SMI brings together excellent research for lasting change in the resource industry

Our position within The University of Queensland, and our ability to link research and practice across several disciplines, sets us apart and adds unique value to our work.

Hyperaccumulator plants are plants that concentrate metals in their leaves and sap - and enabling phytomining. Phytomining is a new technology to recover metals, such as nickel, from mining waste or contaminated land by growing and harvesting these plants and extracting metal from their biomass. Dr Antony van der Ent and A/Prof Peter Erskine are leading research on novel ways to extract critical elements, needed for lithium-ion batteries and other high-tech demands.
Professor David Cliff is working to help stop deadly black lung disease before it begins. Coal workers’ pneumoconiosis (CWP), or black lung, is a potentially fatal, irreversible lung disease caused by breathing in coal mine dust. The culprit is respirable dust released during mining, which contains coal and other mineral particles that are small enough to be breathed deep into the lungs, where they can block air passages and cause scarring of lung tissue.
Air Health Risk Assessment of Contaminants to Mount Isa City, which found there was a relatively low risk to young children from airborne lead in Mount Isa. The research found that ingestion of lead present in soil and surface dust were the key contributors to blood lead levels in Mount Isa children and that the contribution of lead from airborne dust via inhalation was less than five per cent and insignificant in comparison to ingestion.
The SMI-Centre for Social Responsibility in Mining (SMI-CSRM) has authored four leading practice guides for Rio Tinto on key social performance issues, including: gender, cultural heritage, human rights and land use agreements. All four guides are available as public documents, reflecting both SMI-CSRM's and Rio Tinto's commitment to sharing pre-competitive knowledge to improve the global mining industry’s performance on these issues.
A novel technology using high voltage pulses (HVP) to pretreat ore and improve ore processability has been developed by Dr Frank Shi and his team at the SMI-JKMRC. This technology has the potential to significantly improve the profitability of mining operations. This technology has the potential to significantly improve the profitability of mining operations.
The Mine Rehabilitation and Closure (MRC) Wiki online resource has made it much easier to access knowledge on rehabilitating and preparing to close mining sites, which is now being managed by the Central Queensland Mine Rehabilitation Group (CQMRG). They aim to sustain and expand the tool through engagement with its members and an active working group.