Supporting Industry and University Collaboration

Supporting Industry and University Collaboration

GPA has a long history of working with universities to provide a strong link between academia and industry which has included mentoring, as well as sponsoring The University of Adelaide Motorsport team.

Throughout 2020/21 GPA process engineer, Jason Wylie has been working with QUT as an Industry Representative to support student Capstone Projects. Last week Jason provided onsite mentorship and supervision allowing student access to GPA client, MMG’s Dugald River mine site.

QUT student, Karishma is working on a project which looks to investigate ways to optimise the flotation circuit at MMG’s Dugald River mine site. The project started off as a proposal to reprocess, or upgrade, the final tails prior to being discharged into the tailings dam. Following consultation with metallurgists it was proposed that the best way to add value was to investigate ways of increasing recovery of metals at the start of the circuit rather than the end through the optimisation of the flotation circuit.

Karishma’s project investigates the effect of grind size on the recovery and grade of lead in the rougher (first) stage of the lead circuit. While onsite, Karishma used Dugald River’s laboratory equipment, including a rod grinding mill, flotation cell, and Malvern Mastersizer to determine the optimal grind size on the grade and recovery of lead, while also determining any adverse effects such as increased carbon and zinc recovery.

The outcomes of this project will inform MMG of methods to recover larger percentages of lead, reducing saleable metals being discharged into tails. MMG have supported the project, providing flights, accommodation and meals whilst on site, and have also loaned the university a flotation cell for use at the Gardens Point campus.

GPA employed Karishma for the duration of the project, allowing her to be onsite as a research subcontractor. Jason, having experience working as an operator at Dugald River, acted as mentor while on site.

“The site trip, and time spent acting as a mentor, has allowed me to share knowledge and experience firsthand. Being able show someone how a site works through immersion is one of the most effective ways to explain concepts, and relate classroom teaching to industry.” – Jason

Karishma was able to complete required experiments and testing to inform her research. The experience onsite provided a hands on insight into industry, applying research to real-world situations.

‘This project has allowed me to learn so much about applying the skills I used at university in industry. Visiting the site was the highlight of my project as I got to see what impact my project could have on the mine.’ – Karishma

GPA endeavour to build strong relationships to between industry and universities, supporting the engineers of the future and in turn the future of industry. As opportunities present, GPA places importance on the allocation of time to staff and industry development, benefits of this are threefold – new experiences for our staff, industry experience for students and stronger connections within industry.

^Dugald River Mine Processing Plant

^Sample Preparation for Rod Mill

^Rod Mill Showing Grinding Media and Slurry

^Karishma Completing Flotation Testwork