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Optimal liberation could save millions

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There’s a fine line between breaking down rock just the right amount and too much – and Associate Professor Nimal Subasinghe is helping navigate it. Along with PhD student Jian Zhang, he’s developed a predictive model for mineral liberation that could save the resources industry millions.

Mineral liberation

“When ore is broken into different sizes the amount of liberation changes,” Associate Professor Subasinghe explained. “Grinding everything down wastes a lot of energy and the current measuring techniques are very costly. We use the characteristics of the ore itself to predict the best size for optimal liberation.”

The research, sponsored by Newmont Mining, has already been published. The next steps are to develop a software package and commercialise the project. “Nickel, iron or gold – anyone should be able to use it,” Associate Professor Subasinghe said.

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