April 2018

Research grant to focus on mining in high temperature geothermal ore body

Associate Professor Brian Hawkett

A/Prof Brian Hawkett

Mining companies operating in extreme temperatures may soon find processes and procedures a lot less onerous, thanks to the funding of a major research project by the Australian Research Council.

The $636,000 grant was awarded to Dyno Nobel and the University of Sydney’s Key Centre for Polymer Colloids (KCPC) to address global miners’ challenges operating in high temperature ground.

Dyno Nobel Asia Pacific Chief Technology Development Officer Rob Rounsley said mining in high temperature ground, such as extreme geothermal environments, had always been a challenge for the industry.

“Creating a solution that improves safety whilst lifting productivity through innovative technology is a key driver for Dyno Nobel, and we are excited to be working on developing this groundbreaking project,” Mr Rounsley said.

Dyno Nobel has some of the world’s most innovative explosives chemists on board, led by Explosives R&D Manager Dr Jeff Gore.

“The team is thrilled to be collaborating with the some of the brightest minds in Australia on this project including Associate Professor Brian Hawkett, Professor Gregory Warr, , and Professor Roger Tanner at the KCPC,” Dr Gore said.

“Partnering with these world-class experts is an exciting step forward in addressing the challenges global miners face in operation in higher temperature ground.”

Emulsion explosives for rock blasting in extreme geothermal environments aims to understand the underlying mechanisms behind the physical and chemical breakdown of ammonium nitrate-based emulsion explosives used for mining in geothermally active regions.

“We want to progress our learnings and apply this knowledge to develop a new class of emulsion explosives for use at higher temperatures,” Dr Gore said.

“Our findings will also benefit the Australian mining industry by allowing mining of resources at depth, where the ground temperature is very high due to geothermal heating or other factors associated with high temperature ore body and importantly extract these resources safely and with improved productivity.”

Mr Rounsley said funding from the Australian Research Council was highly competitive and much-sought after.

“Dyno Nobel and the KCPC have a long history of success in obtaining government-sponsored funding for these high-end research activities, and with only 34 per cent of proposals receiving approval, we are very much looking forward to researching solutions to these issues.”

The project commenced in March 2018, and will run for three years.


Associate Professor Brian Hawkett
The Key Centre for Polymer and Colloids
within the School of Chemistry
The University of Sydney NSW 2006
T: +61 2 9351 6973