What is MinEx CRC?
MinEx CRC is the world's largest mineral exploration collaboration bringing together Industry, Government and Research Organisations, backed by:
$50M cash from the CRC Program
$41M cash from geological surveys and industry
$51M non-staff in-kind
$78M or 311FTE staff in-kind
Where are we now?
As of 30 June 2020, MinEx is now halfway through Phase 1 of the first of three, 3-year research phases of a 10-year funding agreement. The second year of operations of MinEx CRC has been successful and extremely productive, despite the ongoing challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In 2019-20, MinEx CRC met all eight Commonwealth milestones and 137 of its 139 quarterly milestones. The nine principle projects are all progressing exceptionally well, with an additional four projects added during the past year, at the request of industry partners, to augment our existing research projects. These new projects are a result of an additional $1.58M committed to research by the MinEx CRC Opportunity Fund following recommendations by the MinEx CRC Science Advisory Committee to the Board, and an additional $2.12M of cash and in-kind contributions from MinEx CRC Participants.
Mineral and energy resources contributed ~50% of Australia’s exports and ~7% of GDP in 2017-2018. The future of this contribution is at risk due to the trend of declining discovery of major, new mineral deposits. The challenge to Australian mining has been captured by the Council of Australian Governments: “new greenfield discoveries are urgently required to ensure that an ongoing pipeline of mineral resource projects are available to meet future demands. Australia’s attractiveness as an exploration destination has been diminished by a range of factors including;
- perceptions of Australia as a mature exploration destination where there are fewer opportunities for new discoveries;
- challenges in exploring for deposits buried under the overlying sand, soil and sediment that covers much of Australia.”
There are few, if any, remaining major, new mineral deposits that are exposed at the Earth’s surface remaining to be found in Australia. The technical challenge of cost-effectively finding major, new mineral deposits hidden beneath barren cover rocks has not yet been met. Consequently, mineral exploration is moving from Australia to less well-explored countries with Australia’s share of global mineral exploration reducing from ~1/4 in the 1990s to ~1/8th currently.
In order to reverse this trend, we require a new set of exploration tools and new ways to deploy those tools which recognise the fundamental importance of collecting quantity and quality data from the subsurface. Collecting these data requires drilling.
MinEx CRC’s research includes:
- Developing more productive, safer and environmentally-friendly drilling methods to discover and drill-out deposits, including coiled tubing drilling technology.
- Developing new technologies for collecting data while drilling, bringing forward mine production.
- Implementation of a National Drilling Initiative (NDI) - a world-first collaboration of Geological Surveys, researchers and industry that will undertake drilling in under-explored areas of potential mineral wealth in Australia.
Other notable CRCs within the resource sector:
- CRC for Optimising Resources Extraction (CRCORE)
- Future Battery Industries CRC (active)
- CRC for Transformations in Mining Economies (CRC-TiME)