Complex Orebodies

Perhaps the greatest future challenge for the mining industry is that World demand for raw materials is projected to continue to grow for the foreseeable future, and future new supply of raw materials will have to come from a combination of new mine discoveries, recycling and existing projects which have not yet commenced production. 


Program Leader

Professor Rick Valenta

W.H.Bryan Mining & Geology Research Centre
Program Leader
Complex Orebodies strategic initiative program
Group Leader - Total Deposit Knowledge

For new mine discoveries, the major challenge 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 are either unviable due to low grades or other technical challenges or inaccessible due to political unrest, social outrage and/or environmental barriers. 

The SMI, in conjunction with its UQ and external partners, is uniquely placed to lead a multidisciplinary effort 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.