The Australian Research Council has awarded UON $3.2m to establish a research hub dedicated to future-proofing Australia's iron ore production.

$3.2m ARC funding

13 June 2014

The University of Newcastle has been awarded $3.2 million from the Australian Research Council (ARC) to establish a new research hub, in collaboration with industry, dedicated to future-proofing Australia's iron ore production and exports.

Chief investigators Professor Kevin Galvin, Emeritus Professor Alan Roberts and Professor Bob Loo will form the ARC Research Hub for Advanced Technologies for Australian Iron Ore, harnessing the University's three major specialist areas in the minerals sector – beneficiation, bulk solids handling and technical marketing research.

The $3.2m grant forms part of the ARC's Industrial Transformation Research Program. The hub has attracted a further $3 million in industry and collaborative support, bringing the total funding to $6.2 million over five years.

ARC hubs aim to find solutions to issues impacting upon research and development industries, and involve managers, researchers and workers from within these sectors.

The iron ore research hub will engage with mining organisations, companies and equipment manufacturers in a bid to uncover knowledge to benefit the entire industry. In collaboration with organisations such as Tunra Bulk Solids and the University's Centre for Ironmaking Materials Research, the hub will aim to establish new Australian iron ore separation and handling techniques.

"New fundamental knowledge, needed to inform end-users and producers, will be used in conjunction with novel advances in fine particle beneficiation and materials handling to support the long term growth in Australian iron ore production," Professor Galvin said.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation), Professor Kevin Hall, said the ground-breaking research hub would help deliver new knowledge and opportunities that would benefit the minerals sector as a whole.

"The University of Newcastle is committed to our research driving real innovation. This new ARC Research Hub will allow the University to further develop its extensive capabilities in priority research areas such as minerals processing, leading to translational research that has an impact on the regional, national and international stage."

Professor Galvin, Director of the University of Newcastle's Centre for Advanced Particle Processing and Transport, which forms part of the University's Newcastle Institute for Energy and Resources (NIER), is the creator of the award-winning Reflux Classifier. The Reflux Classifier technology, developed in collaboration with commercial partner Ludowici-FLSmidth, is an industrial machine that separates fine particles from water using a system of inclined channels to recover valuable material, generating both environmental and cost benefits.

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