The University of Melbourne's Approach to Solving the Problems of Education and Research in the Extractive Metallurgy Area

Organization: The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Pages: 3
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1986
Australia as a leading producer of mineral sands has also occupied a leading position in many areas of research'in the processing and applications of these minerals. Research in upgrading ilmenite to produce synthetic rutile has resulted in the develop- ment of many processes, e.g,., Becher, Murso, Chlorine Technology, and ICI processes. Studies on the reducibility of ilmenites, aqueous leaching of reduced ilmenites, Fe-Ti-O system, leachability of natural and treated ilmenites in hydrochloric acid and selective chlorination of iron from ilmenites have been carried out in order to develop and improve the efficiency of the above processes. While research on the processing of zircon sand to produce high purity (99.99% ZrO2 zirconia powder and zirconium chemicals started only recently, research by CSIRO in the early 1970s led to the discovery of the phenomenon of transformation toughening in partially stabilized zirconia (PSZ) ceramics. Australia, with very significant resources of lanthanide-containing ores, pro- duces substantial quantities of monazite each year but research in processing and appli- cations of rare earths was neglected in recent years in this country. However, research to improve processes for the recovery of rare earths is now under way and studies on the production and testing of Nd-B-Fe magnets which are 1.5-2 times stronger than the strongest magnets (Sm-Co) currently available, have also commenced.' An overview of the research in the pro- cessing and applications of mineral sands during the last two decades in Australia and its implications for the industry are pre- sented in the paper.
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