(EnergyAsia, August 2 2012, Wednesday) — BASF, the German chemicals giant, recently opened its global mining research and development centre at the Australian Minerals Research Centre (AMRC) in Perth in Western Australia state.

Its scientists will study and develop solutions to specifically meet the needs for mineral processing and metal production with the aim of reducing energy and reuse water in the mining industries. Australia’s massive coal and coal-seam gas industries will be major beneficiaries of the centre’s R&D activities.

Speaking at the centres’s opening last month, Australian Minister for Resources and Energy, Martin Ferguson, said that Australian mining relies on technological innovation to drive improved productivity.

BASF’s research will contribute to the global competitiveness of the Australian mining industry, helping to maximise returns to the community and shareholders.
Martin Brudermueller, BASF’s vice chairman, said:

“Chemistry is a key enabler to making tomorrow’s mining industry more sustainable. With the latest advances in mining solutions research, BASF aims to help mining operations to minimise water consumption, maximise recovery, reduce land areas consumed by tailings disposal and minimise the cost and time required to rehabilitate sites.”

The AMRC site is part of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), Australia’s national science agency and one of the largest and most diverse research agencies in the world.

BASF said it expects to have a team of six advanced material researchers at the centre by end-2012 and about 20 researchers over the next five years, focusing on topics like advanced rheology modifiers to improve the thickening process for valuables and tailings, as well as modification of the crystallisation process in alumina production.

“High quality ores are becoming depleted and new mines are often in hostile locations while environmental, health and safety regulations are becoming more stringent. BASF aims to help the industry face these challenges with solutions across our customers’ value chain. This new research and development center will further develop our expertise in areas, which are crucial to meeting future needs,” said Steffen Kudis, head of BASF’s Global Oilfield and Mining Solutions businesses.

With its extensive range of reagents and technologies for mineral processing, BASF Mining Solutions is a global business focused on its strengths in solid-liquid separation and extraction processes.