Resources  & Energy

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Automating the resources and energy sector will bring significant benefits to NSW.

The resources and energy sector continues to develop and deploy innovative solutions to increase extraction efficiencies, improve operational processes and minimise risk of damage to the environment or harm to its employees. These solutions are supported not only by mine operators, but the mining equipment, technology and services (METS) sector, which includes a wide range of industries. Nationally, in the decade to 2016-17, mining operators have paid federal, state and territory governments $185b in taxes and royalties (according to the MCA). In NSW, exploration and mining companies have spent approximately $10.4b into the state economy, while employing nearly 23,000 full-time equivalent employees (according to NSW Mining). The value of partnering with NSW universities is recognised by the mining peak bodies, especially in developing collaborations to commercialise research and innovation.

Smart sensors have an enormous role to play in the mining and resources industry, and NSW universities are at the forefront of smart sensing research, exploring new frontiers in optical, chemical and in-line sensing to deliver next-generation sensors that are wireless, networked, smaller, cheaper and more sensitive. 

Partnering with the NSSN, companies can access expertise and technology from across NSW’s leading universities and gain an enduring competitive advantage. Some of the exciting R&D projects already taking place throughout the network include:

Researchers at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS), as founding members of the Innovative Manufacturing CRC, have recently begun working with Mineral Technologies to improve mineral separation equipment. Using 3D printing technology, the team is able to prototype different gravity concentrator designs, optimise the manufacturing process and all the while, receive industry feedback for future improvements. The newly designed concentrators will contain numerous sensors to monitor wear and tear, providing real-time data for end-users.

Researchers at the University of Wollongong, within the partially industry funded Australian Power Quality & Reliability Centre are working to improve transmission power quality and reliability. As part of their work, the centre identifies state-of-the-art reliability practices, develops power quality surveying methodology and works to improve voltage fluctuations, flicker and unbalance. This work is readily available to industrial collaborators in consultation with past end-users including major energy providers, metal manufacturers and telecommunication companies.

Researchers at the University of Newcastle, as part of the ARC Research Hub for Iron Ore, are creating value throughout the iron ore supply chain. As part of this work, pilot separation plants have been developed, the outputs of which are being measured as a function of particle size and moisture content and are backed by simulations. Results are expected to be taken up by industry.

Working with the NSSN simplifies the process of engaging with universities by creating a single point-of-contact for the leading research-intensive universities in NSW. The network recently connected researchers from the UNSW and the University of Sydney with a mine operator to monitor airborne particulates to minimise the volume of water needed to reduce road dust.

Access to cutting-edge research equipment can be difficult to arrange without university partners, and with over 50 centres of excellence, collaborative research centres and industrial training centres spread across the NSSN, access to world-class equipment is readily available.  

 
 
Navigating the ever-changing resources and energy space is challenging, working with universities should not be.
 
 

With the support of the NSW Government, the NSSN is your one-stop shop for multi-disciplinary expertise and technology. 

To find out how the NSSN can help solve your challenges, please contact Anthony Morfa at (02) 8627 7007 or at anthony.morfa@nssn.org.au

 

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