Austmine Signs MoU with CRC ORE to Foster Innovations Between METS and Miners
The CRC for the Optimization of Resource Extraction (CRC ORE) and Austmine have announced the launch of a new partnership to deliver the next wave of innovation in mining and create new export opportunities for Australia’s Mining Equipment, Technology and Services (METS) sector.
The partnership provides a framework for collaboration between the mining industry, research institutions and the METS sector to develop the innovative solutions needed to ensure Australia retains its position as a global leader in mining.
Speaking at the launch of partnership and the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding, CRC ORE Chair Jonathan Loraine acknowledged the challenges currently faced by the mining industry and emphasized that “the next wave of significant productivity improvements will require a whole-of-business system approach.”
This is the core focus of CRC ORE. The organization will develop an advanced manufacturing approach for mining; targeting operational inefficiencies, reducing energy use, and enabling economic recovery of lower-grade ore deposits. The approach will generate the business case required to activate numerous latent technologies by defining value in the context of system-wide manufacturing principles. This will stimulate creation and expansion of global markets for METS companies that support the mining sector by delivering productivity improvements made possible through innovation.
Loraine recognized that the participation of Australia’s METS sector would be critical to the success of the CRC. “It is these organizations...that have the skills, expertise and vision to help take innovations from the laboratory to the mine and ultimately to the market.”
As the peak body representing the METS sector, Austmine is at the helm of one of Australia’s most innovative and successful industries. In 2012, the METS sector invested in excess of $1.6 billion in research and development and generated $90 billion in gross annual revenue.
Chair of Austmine Elizabeth Lewis-Gray welcomed the MoU. “Austmine promotes the Australian METS sector globally and encourages the advancement of innovation and technology in mining.
This partnership will create opportunities for the Australian METS sector to collaborate with large end-users and globally renowned researchers. Many of our companies are small and medium enterprises which would not otherwise have the capacity to be involved in research and innovation at this scale.”
“The establishment of a mining innovation exchange will ensure Austmine members have access to regularly updated information on the latest technologies under development and the opportunity to commercialize research outcomes. This will support long-term growth in our technology and service export markets.
Rio Tinto and Alcoa begin construction with ELYSIS tech
Eliminating all direct greenhouse gases from aluminium smelting has taken a major step forward with the start of construction on the first commercial-scale prototype cells of ELYSIS’ inert anode technology, at Rio Tinto’s Alma smelter in Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean, Quebec.
ELYSIS has the potential to reduce the carbon footprint of aluminium production
ELYSIS is a joint venture company led by Rio Tinto and Alcoa that is developing a new breakthrough technology, known as inert anode, that eliminates all direct greenhouse gases (GHGs) from the traditional smelting process and instead produces oxygen.
The technology has the potential to transform the aluminium industry, with a significant reduction in its carbon footprint.
The inert anode prototype cells will operate on a commercial scale typical for large modern aluminium smelters, using an electrical current of 450 kiloamperes (kA).
The Honourable Francois-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry joined representatives from ELYSIS, Rio Tinto and Alcoa to mark the start of construction and announce a further CAD $20mn financial contribution from the Government of Canada to support the project.
The federal government's financial support will enable the creation of a unique commercial size inert anode technology showroom for future customers and will help develop the supply chain by involving local and regional equipment manufacturers and suppliers in the project.
ELYSIS is working to complete the technology demonstration by 2024 followed by the commercialization activities.
ELYSIS technology at a glance:
- The ELYSIS technology addresses the global trend towards producing low carbon footprint products, from mobile phones to cars, planes and building materials.
- The new process will reduce operating costs ofaluminiumsmelters while increasing production capacity. It could be used in both new and existing aluminium smelters.
- In Canada alone, the ELYSIS technology has the potential to reduce GHG emissions by 7 million tons, the equivalent of removing 1.8 million cars from the roads.
- ELYSIS will also sell next-generation anode and cathode materials, which will last more than 30 times longer than traditional components.
Alcoa and Rio Tinto will continue to support the ELYSIS development program alongside the Governments of Canada and Quebec.
ELYSIS is working closely with Alcoa's Technical Center, where the zero-carbon smelting technology was invented, and the Rio Tinto technology design team in France.
Alcoa's Technical Center supports ELYSIS in the manufacture of proprietary materials for the new anodes and cathodes that are essential to the ELYSIS process. The Rio Tinto technology team in France is creating commercial scale designs for the ELYSIS technology.
Vincent Christ, CEO, ELYSIS commented: “This is a great day for ELYSIS. It means that we are becoming the first technology company in the world to build commercial-size inert anode cells. While we refine the technology in our R&D Centre, we start the construction of our prototype cells. This shows our confidence in our process and in the know-how of our team. The combination of ELYSIS' zero CO2 technology and Quebec's renewable energy will be great competitive advantage for the future. I would like to thank the government for its support and all the partners for their commitment.”
Samir Cairae, Rio Tinto Aluminium managing director Atlantic Operations and ELYSIS board member added: “Today marks a real step towards the future of the aluminium industry, by progressing this breakthrough technology to cut carbon emissions. Rio Tinto is committed to supporting its ongoing development here in Quebec where we already use clean hydropower to deliver some of the world’s lowest carbon aluminium. Combining this technology with renewable hydropower holds the promise of zero carbon aluminium smelting.”