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Our research

Mining engineering and metallurgical engineering have two main areas of research Rock Mechanics and Gold Technology.

“Curtin WA School of Mines is investing in the future of mining in WA with graduates ready for the industry and research to make us more productive in a competitive global environment”

Bill Beament, President WASM Alumni

Mine health and safety

Underground Mine Ventilation and Climate Control

Area of Expertise and Projects:

  • Ventilation design and planning
  • Ventilation survey and model calibration
  • Ventilation system auditing
  • Fan performance testing
  • Diesel Particulate Matter monitoring and control
  • Dust monitoring and control
  • Fire simulation and emergency planning
  • Coal mine gas modelling

Mine Safety Management and Geoinformatics

Area of Expertise and Projects:

Mine Safety Management

  • Risk Assessment in Mines
  • Behavioural Safety of Mine Workers
  • Injury Epidemiology in Mine Safety
  • Causal Analysis through Structural Equation modeling to Identify the Predictors of Occupational Injuries


  • Derivation of Morphometric Parameters Using Digital Elevation Model
  • Selection of Suitable Aquifer Recharge Sites using remote Sensing and GIS
  • Mining induced land subsidence monitoring using Remote Sensing and GIS

Mine simulation and visualisation

Mine Simulation and Visualisation

  • Risk Management and Stakeholder Engagement
  • Industry Needs Analysis
  • Educational Design and Validation
  • Simulator Integration and Evaluation

Feasibility Studies

  • Sustainable Simulator Technologies
  • System Scoping and Design
  • Technology Transfer

Development of Custom Instrumentation

  • Environmental Impacts of Blast Induced Vibrations
  • Measurement of Differential Settlement in Soil and Backfill

Mine infrastructure and services

Mine Services

Area of Expertise and Projects:

  • Maintenance management of mine and plant machinery – Surveying the reliability and availability of mine and plant equipment and establishing their productivity
  • Identifying the causes/reasons for frequent failures of an equipment which lead to poor productivity Information is useful for material/spares management, contractor management, developing skills of the crew.
  • Predictive maintenance – Imminent failures of plant equipment can be identified using thermography and vibration monitoring, thus avoiding failures
  • Assist with ventilation systems optimisation and upgrades, Ventilation surveys including gas monitoring

Mine Communication and Mining Machinery

Area of Expertise and Projects:

Underground Ad-hoc Communication System Based on ZigBee and WebGIS

Utilisation of Measurement Technology for Mine

  • Underground Imaging
  • Early Diagnosis of Excavation Machinery
  • Development of Rockfall Detection System
  • Mining Applications of ZigBee
  • Slope Monitoring
  • Development of DigBot (Digging Robot) for Surveying the Underground
  • Estimating the Location of the Drill-Bit During Horizontal Directional Drilling

Waveform Analysis for Mine

  • Magnified Cross-Correlation Analysis for Underground Imaging
  • Wavelet Analysis for Blasting Vibration
  • ALM Analysis for Diesel Engine in Excavation Machinery

Mine planning and resource estimation

Underground and Surface Mine Planning

Area of Expertise and Projects:

Surface and Underground Mine Planning and Optimisation

  • Mine Waste Dump Planning and Design
  • Long and Short Term Mine Scheduling for Surface and Underground mines
  • Unground Stope Boundary Optimisation
  • Overbreak Prediction using Artificial Neural Network
  • Application of the Real Options in Engineering Design and Decision Making
  • Mine equipment Scheduling Based on Maintenance Cost

Mineral and Energy Economics

  • Project Evaluation Using Real Option Approach and Market Modelling
  • Non-renewable Energy Market Modelling and Future Forecasting

Optimisation in Mine Planning and Design
Mineral project valuation and feasibility studies

Area of Expertise and Projects:

Optimisation in Mine Planning and Design

  • Network flow based stochastic optimisation models for ultimate pit limit and phase design
  • Stochastic optimisation models for mining complexes with multiple mines and processing streams
  • Heuristic approaches to cut-off grade optimisation for multiple processing processes under geological uncertainty
  • Heuristic models for optimal scale of open pit mining operations under geological uncertainty
  • Blending optimisation models for long and short-term production scheduling of limestone quarries
  • Simulation modelling for mine design

Mineral project valuation and feasibility studies

Spatial Modelling of Ore bodies and Earth Science Variables,
Surface Mine Planning and Optimisation

Area of Expertise and Projects:

  • Application of Univariate and Multivariate Geostatistical Algorithms for Spatial Prediction of Earth Science Variables
  • Borehole and Geophysical Data Integration for Mapping Stratified Deposits including Bauxite, Coal, Phosphate
  • Assessment of Uncertainty associated with Grade Variability being fed to Processing Plant
  • Long and Short Term Mine Scheduling for Surface and Underground mines

Surface mine extraction and maintenance

Reliability modelling,
Mathematical simulations and Statistical analysis

Area of Expertise and Projects:

Reliability modelling

  • Mining applications include modelling the reliability of mine machinery from failure data.
  • Previous experience in modelling the reliability of components of an Australian manufactured car using warranty data, leading to an estimate of warranty costs.

Mathematical simulations

  • Mining applications include the mathematical modelling of processes to generate data.
  • Previous application in simulating failure data to estimate the cost of extending a new car warranty.

Statistical analysis

  • Mining applications include the statistical analysis of data.

Metallurgy research

Given the location of the Western Australian School of Mines in Kalgoorlie-Boulder, a major focus of research undertaken is on the two main commodities for the region – Gold and Nickel. Other commodities of research particular interest are Iron Ore and Aluminium – both of which play an important role in the resource industry of Western Australia.

Current research covers unit processes across the three areas of primary metallurgy:

  • Mineral Processing especially comminution, flotation and gravity separation,
  • Hydrometallurgy especially solvent extraction, and
  • Pyrometallurgy.

Mine road design and management

Research related to mine haul road design, construction, management and training, includes road designs for new mine sites, as well as optimisation, up-grades and rehabilitation of operating mine haul roads are provided, tailored to client requirements, using state of the art design technologies and appropriate technical capabilities.

Numerous contract and applied research assignments have been undertaken, centred on surface mining transportation productivity issues and the provision, rehabilitation or improved design and management of mine haul roads for many of the world’s leading surface mining operations.

Specific research interests cover:

  • Mechanistic structural design of new mine haul roads or up-grading and re-design for larger vehicles;
  • Functional design, selection or modification of mine haul road wearing course/sheeting materials for optimal road performance;
  • Haul road performance surveys and rehabilitation/repair strategies;
  • Benchmarking haul road performance, operation and management strategies;
  • Real-time haul road maintenance management systems;
  • Haul road design audits and development of SOP’s for mine road construction and operation;
  • Evaluation of stabilizers, dust palliatives, product selection and management strategies;
  • Road maintenance management scheduling solutions for optimal performance and safety.
  • Real-time rolling resistance and road performance assessments using on-board systems.

WASM MEME are also members of the Haul Road Optimisation Alliance – an industry group who collaborate to develop unique solutions to improving mine road design, operation and performance.