Innovative and cost effective processing of Australia's resource wealth is essential for continued growth of the sector. QCAT's range of expertise extends from detailed mineralogical, beneficiation and agglomeration evaluations to predicting and optimising processing performance in iron ore, non-ferrous and coal processing.

Research group involved in processing R&D are:


Research in the processing sector is primarily conducted by CSIRO Process Science and Engineering and falls into three main categories:Processing

CSIRO is also conducting several projects to optimise coal processing:

Iron Ore Processing

  • Predicting processing performance
  • More effective beneficiation strategies
  • Iron ore sintering and blast furnace burden characterisation
  • Iron ore pelletising

Non-ferrous minerals processing

Research on SAG mill optimisation on both fine (<38 micron) and ultrafine (<10 micron) grinding is continuing.

Standards development

CSIRO research continues to play a leading role in the development of International Standards Organisation (ISO) and Australian Standards for international trade in iron ore, base metals and coal. Current efforts are aimed at improving methods for the sampling of iron ore, coal and copper, lead, zinc and nickel concentrates, while new methods are under development for sampling slurries and smelter products and residues.

Coal Processing

CSIRO researchers are working with the coal industry to improve the quality and competitiveness of Australian coal on the international markets.

LinkCSIRO Process Science and Engineering website

LinkCSIRO Coal overview

Rio Tinto Alcan QLD R&D

Rio Tinto Alcan Queensland Research and Development Centre

The Rio Tinto Alcan Queensland Research and Development Centre (QRDC) was established at the QCAT campus in 2005.

This new laboratory has world class R&D capability in alumina refining from bauxite using the Bayer process.  It has put Brisbane and the QCAT site on the world stage in the alumina industry.

QRDC now supports Rio Tinto Alcan’s (RTAs) Australian assets and joint ventures including the Gove bauxite mine and alumina refinery in the Northern Territory, the Weipa bauxite mine, Yarwun alumina refinery and Boyne Island aluminum smelter in Queensland, and the Tomago aluminum smelter in NSW.

Much of the recent effort at QRDC has supported the 1.8 million tonne, $US2.3 billion Gove Expansion in the Northern Territory. Technical assistance to Gove, Yarwun and other RTA operations, with technology sales customers, and strategic research and development projects provide the balance of value-added activities.

Link Rio Tinto ALCAN QRDC website




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