Research capabilities on show in the Upper Hunter

Wednesday, 6 June 2018


New research projects and opportunities for industry collaboration will be showcased in Muswellbrook today at an event hosted by the University of Newcastle’s Mining Equipment, Technology and Services (METS) Doctoral Training Centre (DTC).

UON Upper Hunter facilities

The Advanced METS DTC was officially launched in March, drawing on existing capacity and research excellence established through the Newcastle Institute for Energy and Resources (NIER) to foster collaborative PhD projects that will support the METS sector into the future.

NIER Director, Professor Alan Broadfoot, said today’s event was an opportunity for industry to learn more about the research projects being facilitated through the Advanced METS DTC and the potential for future growth.

“Collaboration really is key for our future innovation leaders to better understand emerging needs within the METS sector and deliver solutions to real industry challenges.

“This event represents the next step in connecting industry with academia to foster new ideas, technologies and products that will generate ongoing benefits to the economy and environment,” Professor Broadfoot said.

Featuring presentations from industry partners and a PhD student, the event will also highlight the importance of regional collaboration by launching a major DTC research project.

Led by Associate Professor Kenneth Williams, the Tailings to Topsoil project will provide an alternative solution to tailing disposal in mining operations by transforming suitable tailings into a soil additive for developing high-performance biomass production.

“Tailings are by-products of mining operations, which are typically stored in reservoirs or dams and can cause significant environmental and social impact. Using innovative technologies, our project aims to convert raw mine tailings into topsoil that can be used to grow crops for energy or biofuel production.

“The flow on benefits mean the creation of additional pathways for agribusiness on mined land, leading to greater employment opportunities and regional economic growth,” Associate Professor Williams said.

In partnership with Muswellbrook Shire Council, Bengalla Mining Company and Jord International, the project will employ the expertise of a multidisciplinary team from University’s Centre for Bulk Solids and Particulate Technologies, International Centre for Balanced Land Use and Global Centre for Environmental Remediation.

The Advanced METS DTC showcase and launch event will be held at UON Upper Hunter, Tertiary Education Centre, 87 Hill Street Muswellbrook from 10am to 12pm.