The SMI-BRC has three complimentary applied research programmes that draw upon expertise in geoscience, mine engineering, geostatistics and valuation and the support available from other SMI centres.
Program 1. Mass Underground Mining – transitioning mass mining to deeper, much higher capacity operations
The programme is focused on fostering ‘step-change' advances in technologies that manage engineering risks and underpin higher capacity mining in deeper frontier settings (where higher rock stress regimes, stronger rock masses, higher temperatures, and very thick overburden present new challenges, and where upfront capital investments will be potentially very large).
It integrates the SMI-BRC’s disciplinary expertise in geoscience, mass mining engineering, blasting science, computational science (predictive rock response), valuation and risk analysis to provide engineering solutions and technologies that can be applied in the design, development and operation of deep, large-scale metalliferous mines.
Program 2. Geology For Mining– developing a comprehensive understanding of all facets of the ore deposit (waste and ore)
To support resource stewardship at both a mine and regional scale by conducting innovative applied research.
Mine scale research
Focused on achieving greater effectiveness during current open pit mining. Research targets better and faster estimation of the rock mass response to different mining processes, with the objective of reducing cost and improving productivity (e.g. reducing double handling, energy and treatment costs, and by supplying a more consistent mill feed).
Regional scale research
Focuses both on strengthening government institutional capabilities and advancing the discovery of deep and large ore bodies. The latter aligns with and builds on the expertise of the SMI-BRC’s Deep Mass Mining Programme and promotes integrated workflow thinking, from exploration to resource definition and mine development. The discovery of deep ore bodies that can only be mined using a mass underground mining method requires an evaluation and mine-capital application approach that differs substantially from present exploration and mine design methods and practices, which are predominantly focused on the discovery of ore bodies that will be mined by open pit.