COEMinerals: We’re enabling transformation for a cleaner energy future

The ARC Centre of Excellence for Enabling Eco-Efficient Beneficiation of Minerals (COEMinerals) is a national research centre, funded by the Australian Government through the Australian Research Council Centres of Excellence funding scheme. 

  • In October 2019 COEMinerals was awarded $35M by the Australian Government through the Australian Research Council (ARC) Centres of Excellence funding scheme, and the Centre officially commenced on 29th July 2020

The Centre’s diverse scientific team is addressing key industry and environmental challenges associated with mineral processing.
Minerals are a finite resource and many are becoming harder to recover against a backdrop of growing demand for metals to enable cleaner energy solutions as well as medical and other technologies and infrastructure. The Centre’s science-based, innovative approaches and inventions are resulting in higher minerals (metal) recovery, reduced environmental impact, and lower energy and water consumption during mineral processing.

The Centre comprises 9 Australian universities:

  • The University of Newcastle (UON) (administering organisation)
  • Curtin University (Curtin)
  • Deakin University (Deakin)
  • Monash University (Monash)
  • The University of Adelaide (UoA)
  • The University of Melbourne (UOM)
  • The University of New South Wales (UNSW)
  • The University of Queensland (UQ)
  • The University of South Australian (UniSA)

COEMinerals is addressing previously unsolved problems, including finding effective ways to recover Rare Earth Minerals (REM) by taking entirely new approaches that include computational chemistry, advanced synthetic approaches and biotechnology. (REM are fundamental to permanent magnets (as used in wind turbine generators and in the motors that power electric vehicles),

The Centre is helping to establish a new generation of scientists and research leaders in minerals beneficiation, equipping members to address contemporary sector challenges. Centre members work closely with local and international industry, institutions and other experts to gain on-site experience, research feedback and to test, trial and commercialise new technologies and techniques with a view to advancing energy and water productivity in the mining sector; driving towards the zero-emission mine’ and reducing loss of high value metals during mineral processing.

The Centre’s Thematic Objectives directly align with Research Themes

  • Centre Objective 1Early gangue (waste) rejection, achieved through technology advances in coarse particle beneficiation, to minimise energy and water consumption
    • Research Theme 1: Removal of waste ore at coarse particle sizes to pre-concentrate the ore, and hence reduce energy consumption in grinding hard rock and water losses to tailings
  • Centre Objective 2 – Fast, efficient beneficiation to minimise losses of high value metals, achieved through technology advances in fine particle beneficiation, to maximise resource recovery and product grade
    • Research Theme 2: More efficient processing of fine particles to maximise resource recovery and concentrate the product to reduce emissions during downstream processing
  • Centre Objective 3 – Real time removal of solids from tailings, and rejection of water from solids, achieved through the introduction of novel hydrophobic interactions, and technology advances in dewatering (i.e. eliminating tailings dams)
    • Research Theme 3: More effective solid-liquid separation to recover more water and ultimately eliminate tailings dams

COEMinerals works closely with Mining Equipment, Technology and Services (METS) sector partners, government and others, and we welcome third-party engagement in wide-ranging forums. 

Learn more about our work by following us on LinkedIn and from our Annual Reports.

Contact us here.

We’re striving to transform the industry through research programs focused on three stretch goals:

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