Complex Orebodies

The greatest challenge facing the resources sector is the projected growth in the worldwide demand for raw materials. To meet this, the future supply of raw materials will have to come from a combination of new mine discoveries, recycling, and from undeveloped deposits which have not yet commenced production.

This program focuses on unlocking those deposits or 'Complex Orebodies'.

Since its formation, researchers in the Complex Orebodies Program have built significant collaborations with industry, government and communities to increase understanding of future challenges to mineral supply, and to develop innovative solutions to address those challenges.

See more on the Program's activities in the Collaboration and impact: Complex Orebodies Program 2018–2022 report.

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The major challenge for new mine discoveries is that exploration costs are increasing and discovery rates are declining, so new discoveries alone will not meet future demand. In currently operating mines, grades are decreasing, and are even lower in undeveloped mines, and the quest to overcome this by economies of scale is reaching the limit of effectiveness.  In fact, most undeveloped deposits or 'Complex Orebodies' are either unviable due to low grades or other technical challenges, or inaccessible due to political unrest, social outrage and/or environmental barriers. 

The Sustainable Minerals Institute, in conjunction with its UQ and external partners, is uniquely placed to lead this transdisciplinary program to develop the step changes in social understanding, environmental innovation, and mining and processing efficiency which will be required to allow cost effective access to these Complex Orebodies in a way that that also enables sustainable development.

View seminars on Complex Orebodies

Program Leader

Associate Professor Steven Micklethwaite

Associate Professor Steven Micklethwaite

Program Leader
Resourcing Decarbonisation Program
Program Leader (Acting)
Complex Orebodies Program
Principal Research Fellow – Geology