Minerals for our Future

ARC Centre of Excellence for Enabling Eco-Efficient Beneficiation of Minerals

COEMinerals is making mineral recovery more efficient, more effective and as a result much more sustainable

The world needs new, more efficient ways to recover minerals

Beneficiation’ (the minerals separation process) is a high-energy consuming stage of mining. Many techniques used to separate minerals today are innefficient and wasteful, despite minerals being a finite resource, some minerals becoming harder to recover and against a backdrop of growing demand for metals to enable clean energy, medical and other technology innovation.

The Centre’s scientific research is discovering inventive new ways to separate minerals and metals — including rare earth elements (REE) and critical minerals — using less water, less energy and with less waste.

  • Our Mission is to develop deep scientific knowledge that enables the establishment of new, transformational technologies in minerals beneficiation, to deliver a sustainable future for Australia’s minerals industry
  • Our Vision is to double energy and water productivity in the mining sector by 2030, maintaining the drive towards the zero-emission mine’ and reduce losses of high value metals during processing by 90%
  • Our Strategy is to work in partnership with the minerals industry, Mining & Equipment Technology Services (METS), the community and other stakeholders to provide advice, thought leadership, research, education, people and transformational innovations

We’re striving to transform the minerals sector by:

  • Reducing energy and water use during minerals processing (beneficiation): Our stretch goal is to double energy and water productivity in the mining sector by 2030, maintaining the drive towards the zero- emission mine’
  • Increasing mineral recovery during minerals processing: Our stretch goal is to reduce loss of high value metals during minerals processing by 90%, increasing the concentration of recovered products used in metals refining
  • Training a New Generation: Our goal is to deliver exceptional educational experiences that enable, up-skill and empower a new generation of research, Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) and minerals sector leaders. 

We’re creating exceptional educational experiences that enable, upskill and empower a new generation of research, STEM and minerals sector leaders.

The ARC Centre of Excellence for Enabling Eco-Efficient Beneficiation of Minerals (COEMinerals) is ensuring Australian research strengths address some the world’s most challenging and significant research problems, as well as the development of potentially transformational new technologies and innovation supporting a competitive and environmentally sustainable future for Australia and its minerals sector.

The ARC Centre of Excellence for Enabling Eco-Efficient Beneficiation of Minerals is funded by the Australian Government through the Australian Research Council Centres of Excellence funding scheme.

Learn more about us here.

Why transform the minerals industry?

The cleaner-energy imperative for change

The transition to a net-zero emissions economy will be minerals and metal-intensive

  • Australia is committed to achieve net zero emissions by 2050, and Australia will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 43% below 2005 levels by 2030
  • Growing demand imposes extraordinary demands for minerals extracted from the earth. However, many current minerals separation (beneficiation) practices are technologically, economically, and environmentally unsustainable, having not advanced much during the last 50 years

Did you know?

Metals are critical to clean energy and low-carbon technologies. They are key components of solar panels, wind turbines, electric vehicles and batteries

More than 60 different metals are required to make a smartphone including gold, copper, aluminium, silver, zinc and lead. Rare earths provide smartphones with their functionality, to vibrate or even to generate the colour display [1]

Why transform the minerals industry?

The environmental imperative for change

Despite minerals being a finite resource, many mineral separation processes are energy inefficient, and can be highly wasteful with up to 20% of minerals lost to waste’.

  • The waste generated by many current minerals-separation processes can require massive tailings dams, requiring excessive water consumption. We want to make tailings dams (as we know them today) a thing of the past. Removing tailings dams reduces multiple risks, including the risk of leaks or catastrophic breach. Many tailings dams are also a yet-untapped minerals resource, still holding very fine (microscopic) minerals particles. We’re striving to find new ways to recover those minerals

Did you know?

Minerals and metals are also essential for many advanced medical devices and other technologies including smart phones and computers. Copper is found in MRI scanners and is vital in medical equipment due to its anti-microbial properties. Titanium is used for surgical equipment due to its bacterial resistance; and silver is present in some antibiotics for accelerating the healing process [2]

Why transform the minerals industry?

The economic imperative for change

COEMinerals helps enable the transition to a metals-economy

  • Minerals are likely to underpin much of Australia’s national wealth in coming years based on anticipated increasing demand, matched with the relative scarcity of some minerals or the increasing challenge of their sustainable and efficient recovery
  • The Australian Government is also committed to growing Australia’s role as a reliable, sustainable and globally competitive supplier of energy and mineral experts, along with supporting sovereign capability growth through downstream value-adding manufacturing. (Australia has an abundance of critical minerals which are vital for clean energy and advanced technologies like smartphones, computers, solar panels, batteries and electric vehicles. (Department of Industry, Science and Resources)
  • The Australian Government regards high-quality science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education as critically important for our current and future productivity, as well as for informed personal decision making and effective community, national and global citizenship (Department of Education)
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Our Research

Our research is focussed on delivering change in three key areas (‘Thematic Objectives’) supporting achievement of Centre goals:

Reduce Energy and Water Use (increase energy & water efficiency)

Increase Mineral Recovery / Reduce loss of metals

Train a new generation of research and sector leaders

Our Team

Our team is led by Laureate Professor Kevin Galvin. 

COEMinerals taps into the skills and expertise of some of Australia – and the world’s — most eminent scientists, engineers and researchers representing diverse scientific discipline representing nine Australian universities. 

  • The Centre’s PhD and early and mid-career researchers (ECRs/​MCRs) represent the next generation of research and sector leaders. 
  • Collectively COEMinerals members are developing technologies, inventing world-first scientific techniques and enabling new capabilities for minerals recovery during minerals processing (beneficiation).
  • Members collaborate closely with academic, industry, community and sustainability experts.
  • Collectively, COEMinerals members work on a wide spectrum of projects from blue-sky, to proof of concept and the pathway from invention to patent and commercialisation.
  • The Centre has multiple committees that help guide our focus and activity.
People Partners

Research Candidates

Want to be part of our research team or learn more about our work? 

Contact us here

More information

Partner Organisations

Industry Partners