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Mr Bill Jeffery

IMP@CT Research Technician

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Summary of Research

The current mining paradigm promotes extraction from large ‘world-class’ deposits that have required innovations in mining techniques to deal with low grades, large infrastructure to deal with high throughputs and large feasibility studies to prove long-term commercial viability. High investment in operations is no longer available in the current economic climate and many small companies have ceased to trade, concentrating production and limiting the ability of the raw materials market to respond to increased demand for raw materials or shortages in raw material supply. The problem is most extreme for critical raw materials that are produced in small quantities relative to traditional metal commodities because the potential return on investment is too low. The IMP@CT project proposes a solution that develops a new switch on-switch off (SOSO) mining paradigm to improve the viability of many critical metal and other small complex deposits.

My research will address the issue of dealing with geological uncertainty in small high-grade and complex ore deposits in order to develop geomodels that will support rapid SOSO extraction. Information on mineralogical variability will feed into the development of ore sorting and real-time grade control technologies to subsequently analyse the results of comminution activities and to bring XRF ore sorting capability to the working face in order to optimize selective mining in complex deposits. Mine sites in the West Balkans region will be used as a proxy for this study.

This project is funded by the EU Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.

Education

MGeol Geology, Plymouth University (2012-2016)

Thesis: Mineral assemblages and textures of granite-hosted veins in the Hemerdon W-Sn deposit; constraints from scanning electron microscope chemical X-ray mapping.