The University of Newcastle, Australia

Jameson Cell - $36 billion value to the economy

Monday, 11 May 2015

Laureate Professor Graeme Jameson's invention, the Jameson Cell, has been estimated as adding $36 billion to the Australian economy from 1990 to the end of 2014, according to a recent independent report from Manford Pty Ltd.

Professor Jameson's radical invention – the Jameson Cell – builds on the froth flotation process invented in Australia at Broken Hill in 1905.  It also provides an effective solution to the recovery of fine valuable particles, which are dispersed in tiny amounts in hard rock.  Finding inspiration at the kitchen sink, Jameson observed the effect of a jet of tap water plunging into a basin full of water.  He noticed that a shear layer developed around the jet and dispersed fine bubbles.  Having decided that the best way to improve the froth flotation process was to find a way to make an abundance of very small bubbles, Jameson arrived at the highly original solution of installing a plunging confined jet into a vessel, to generate bubbles of a suitable size for flotation.

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Value of the Jameson Cell to the Australian Economy 1990 - 2014

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After 20 years of research and development the Cell was introduced to the marketplace in 1989.  It is now in use in 25 overseas countries, and world-wide there are almost 350 installations.  The Cell has been particularly successful in the Australian coal industry for the recovery of fine coal that would otherwise go to waste.  The value of export coal recovered by the Cell to the end of 2014 is over $36 billion.  The invention has helped to create wealth for the country, in terms of taxes and royalties, job opportunities and the export of high-technology equipment and expertise.  It is also used for the treatment of industrial wastewaters, for treatment prior to discharge into the environment.

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