For more than a century, Curtin University and the WA School of Mines have been at the forefront of research in the mining and resources sector.

Today, we continue to be a leader in research, solving defined problems in future-focused areas including robotics, automation, AI, restoration and new energy materials. We work directly with the world’s largest companies to pioneer solutions to industry-wide challenges.

Our research and industry expertise inform our tertiary courses and professional programs, so we can continue to enhance the capabilities of the industry’s current and future workforce, and we are the world’s second-ranked institution for Mineral and Mining Engineering in the 2019 QS World University Rankings by Subject.

Our research specialities include:

Artificial intelligence, robotics, digitisation and data visualisation
New energy materials
The future of work
Mechanics of drilling
Materials science and engineering
Geology, mineral processing and exploration
Mine site closure and restoration
Mineral and energy economics

Artificial intelligence, robotics, digitisation and data visualisation

  • We are investigating the digitisation and automation of the mining sector. Curtin is the first Australian university to trial a commercial driverless bus; technology which could be used to inform autonomous haulage or other vehicles.
  • Innovation Central Perth (ICP), a partnership between Curtin, Cisco, Woodside and CSIRO’s Data 61, is researching digital technologies, such as the internet of things, intent-based networking and artificial intelligence. ICP recently developed machine learning technology that automatically detects mechanical faults using sound.
  • Curtin is leading the ARC Training Centre for Transforming Maintenance through Data Science, exploring the next generation of data science and digitisation methods in maintenance to improve productivity and asset reliability.
  • The Curtin HIVE (Hub for Immersive Visualisation and eResearch) is serving a growing demand for visualisation, virtualisation and simulation capabilities. Its four large‐scale interactive systems enable new capabilities in interpreting and communicating data, such as virtual reality as a training tool for mine workers.
  • The Pawsey Supercomputing Centre is a joint venture between Western Australia’s public universities and CSIRO, providing high-powered computing facilities to Curtin researchers.

New energy materials

  • Future Battery Industries CRC – Led by Curtin, the Future Battery Industries CRC includes a consortium of 58 industry, research and government partners. The centre will showcase Australia as a globally significant provider for battery manufacture and supply.

Future of work

  • Curtin’s Future of Work Institute can help businesses understand what allows people to thrive at work in a space of digital disruption.
  • Recent research by Curtin’s Centre for Transformative Work Design found that FIFO workers reported higher levels of psychological distress, and that having a strong workplace culture focused on employee wellness resulted in better mental health outcomes.

Mechanics of drilling

  • Our Drilling Mechanics Group delivers practical engineering models and technical solutions that can be implemented on site. The group’s research enhances all aspects of the drilling process, with a focus on bit-rock interaction, high speed diamond drilling, drilling fluid and turbo drilling.
  • We’re a key research partner in MinEx CRC, a national research initiative that develops drilling technologies to increase mineral deposit discovery.
  • In conjunction with research organisation Mining3, we’re researching and designing new methods to protect deep mining operations, with a focus on improved tunnel shape and reinforcement, blasting techniques and mechanised installation.

Materials science and engineering

  • Curtin is uniquely equipped to study corrosion from the atomic level to pilot plant. Our cross disciplinary research centres can leverage powerful research capability, for example we are developing capabilities in additive manufacturing, with the aim of providing in-field 3D printing for the hard rock mining industry.

Geology, mineral processing and exploration

  • The Institute for Geoscience Research brings together researchers from across Curtin, including the John de Laeter Research Centre which hosts over $25 million worth of analytical and mass spectrometry infrastructure.
  • Curtin-developed laser scanning technology, Scanalyse, now acquired by Outotec, is helping mining companies reduce downtime, improve safety and maximise the life of valuable equipment.
  • Our Gold Technology Group has collaborated with the precious metals industry for over 30 years.
  • Carbon Scout is a product developed by Curtin and now licensed to Gekko Systems, which allows real‐time monitoring of activated carbon levels in gold adsorption tanks.
  • Curtin is a core participant in CRC ORE, which focuses on optimising all elements of the mining process.

Mine site closure and restoration

Mineral and energy economics

  • Our areas of focus include policy setting, fiscal regime administration, project valuation, process optimisation, rare earth markets and economic evaluation of climate change action.
  • The Centre for Exploration Targeting is working with the Government of Western Australia and the University of Western Australia on a research project that aims to improve resource sector taxation frameworks for developing nations.
  • Curtin, through the WA School of Mines, also offers a Master of Science (Mineral Resource Economics) with two streams: one for technical graduates and one for professionals from a non-technical background.

Strategic Partnerships

Collaboration is key to Curtin’s mining research strategy, showcased by our portfolio of diverse, global partnerships across industry, government and other research institutions.

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