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The School of Minerals and Energy Resources Engineering has a strong track record of engaging in research to help advance our society towards a more prosperous and safe environment. Engineers are people of action, driven to create and solve problems. Our staff and students strive to make things happen, and to make a difference.
Here we profile some of the research being undertaken to positively influence global trends in our industry.
“Coal bursts pose one of the biggest safety and productivity risks in the mining industry and have the potential to cause multiple fatalities.”
“We have eight PhD students working on off-Earth mining, so it really feels like we’ve reached a critical mass.”
“My research is driven by the increasing global awareness that in order to protect the environment we need to be smarter about how we recover minerals and other precious resources.”
“The scientific understanding gained from this project enables us to develop techniques to optimise the parameters for the coal washing process in order to maximise the quantity and quality of the metallurgical products produced.”
“Understanding heterogeneity is important, because it can lead to uncertainties in reservoir performance parameters, which is important to know if a single well can cost up to $US200 million.”
“My research aims to develop efficient methods to help mines capture methane based on an improved understanding of mining geomechanics and gas flow patterns, so they can improve safety, reduce their environmental impact and add value to their operations.”
“My primary focus is producing research that is advantageous for industry – that has concrete benefits for companies and can help them in analysis of the field data.”
“As industry changes, the university changes and our offerings need to adapt to continue to service the specific requirements of minerals extraction in the future.”
“I create visualisation of the geometry of rocks with resolution down to a few microns. This leads to better understanding of flow and transport in subsurface conditions required for large-scale reservoir modelling and characterisation.”
“With digital rock physics we can test many variables and use data analytics to develop the most effective reservoir management scheme."
“The bottom line is about providing industry with significantly improved knowledge on rock behaviour, particularly underground rock failure mechanisms, and also providing tools or methods for industry to use.”
“It’s great that we’re bringing all this power together and I’m already involved in projects with my petroleum engineering colleagues.”
“Our work is current because mining operations are undergoing a rapid transition towards automation, remote operations, robotics and artificial intelligence. These are very new cross-disciplinary areas and require the industry to harness different kinds of expertise.”
“We developed a technology to find what we call ‘sweet spots’, to make the gas production commercially viable.”
“Most recently, I have proposed a comprehensive framework for characterising naturally-fractured coal. The framework takes the geostatistical data from micro-CT images of coal, and applies it to reconstruct a 3D coal fracture network model.”
“Because of the breadth of mining activities, the interest of mining companies and the climatic conditions, Australia has huge potential when it comes to the development of sustainable mine waste management systems and strategies.”
“I have a deep interest in mining engineering, but my passion is education and delivering it in the best possible way to improve the learning experience and outcomes for students.”
“This research has piqued the interest of the petroleum industry because they are able to take the tools I’m creating, that visualise what’s going on in the deeper earth, to better understand how oil and gas reservoirs are created and where they are located.”
"I welcome this new education-focused role. It gives me a lot more time to develop courses and think about the best ways to enhance the learning experience and learning outcomes for students in the School."