Speaker: Dr Xiaodong Ma, High Temperature Processing Research Program (HTP), JKMRC

The manganese and iron concretions on the sea bottom formed of concentric layers around a core, are known as manganese nodules or polymetallic nodules. Polymetallic nodules contain many valuable elements such as Copper, Nickel and Cobalt as well as Manganese and Iron. Trace amounts of Vandanium and Molybdenum and rare earth elements (REEs) are also present in the nodules. Mining of polymetallic nodules from the sea bed has been spurred by the need for critical metals as land-based resources are exhausted, and it is necessary to meet future demands. Recently, the increased interest in electrical energy storage and rapid growth in the market for electric vehicles will make the polymetallic nodules promising resources for producing the component metals of batteries.

In this presentation, Dr Xiaodong Ma will outline the chemistry, formation, the environmental concern of nodule mining, and the economic value of polymetallic nodules. In addition, he  will introduce the HTP team's research into high-temperature processing of polymetallic nodules using a zero-waste and energy-saving route. Ferroalloys (FeNiCuCo), matte (FeNiCuCoS), and silico-manganese (SiMn) alloys were produced by maximum utilisation of nodules for the options of market acceptance.

Bio: Xiaodong Ma is currently acting group leader of the High Temperature Processing group at JKMRC. Xiaodong received his PhD from The University of Tokyo, Japan, in 2012, and joined UQ right after. He specialises in the thermodynamics of high temperature processing for recovery, recycle, and refining of ferrous, non-ferrous, and advanced materials. His current work is involved in several industrial projects that cover from phase equilibria and viscosity measurement of pyrometallurgical slags to oxide metallurgy, inclusion engineering, and microalloying of steels. Read bio in full

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The Sustainable Minerals Institute Webinar Series showcases the exciting research underway across SMI - from processing to social performance to health and safety - join us on a Tuesday for the presentation followed by Q&A with the researcher.