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MEI Online: Careers: Job Vacancies: Two fully funded PHD projects to commence December 2017/January 2018




Two fully funded PHD projects to commence December 2017/January 2018  [September 25, 2017]

Location: University of Tasmania, Australia


Grade by size fractionation (natural deportment) is caused by preferential rock breakage that allows economic phases (e.g., gold, auriferous pyrite, chalcopyrite, bornite) to partition into specific size fractions during early comminution stages (e.g., blasting and primary crushing). This phenomenon has been demonstrated to occur in a range of ore types and deposit styles and represents the underlying driver for Grade Engineering. Testing of drill core samples and bulk mine materials has indicated that in some cases more than 90 % of total metal can be contained in less than 50 % of the mass of the material tested. Mine-scale utilisation of natural deportment has the potential to modify the economics of active and future mining operations by improving mill feed grades through rejection of uneconomic coarse size fractions early in the comminution circuit.

Project Aims

The propensity and magnitude of grade by size fractionation is inherently controlled by mineralogy and the textural relationships between ore and gangue phases. These research projects aim to quantitatively assess the influence of mineralogy and texture on the natural deportment of gold and copper during rock breakage in both laboratory-scale tests and at the operational level. Inherent geological variability occurs at a range of scales within an ore system. Factors that control grade by size responses need to evaluated in a geometallurgical context at the deposit-scale down to the microtextural level. Two projects are available, one investigating the controls on gold fractionation in vein style Au deposits and one evaluating factors controlling copper fractionation in porphyry Cu systems.

Project Objectives

Both projects will utilise a combination of field-based logging, integrated geological-geometallurgical datasets and laboratory-scale analyses including in situ hyperspectral mineral mapping and x-ray automated mineralogy techniques (e.g., MLA). The projects will evaluate how variations in host rock composition, alteration zonation, ore/gangue textures and vein paragenesis/veining density influence grade by size fractionation. Key geometallurgical parameters will be used to quantitatively predict grade by size response and to develop attributes for populating resource block models during mine planning.

Study Sites

Study sites will be provided through collaboration with CRC ORE’s sponsor companies including Anglo American, Anglo Gold Ashanti, BHP, Glencore, Newcrest, Sumitomo and Teck. Study Sites will include vein hosted Au and porphyry Cu systems located in Australia and North/South America.

Duration and funding

Projects commence in Dec 2017/Jan 2018. A tax free living stipend of $32,000 AUD per annum and research funding will be provided for 3 years with a possible 6 month extension.

Contact details

For further details or to apply for this project please contact:
Nathan Fox (Postdoctoral Research Fellow)
CODES, University of Tasmania, Hobart, Australia e. nathan.fox@utas.edu.au




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