Dr Elaine Wightman specialises in process mineralogy and seeks to understand the contribution from the physical characteristics of particles to their behaviour during processing.

The use of automated tools for mineral characterisation has been core to many of Elaine’s research activities. The Julius Kruttschnitt Mineral Research Center (JKMRC) houses a number of these tools including MLA (Mineral Liberation Analyser) and X-ray micro tomography. Elaine currently manages this facility which supports research at the Centre, across the University and provides services to industry.

Elaine completed her bachelor’s degree in Mineral Processing at The University of Queensland and her doctoral degree in the same field at the University of South Australia. After submitting her thesis she travelled to the UK and spent a year with the colloid group at University of Bristol working as a postdoctoral research fellow. To broaden her experience Elaine then spent a number of years working for Rio Tinto in what was then the Technical Services group. It was there that she first began working with automated mineralogical characterisation tools and gained experience with their application across a range of commodities. Elaine returned to her Brisbane alma mater in 2005 as a researcher working on a number of industry funded collaborative research projects which focused on the optimisation of mineral processing. 

Learning is one of Elaine’s passions and she shares this in a number of different ways. In addition to advising PhD and MPhil students, Elaine also teaches undergraduate students and recent graduates in industry. She has developed a range of course materials, for both face-to-face and online delivery. To ensure best-practice in her teaching, Elaine studied part-time and was awarded a Graduate Certificate in Higher Education, graduating in 2015. From 2015-20, Elaine held the additional role of Postgraduate Coordinator for the Sustainable Minerals Institute. 

Industry Engagement

In her research role, Elaine has engaged with industry through large scale collaborative research projects (including the AMIRA P9 project and AMSRI) and smaller scale one to one projects.


Elaine is a co-editor of the recently published book Process Mineralogy which included contributions from many internationally recognised experts in the field. Combining her passions for the subject matter and learning, Elaine has also developed and delivered a number of courses with colleagues from Curtin University, The University of New South Wales and The Papua New Guinea University of Technology.

Key Publications

Process Mineralogy. Edited by Becker, M., Wightman, E. M. and Evans, C. L. Brisbane, Australia: Julius Kruttschnitt Mineral Research Centre, 2016.


Acquisition of FEI Quanta 600 Mk2 MLA system
(2015) UQ Major Equipment and Infrastructure

Iluka Characterisation
(2015) Iluka Resources Ltd

Understanding the gold flotation behaviour of Ok Tedi ore
(2014-2016) Ok Tedi Mining Limited

AMIRA P9P – The optimisation of mineral processing by modelling and simulation
(2012-2016) AMIRA International Ltd

AMIRA P9O – The optimisation of mineral processing by modelling and simulation
(2008-2011) AMIRA International Ltd