CRC ORE Student Projects: Vacation Program – 2019/20 APPLY NOW

The Cooperative Research Centre for Optimising Resource Extraction (CRC ORE) has developed eight projects suitable for students from CRC ORE’s Research Partners, for Vacation Student programs and Austmine’s sponsored STEM initiative.


CRC ORE Vacation Students 2018
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CRC ORE summer intern program
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by 1 November 2019

These projects and activities are aligned with the overall CRC ORE work program and deliverables for FY2019/20 and report to Commonwealth Milestones. This page outlines the projects, CRC ORE resource responsible and skill sets required to deliver each project. The students may be involved in all or part of the below projects.

Actual student numbers employed will depend on CRC ORE approved budgeted positions, as well as the calibre of applicants.

Applications are invited from students aligned with CRC ORE's Essential Research Participants (AMIRA, CSIRO, Curtin University, Mining3, MRIWA, NRC Canada, QUT, The University of Adelaide, The University of Queensland, The University of Tasmania).


  • applications due Friday 1 November 2019
  • commencing Monday 25 November 2019
  • concluding Friday 21 February 2020
  • students will be required to take 3 weeks unpaid leave between Friday 20 December 2019 and Friday 10 January 2020 inclusive


Please forward your application to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by 1 November 2019.

Project Overviews:

Project 1: Developing a tool to allow anyone to quickly process, evaluate and benchmark particle grade distributions while also contributing anonymously to an ever-expanding database of industry results

Position Located: Brisbane, Queensland

Project Leader: Patrick Walters (CRC ORE) / Secondary Supervisor: Greg Wilkie (CRC ORE)

Skill Set: Experience in programming and web-based development (IT Degree focus).

Project Description:

Development of an (on/off) line application to collect and process grade data from screen upgrading evaluations and individual particle grade assessments. Similar in scope to the CEEC energy-curve-program that benchmarks sites against industry this project will aim to be delivered free to the wider industry. CRC ORE (via external [CEEC?]) will process results and present specifics back to the uploading party with a genericised version being appended to a central database.

As CRC ORE has already compiled Natural Deportment results for >3,000 samples and has expanded this to include ~4000 particle grade assays across a range of coarse sizes (>10mm) this project will be office based and data driven. A significant number of additional results are expected pre-2020 through both internal CRC ORE projects and KH-007.


Project 2: Blast designs as inputs to Grade Engineering evaluations

Position Located: Brisbane, Queensland

Project Leader: David La Rosa (CRC ORE) / Secondary Supervisor: Nick Beaton (CRC ORE)

Skill Set: It is envisaged that a 3rd year student with Java experience would be required to complete these tasks. We would not necessarily require a computer science student, perhaps someone doing a dual degree.

Project Description:

CRC ORE personnel regularly utilise blast designs as inputs to Grade Engineering evaluations. This information includes:

  • Hole Diameter
  • Hole Length
  • Hole Location
  • Designed burden and spacing
  • Explosive loading (mass per hole and explosive characteristics)
  • Rock mass characteristics
  • Rock mass grade
  • Etc..

These data are integral to modelling the particle size distribution of the blast, as this has a direct impact on the grade engineering response of the blasted ore.

When these data are sent to CRC ORE, it is often the case that the data are in a csv format that is site specific, generally as a text file/s. It can be time consuming to inspect the files to extract the parameters necessary to model and visualize the blast.

A useful tool for CRC ORE would be the development of a tool to standardize blast definitions into a common, easily read file format that would enable archival, analysis and visualisation. It is proposed that the industry standard JavaScript Object Notation (JSON) file format be utilised. This is a self-describing file, that would enable all the data associated with a blast to be stored in a single text file. Below is an example of a description of a business card, but it is easy to see how this could be modified to hold the data that describes a blast.


  "firstName": "John",

  "lastName": "Smith",

  "age": 27,

  "address": {

    "streetAddress": "21 2nd Street",

    "city": "New York",

    "state": "NY",

    "postalCode": "10021-3100"


  "phoneNumbers": [


      "type": "home",

      "number": "212 555-1234"



      "type": "office",

      "number": "646 555-4567"




Other data that could be included into this data schema include the results of the blast, for example the particle size distribution, blast destination/s, vibrations, photographs, videos and other documentation. The goal of this project would be to have a single file that captures all pertinent data that relates to the blasting process, including inputs and outputs.

In addition to this task, it would be advantageous to develop a tool that would use simple logical rules to parse source files to determine which columns in the file hold hole collar coordinates for example, as well as other data of relevance (hole length, detonation time, etc).


Project 3: Analysis of external factors influencing step-change technology uptake in the mining industry

Position Located: Brisbane, Queensland

Project Leader: Garth Hamilton (CRC ORE) / Secondary Supervisor: Paul Revell (CRC ORE)

Skill Set: Mining Engineering student with an interest in commerce, business or new technologies,

Project Description:

This project is about identifying external factors that have influenced both successful and unsuccessful incidences of technology implementation. If successful, this project would provide useful context that would support the outcomes of existing CRC ORE projects. A comparison of case studies would be undertaken to identify any trends and provide the basis for a tool to help identify external factors influencing future situations. 

Data acquisition would be undertaken by both interviews and broader research.


Project 4: SaaS Service Desk Workflow and Reporting – Information Technology, Computer Science

Position Located: Brisbane, Queensland

Project Leader: Greg Shapland (CRC ORE)/Secondary Supervisor: Robert Watkins (CRC ORE)

Skill Set: Information Technology (Conceptual understanding of workflow automation and visualisations).

Project Description:

CRC ORE has developed the Integrated Extraction Simulator (IES), a web application that can model and simulate mining and mineral processing activities from blasting to final concentrate.  Existing minerals processing simulators are typically desktop software the perform a single simulation at a time whereas IES is Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and can run millions of simulations scaled across servers in the cloud.  This project is about configuring tools and processes for a production service desk by creating workflows and performance visualisations for internal and end user consumption.

The project will use Service Desk tools and a Business Intelligence tool, Microsoft’s Power BI to manipulate and visualise the data.  The project will use existing visualisations available in the market and development of custom visualisations relevant for SaaS and IES users.


Project 5: AWS DevOps – Computer Science and Programming

Position Located: Brisbane, Queensland

Project Leader: Robert Watkins (CRC ORE)/Secondary Supervisor: Greg Shapland (CRC ORE)

Skill Set: Programming (JavaScript/Node/Ruby.  Experience or willingness to learn AWS tools).

Project Description:

CRC ORE has developed the Integrated Extraction Simulator (IES), a web application that can model and simulate mining and mineral processing activities from blasting to final concentrate.  Existing minerals processing simulators typically perform a single simulation at a time whereas IES can run millions of simulations scaled across servers in the cloud.  This project is about enhancing operational support and maintenance tools for the IES software, which is deployed in the Amazon Web Services ecosystem.

It is required to create and improve scripts to manage and monitor the IES software, leveraging AWS tools such as CloudFormation, CloudWatch, and OpsWorks. There will also be a requirement to enhance reporting tools and development of an operational dashboard visualisation.


Project 6: Increasing the reach of a Mining Innovation Hub through effective communications and engagement

Position Located: Brisbane, Queensland

Project Leader: Steven Henderson (CRC ORE)/Secondary Supervisor: Clytie Dangar

Skill Set: Engineering or Science student with an interest in communications, journalism or marketing preferably with an understanding of the mining industry. Must have good writing skills and ideally have experience in web publishing, social media, events and video production.

Project Description:

A vacation internship position is available for a student who is considering a career as a communicator of science, research and industry collaboration. The CRC ORE Engagement and Communications team is seeking a student who is skilled at quickly and effectively communicating across various channels.

Applicants must be able to demonstrate good skills in writing, editing, community engagement and media relations. The core of this student project is to establish a stronger online and physical presence for our Kalgoorlie-Boulder Mining Innovation Hub (Kal Hub). This involves working closely with Kal Hub staff and Communications Manager to determine what communications and engagement activities will help further establish the Kal Hub as centre for the development and deployment of new mining technology. While the work will mainly be based in CRC ORE’s Brisbane office, some travel to Kalgoorlie may be required. CRC ORE is ideally seeking a student who is good at concepting and planning, and also hands-on with producing content, events coordination and writing for web and social media. Video production knowledge and experience would be advantageous, as too would basic graphic design skills.


Project 7: Measuring and Modelling Particle Grade Distributions for covariance between Major and Minor penalty and credit elements

Position Located: Brisbane, Queensland

Project Leader: Greg Wilkie (CRC ORE)/Secondary Supervisor: Patrick Walters

Skill Set: Strong mathematics background.

Project Description:

The fundamental tenant of Grade Engineering as articulated by CRC ORE is to exploit the natural heterogeneity of an ore body (spatial, temporal or particle) in order to divert low value waste out of the mining value chain prior to expensive and environmentally deleterious comminution and processing unit operations. This involves rejecting material at relatively coarse particle sizes (typically 10mm to 200mm in size) prior to fine crushing and SAG milling. A significant challenge to overcome when working at these coarse particle sizes is that very little is known about the inherent particle grade distributions that are present in these coarse particle size ranges. Particle grade distributions are necessary for measuring and modelling gangue liberation and yield curves that can predict mass and value flows going to accept and reject streams.

Two major reasons contributing to this challenge are the amount of material that needs to be sampled and analysed at these coarse particle sizes (as determined by Gy’s formulae), and the general lack of analytical and modelling techniques that can measure and analyse the liberation characteristics of rocks at these coarse particle sizes.  By contrast fine particle liberation measurements around grinding mills and flotation plants have been routinely captured for over three decades using process mineralogy tools such as QemSCAN and MLA.

Recent work by Wilkie (2016) and CRC ORE (2018) have made significant inroads into this challenge. This work has shown that some porphyry Cu and Au deposits exhibit well behaved, lognormal particle grade distributions that can be modelled to generate high confidence yield curves for particle sortability and understanding the comminution process on coarse particles.  Furthermore, these distributions can be generated with as little as 40 to 100 particles per size fraction.

The aim of the proposed Vacation student project is to investigate the covariance between the major metal of interest and associated minor credit and penalty elements. The economics of Grade Engineering levers can be heavily influenced by credit and penalty elements since credit elements need to be associated with the metal of interest in order to upgrade into the accept stream whilst penalty elements need to be dissociated from the metal of interest in order to upgrade into the reject stream. Variations away from these ideal covariances may dramatically reduce the economic viability of the Grade Engineering lever.


Project 8: Analysing the risk of ore competence variability in process performance using IES and identifying potential risk mitigation approaches

Position Located: Brisbane, Queensland

Project Leader: Farhad Faramarzi (CRC ORE)/Secondary Supervisor: Eiman Amini

Skill Set: Mineral Processing, Mining, Metallurgy or Chemical Engineering.

Project Description:

IES is a cloud-based simulation and optimization platform, developed by CRC ORE to predict and optimize mineral processing performance while effectively integrating different units of operation including drilling and blasting, crushing, grinding, and flotation.

For decades the minerals industry has been challenged by inherent variability of ore deposits. Quantifying this characteristic of orebodies and estimating its impact on the process performance is becoming increasingly important because the mining industry needs to extract resources with lower grades and more complexities. Ore comminution is the most energy-intensive process in almost all mines and requires designs specifically tailored to aid maximizing the value chain. Although ore variability is frequently debated as a major source of uncertainty in process performance, most of the current ore testing methods do not capture this variability and plant designs and process performance predictions are based on using average values for ore characteristics.

Recently, a new drop weight testing approach (ExDWT) has been developed at JKMRC-UQ that measures the extent of ore competence variability within “representative” samples. A range of usable simulation models are integrated into IES where its capabilities allows to simulate performance of equipment in response to the changing input data. In this project the ‘measured’ extent of ore competence will be used in IES rather than average values to quantify the potential risks posed by the ore nature to performance of a SABC circuit configuration. Main objectives of this project are:

  • Quantifying risks of ore-induced variation in process.
  • Identifying circuit constraints when treating variable/transition ore types.
  • Identifying potential approaches to mitigate risks associated with the ore variability and optimising the process accordingly.



Please forward your application to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by 1 November 2019. 



CRC ORE is an international collaboration formed in 2010 to research, develop and deliver new technologies for the mining industry. The Centre is supported by the Commonwealth Government’s Cooperative Research Centre program, high profile tertiary institutions and industry partners. This program supports end-user driven research collaborations to address major challenges facing Australia. Led by Professor Ben Adair, CRC ORE is the first large scale Research and Development initiative to bring together ore body knowledge, mass mining, blasting engineering, mineral processing, spatial modelling and resource economics.

CRC ORE commenced in mid-2010 and was awarded a further six-year funding term commencing in July 2015. $34.4m of Commonwealth funding has been matched by industry participant cash contributions. This funding, together with in-kind support, means the current six-year term of CRC ORE is supported at start up by over $100m of investment to achieve critical mass and capacity.

CRC ORE is working in close collaboration with the global minerals industry to develop an innovative system based approach to improve productivity. This has resulted in an integrated operational solution built around Grade Engineering®. Grade Engineering seeks to improve unit metal productivity as a means of delivering system value to the life of mine. This involves a range of integrated technologies and operating protocols for improving effective feed grades through early rejection of gangue before energy intensive processing operations. The approach has significant implications for optimising resource extraction particularly of large, low grade mining operations.

CRC ORE’s Innovation Delivery Group (IDG) facilitates Grade Engineering technology progression through CRC ORE’s Innovation Pathway with a focus on value drivers and system integration. To achieve this, IDG is required to collaborate effectively with Mining, METS and Research participants. The IDG portfolio has five key areas of focus:
1. Delivering site utilisation projects to trial, demonstrate and validate Grade Engineering technologies
2. Delivery Theme projects focussing on the next generation of integrated Grade Engineering solutions
3. Supporting applied research and development programs with Research Participants
4. Technology Transfer of Grade Engineering outcomes to the mining industry
5. Mining Innovation Hub’s to promote innovation and uptake in the Australian mining sector

CRC ORE is headquartered at The Queensland Centre for Advanced Technologies (QCAT) at Pullenvale.


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