloncurry regions
  5. Physiological characterization in native plant species grown in reconstructed root zones on tailings: stable isotopic analysis and comparison.

Functional Materials for Mine Waste/ Water Remediation

  1. Biochar adsorption of heavy metals in pore water of mine wastes: relationship between properties and functionality;
  2. Organic matter properties and remediation effects in mine wastes

Postgraduate Studies in Rehabilitation Ecology

Potential topics currently available for postgraduate research projects, in the areas of ecology, and monitoring and mapping, are listed below.
For further information, please contact Dr Peter Erskine

Ecosystem Structure and Function

  1. Seedbank studies - regeneration potential of desirable species and weeds
  2. Seed biology and establishment of plants associated with Brigalow communities
  3. Increasing species diversity in rehabilitation area—manipulating the balance between trees, shrubs, forbs and grasses
  4. Sustainable grazing on rehabilitated sites (intensities, practicalities, native grasses etc.)
  5. Functional analysis of rehabilitated environments—setting criteria and improving ecosystem functions
  6. Plants and metal toxicity: responses and tolerance of Australian native species to heavy metals
    • Growth potential of Australian native plant species on metalliferous mine wastes
    • Phytostabilization.


Mapping and Monitoring Technologies

  1. Extrapolation of ground plot observation to entire site assessment of mine rehabilitation
  2. Image processing for environmental applications in mine site rehabilitation
  3. Remote sensing for vegetation assessment and classification
  4. Assessing land rehabilitation success: combining aerial image analysis and ground-level vegetation assessment with soil and plant chemical and physical analyses