Who we are
Established in 1991, the W.H.Bryan Mining and Geology Research Centre (BRC), is named after the late Professor Walter Heywood Bryan, a former Professor of Geology and Mineralogy at the University of Queensland.
Today, the mining resources of the Sustainable Minerals Institute (SMI) are centrally located within the BRC, bringing together significant intellectual and operational skills that offer integrated thinking across the mining value chain with expertise in geoscience, mass mining, blasting fundamentals, geotechnical engineering, orebody and numerical modelling, and geostatistics, mine operation optimisation and software design as well as applied blast engineering.
Our range of expertise is focussed on several of the significant development and operating challenges that are facing the world’s mining industry as it seeks to realise the opportunities that a rapidly increasing global demand for a diverse range of mineral commodities is offering.
Most of the world’s large ore deposits at present-day commodity prices, located at or near the surface of the earth in the recognised major mineral provinces, have almost certainly been discovered. As a result, overcoming ‘Peak generation’ for key mineral resources will require both a significant increase in the resource contribution from deposits deeper than those presently mined by mass mining techniques so far, and a much-improved ability to recover mineralisation from existing and newly-discovered ore deposits.
Not only will more metal need to be extracted from existing mineral deposits but increasingly deeper ore deposits will need to be mined.
All forms of mining are rapidly transitioning into deeper operating environments with many operating mines at the limits of current mining technology and experience. Compounding this challenge is that the transition is occurring at a time when the bulk average metal grade of newly-discovered mineral deposits is falling.
In the absence of a greatly-improved capital-efficiency, future mass mining will require order-of-magnitude, larger-scale cave-mining operations and ultra-deep open pits. Larger-scale mines will also mean a dramatic escalation in the amount and diversity of data available to decision-makers. New workflows and practices will be required to couple geological and geophysical expertise with geotechnical, engineering and geostatistical capabilities in scale-integrated studies.
Mine operating conditions are becoming more complex with increasing constraints of water and energy use as well as changing government policy contexts, all impacting on how future resource extraction will need to be accomplished.
Addressing these challenges will require mining and processing methods that are superior to those presently employed.
The BRC will lead this change by developing new and improved methods for ore extraction and, most importantly for future mining effectiveness, in enhancing total deposit knowledge and predictive understanding of ore bodies, so as to:
Applied and strategic research innovation that focuses on:
- Improving discovery of major metalliferous deposits and reducing the time to production.
- Innovation in deeper mining environments (managing technical risk and improving predictive performance).
- Optimisation of capital investment in mine development.
- Sustainable reduction in operating costs.
- Data analytics/modelling, managing variability and uncertainty for improved productivity/return on capital deployed.