What SMI-JKMRC Does

Research and education are imperative to the ongoing vitality and success of the minerals industry.  The SMI-JKMRC has worked in close partnership with global mining companies for almost 50 years and has developed a strong reputation for delivering innovative research outcomes.

The SMI-JKMRC is the largest Australian research centre in its field and collaborates with major mining and mineral processing research groups worldwide.  The research activities are sponsored by most of the major mining companies around the world as well as equipment and technology providers.

SMI-JKMRC produces world-class research outcomes applicable to a range of commodities.  The key research goals are to maximise resource utilisation and to minimise energy and water use.

Research and postgraduate training programs deal with challenges in exploration, geometallurgy, comminution, separation and flotation.  Other research areas include coal breakage and coal preparation. Core competencies include:

  • Particle, ore and drill core characterisation
  • Applied measurement techniques for process characterisation
  • Process modelling, simulation and optimisation

Separation Program

“Separation” aims to develop novel or improve existing mineral separation processes to achieve improved profitability, resource utilisation and minimise environmental impact in the mining industry.  It also aims to develop the modelling capability required to enable these technologies to be evaluated in the context of a circuit flowsheet.

The development and implementation of new separation technologies is becoming increasingly important as the “easy to treat” resources become depleted and the mining industry is facing the need to economically extract lower grade ore deposits.  One can no longer solve these problems by making equipment bigger. There is a need to process smarter.


Projects within this program

High Voltage Pulse (HVP) Comminution Pretreatment
This technology has the potential to be a game changer for the industry, reducing energy use and separation efficiencies by preweakening the ore; promoting selective breakage to enable preconcentation by screening and improving liberation.  The program in 2017 has conducted experimental testwork to evaluate the potential of this technology for two major mining companies. 

Hydrofloat coarse particle flotation PHD program 
Sponsored by Eriez, Glencore sponsored project to improve copper concentrator efficiencies; Newcrest funded comparison between multi-deck screens and hydrocylones and their impact on comminution and flotation; Collaboration with CSIRO researching microwave dewatering of tailings; Flotation chemistry research projects studying refractive gold flotation (Barrick project); arsenic rejection (CSIRO); pyrite and arsenopyrite separation (Newcrest); copper and gold separation from pyrite (Newcrest), muscovite effects in gold flotation (Barrick P9P).

Program Leader

Associate Professor Kym Runge

Program Team

Associate Professor Frank Shi

Dr Christian Antonio

Dr Francois Vos

Dr Cathy Evans

Dr Elaine Wightman

Advanced Process Prediction and Control (APPCo) Program

Transforming process prediction for effective control

APPCo aims to transform unit process modelling and simulation, moving on from the steady-state models previously developed at the JKMRC, to develop and apply new techniques that make greater use of data generated on-site and sensor technologies in combination with advanced process control, computational analytics and modelling techniques.

Research within the APPCo program will focus on the following foundation themes:

  • Integrated process prediction
  • Advanced ore characterisation for mechanistic modelling
  • Dynamic process modelling
  • Resource utilisation and sustainability metrics
  • Liberation modelling
  • Advanced data analytics
  • Instrumentation and soft sensors

Projects within this program

AMIRA P9Q

Mining the corporate memory (Collaboration with Endellion Technology)

Anglo American Centre for Sustainable Comminution

Comminution Energy Curves – CEEC

Dynamic Generic Mill Model

Stress Intensity in stirred mills

Decarbonisation of Mining

Process Improvement Toolbox

Program Leader

Dr Mohsen Yahyaei

Program Team

Dr Marko Hilden

Dr Ryan Bracey

Dr Grant Ballantyne

Dr Benjamin Bonfils

Related Available student Projects

Ziming Ye – MPhil - Dynamic simulation of comminution circuits

Pia Lois- PhD- Linking rock characteristics with its breakage properties

Book Chapter

Evans, C. & Morrison, R. (2016) Mineral liberation. In Megan Becker, Elaine Wightman, Cathy Evans (Eds.), Process mineralogy (pp. 219-233). Brisbane, Australia: Julius Kruttschnitt Mineral Research Centre.

Wightman, E., Evans, C., Becker, M. & Gu, Y. (2016) Automated scanning electron microscopy with energy dispersive spectrometry. In Megan Becker, Elaine Wightman, Cathy Evans (Eds.), Process mineralogy (pp. 97-107). Brisbane, Australia: Julius Kruttschnitt Mineral Research Centre.

Yahyaei, M., Hilden, M., Shi, F., Liu, L., Ballantyne, G. & Palaniandy, S. (2016) Comminution. In Henk G. Merkus, Babriel M.H. Meesters (Eds.), Production, Handling and Characterization of Particulate Materials (pp. 157-199). Switzerland: Springer International Publishing.

Conference Papers

Andrusiewicz, M., Evans, C., Mariano, R., Morrison, R. & Wightman, E. (2016). A texture based model of mineral liberation. In XXVIII International Mineral Processing Congress. XXVIII International Mineral Processing Congress, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. 11-15 September 2016.

Ballantyne, G. & Powell, M. (2016). Using the comminution energy curves to assess equipment performance. In Comminution '16: 10th International Comminution Symposium. Comminution '16: 10th International Comminution Symposium, Capetown, South Africa. 11-14 April 2016.

Ballantyne, G., Powell, M. & Radziszewski, P. (2016). Extension of the comminution energy curves and application to stirred milling performance. In Canadian Mineral Processing (CMP) Conference. Canadian Mineral Processing (CMP) Conference, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. 19-21 January 2016.

Maleki-Moghaddam, M., Yahyaei, M. & Banisi, S. (2016). GMT: a spreadsheet-based software to predict charge shape and trajectory in tumbling mills. In XXVIII International Mineral Processing Congress. XXVIII International Mineral Processing Congress, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. 11-15 September 2016.

Journal Articles

Berry, R. & Nguyen, K. (2016) Structure from photographs of oriented core: storc. Economic Geology, 111(7): 1525-1527.

Bonfils, B., Ballantyne, G. & Powell, M. (2016) Developments in incremental rock breakage testing methodologies and modelling. International Journal of Mineral Processing, 152: 16-25.

Bracey, R., Weerasekara, N. & Powell, M. (2016) Performance evaluation of the novel multi-shaft mill using DEM modelling. Minerals Engineering, 98: 251-260.

Carrasco, C., Keeney, L. & Napier-Munn, T. (2016) Methodology to develop a coarse liberation model based on preferential grade by size responses. Minerals Engineering, 86: 149-155.

Carrasco, C., Keeney, L., Napier-Munn, T. & Bode, P. (2016) Unlocking additional value by optimising comminution strategies to process Grade Engineering® streams. Minerals Engineering, 103-104: 2-10.

Carrasco, C., Keeney, L., Napier-Munn, T. & Francois-Bongarcon, D. (2016) Managing uncertainty in a Grade Engineering® industrial pilot trial. Minerals Engineering, 99: 1-7.

Carrasco, C., Keeney, L., Scott, M. & Napier-Munn, T. (2016) Value driven methodology to assess risk and operating robustness for grade engineering strategies by means of stochastic optimisation. Minerals Engineering, 99: 76-88.

Cleary, P. & Morrison, R. (2016) Comminution mechanisms, particle shape evolution and collision energy partitioning in tumbling mills. Minerals Engineering, 86: 75-95.

Cruz, N. & Peng, Y. (2016) Rheology measurements for flotation slurries with high clay contents – a critical review. Minerals Engineering, 98: 137-150.F.

Hasan, M., Palaniandy, S., Hilden, M. & Powell, M. (2016) Investigating internal classification within gravity induced stirred mills. Minerals Engineering, 95: 5-13.

Li, C., Farrokhpay, S., Runge, K. & Shi, F. (2016) Determining the significance of flotation variables on froth rheology using a central composite rotatable design. Powder Technology, 287: 216-225.

Li, C., Runge, K. Shi, F. & Farrokhpay, S. (2016) Effect of flotation froth properties on froth rheology. Powder Technology, 294: 55-65.

Liu, L. & Powell, M. (2016) New approach on confined particle bed breakage as applied to multicomponent ore. Minerals Engineering, 85: 80-91.

Meng, J., Xie, W., Tabosa, E., Runge, K. & Bradshaw, D. (2016) Turbulence model development for flotation cells based on piezoelectric sensor measurements. International Journal of Mineral Processing, 156: 116-126.

Ovenden, J., Leigh, G., Blower, D., Jones, A., Moore, A., Bustamante, C. et al.  (2016) Can estimates of genetic effective population size contribute to fisheries stock assessments? Journal of Fish Biology, 89(6): 2505-2518.

Rizmanoski, V. & Jokovic, V. (2016) Synthetic Ore Samples to Test Microwave/RF Applicators and Processes. Journal of Materials Processing Technology, 230: 50-61.

Saeidi, F., Tavares, L., Yahyaei, M. & Powell, M. (2016) A phenomenological model of single particle breakage as a multi-stage process. Minerals Engineering, 98: 90-100.

Shi, F. (2016) An overfilling indicator for wet overflow ball mills. Minerals Engineering, 95: 146-154.

Shi, F. (2016) A review of the applications of the JK size-dependent breakage model Part 1: ore and coal breakage characterisation. International Journal of Mineral Processing, 155: 118-129.

Shi, F. (2016) A review of the applications of the JK size-dependent breakage model Part 2: assessment of material strength and energy requirement in size reduction. International Journal of Mineral Processing, 157: 36-45.

Shi, F. (2016) A review of the applications of the JK size-dependent breakage model Part 3: comminution equipment modelling. International Journal of Mineral Processing, 157: 60-72.

Shi, F. (2016) Determination of ferrosilicon medium rheology and stability. Minerals Engineering, 98: 60-70.

Shi, F. & Xie, W. (2016) A specific energy-based ball mill model: from batch grinding to continuous operation. Minerals Engineering, 86: 66-74.

Tabosa, E., Runge, K. & Holtham, P. (2016) The effect of cell hydrodynamics on flotation performance. International Journal of Mineral Processing, 156: 99-107.

Tabosa, E., Runge, K., Holtham, P. & Duffy, K. (2016) Improving flotation energy efficiency by optimising cell hydrodynamics. Minerals Engineering, 96: 194-202.

Wang, J., Nguyen, A. & Farrokhpay, S. (2016) Effects of surface rheology and surface potential on foam stability. Colloids and Surfaces A: Physicochemical and Engineering Aspects, 488: 70-81.

Wang, L., Peng, Y. & Runge, K. (2016) Entrainment in froth flotation: the degree of entrainment and its contributing factors. Powder Technology, 288: 202-211.

Wang, L., Runge, K. & Peng, Y. (2016) The observed effect of flotation operating conditions and particle properties on water recovery at laboratory scale. Minerals Engineering, 94: 83-93.

Wang L., Runge, K.Peng, Y. & Vos, C. (2016) An empirical model for the degree of entrainment in froth flotation based on particle size and density. Minerals Engineering, 98: 187-193.

Wattanachai, P. & Antonio, C. (2016) Comparison of conventional and variable frequency microwave curing of SU8 photoresist: effects on the dielectric, thermal, and morphological properties. Engineering Journal, 20(5): 169-186.

Xie, W., He, Y., Ge, Z., Shi, F., Yang, Y., Li, H. et al. (2016) An analysis of the energy split for grinding coal/calcite mixture in a ball-and-race mill. Minerals Engineering, 93: 1-9.

Zuo, W. & Shi, F. (2016) Ore impact breakage characterisation using mixed particles in wide size range. Minerals Engineering, 86: 96-103.

Strategic Partners

Strong strategic partnerships form the platform for long term sustainable SMI-JKMRC growth.  The key strategic partners listed below have comitted significant long term financial support for strategic areas of SMI-JKMRC research.

AMIRA International Ltd

AMIRA International Ltd is an independent association of minerals companies which develops, brokers and facilitates collaborative research projects. Its member companies include most of the major minerals companies and equipment suppliers around the world.  One such AMIRA collaborative projects in which SMI-JKMRC plays a key role are AMIRA P9 (Optimisation of Mineral Processing through Modelling and Simulation).

CRC ORE Ltd

The Cooperative Research Centre for Optimising Resource Extraction (CRC ORE) is transforming the mining industry’s approach to evaluation and extraction of mineral deposits. The Centre aims to develop the capability to comprehensively characterise and evaluate the economic and environmental impact of various mineral extraction methods.  The University of Queensland is one of the key research participants in CRC ORE projects, through the SMI-JKMRC and the Bryan Research Centre for Mining and Geology. Visit www.crcore.org.au to learn more about the Centre’s research and integrated case studies.

JKTech Pty Ltd

JKTech is the technology transfer company for the Sustainable Minerals Institute (SMI) at The University of Queensland.  Its role is to take viable research outcomes and transfer them to the international minerals industry.  JKTech was part of SMI-JKMRC from 1986 and was subsequently incorporated as a company in 2001.  As well as its role as a UQ commercialisation company, JKTech provides equipment, scholarships and in-kind support to SMI-JKMRC. Visit www.jktech.com.au to learn about JKTech's capabilites.

Anglo American

The Anglo American group (particularly involving Anglo Platinum and Anglo Research) has been a long term strategic partner of the SMI-JKMRC with involvement in a number of AMIRA collaborative projects as well as support for a number of other research activities, particularly in the technology development area.

Collaboration Research Partners

SMI-JKMRC undertakes collaborative research with a number of institutions outside UQ, including:

  • University of Newcastle, Newcastle, Australia 
  • CSIRO, Brisbane, Melbourne and Perth, Australia 
  • University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa 
  • Hacettepe University, Ankara, Turkey 
  • University of Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janiero, Brazil 
  • McGill University, Montreal, Canada 
  • Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg, Sweden
  • China University of Mining and Technology (CUMT), Xuzhou, China