Fresh global alliance to protect clean energies in the future

The latest collaboration between the University of Western Australia, the University of Bristol, and BHP focuses on producing new technologies to reliably find high-quality copper deposits and decrease the environmental effects of mining. A group of researchers will be headed by Professor Marco Fiorentini, Professor Steffen Hagemann, and Professor Tony Kemp of the Centre for Exploration Targeting at UWA to study core mechanisms responsible for mysterious grouping metals in the crust of the Earth.

Following a fiercely competitive screening process for an international group of candidates, UWA’s Centre for Exploration Targeting, as well as the University of Bristol, was collectively chosen to collaborate with BHP. Professor Steffen Hagemann, director of the Centre, said the exciting and creative research collaboration would put world-class geoscientists collaborating to help address the global copper shortage. “Our study will help determine where the high-grade copper deposits are situated in the resource field, which will push smarter exploration and allows more productive mining,” stated Professor Hagemann.

High-grade copper mines containing a high copper content allow resource companies to drill smaller areas to produce the same copper quantity as a bigger yet lower-grade mine. The discovery of high-grade copper reserves would also enable mineral companies to improve their mines’ cumulative environmental sustainability. Keenan Jennings, Vice-President of Metals Exploration at the BHP, said the collaboration would further guide the global strategy of BHP to find new, high-quality copper reserves.

Mr. Jennings stated, “BHP considers Centre for Exploration Targeting of UWA as opinion leaders in interpreting mineral environments and a key to multinational geoscience research capability. The partnership aims to create capacity for key industry-facing researchers to engage in the exploration of the next wave of mineral reserves in Australia as well as abroad. Amit Chakma, the UWA Vice-Chancellor Professor, said that partnership was necessary to develop new insights and for the wellbeing of the whole society to be progressed. “I am excited about the prospects of this initiative, and I applaud all those involved in putting together this world-leading group.”

Professor Hagemann stated it would help protect the world’s potential green economy by addressing the global copper shortage crisis. The resource is essential for sustainable energy applications like batteries, electric cars, and wind farms. “We will need to explore more copper than it has ever extracted to date in an attempt to progress towards a completely renewable, sustainable as well as the green economy,” Professor Hagemann stated.

One of the key priorities of the Centre for Exploration Targeting at UWA is to establish essential expertise to help uncover metals that can be made feasible tomorrow. “In energy as well as the socio-economically restricted world, the precise location of insufficient commodities has become extremely difficult, and our investigation will boost tomorrow’s renewable power,” Professor Hagemann added.

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