Unearthed 2015: Inspiring innovation in mining
Accelerating innovation in the resources sector is the focal point of Australian non-profit RIIT’s national events program: Unearthed.
The unique 54-hour long event is focused on the resources sector with software developers, designers, and industry insiders coming together to develop prototype solutions to resources sector problems. Unearthed participants will have a chance to work on proprietary industry data as well as data from government partners.
Unearthed will visit four cities this year as part of RIIT’s vision to establish Australia as the hub of resources technology innovation in the world.
The Brisbane event will be held from 15-17 May at River City Labs in Fortitude Valley, with around 100 talented developers and coders expected to participate. River City Labs General Manager Peta Ellis is excited to host the next leg of the Unearthed national hackathon program.
• Related content: Everything you need to know about Austmine 2015: Transforming Mining
“It’s great for the Brisbane community as there are no other programs designated to solving challenges within the mining and resources sector”, said Ellis. River City Labs founder and tech investor, Steve Baxter, will also mentor developers across the weekend as they develop their prototypes.
The opportunity for developers and coders to work amongst global mining companies on real challenges is a key benefit of the program:
“We’re offering pathways for developers and coders to create prototypes and show off their skills to the resources industry. There’s a chance for these individuals to be a part of something special, whilst also adding this event to their CVs”, said Unearthed Director Zane Prickett.
It will be the first time that the Unearthed program has visited Brisbane and expectations are high, following another successful Perth event during March. 15 teams pitched in Perth, of which 9 were invited for detailed follow-up from resources companies including Iluka Resources and Gold Fields. The winning team comprised of four students in their early twenties from the University of WA who developed a novel approach to identifying promising mineral sands exploration targets.
Unearthed will continue to source and work with promising developers from universities, co-working spaces, developer communities, local government and global mining and resources companies at its Brisbane event.
CRCMining is excited about the upcoming Unearthed Brisbane event and will play an active role in the event,
“CRCMining is excited to support Unearthed. Their approach to open innovation in the resources sector will benefit our members through exposure to new innovative people, ideas and multiple approaches to industry challenges”, said Professor Paul Lever, CEO CRCMining.
The winners of the Unearthed Brisbane event will also have a chance to showcase their prototype on the global stage by speaking at Australia’s largest mining tech conference Austmine 2015 from 19-20 May.
Unearthed has been invited to present at the Austmine conference which follows the Brisbane hackathon event. Unearthed recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Austmine, the peak industry body in Australia for the mining equipment, technology and services (METS) sector, in order to jointly continue the advancement and competitive positioning of Australian technology and innovation in the local and international mining and resources industries.
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.”