Sustainable Minerals Institute (SMI)

The University of Queensland

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An underground mine tunnel

The Sustainable Minerals Institute is a world-leading research institute dedicated to finding knowledge-based solutions to the sustainability challenges of the global minerals industry. Our purpose is to develop game changing graduates by working with our partners to co-create solutions to the big challenges facing the sector and to create change for responsible resource development. SMI has a unique inter-disciplinary approach encompassing the expertise of scientists, engineers, anthropologists, sociologists, economists, and natural resource specialists with in-depth knowledge, at corporate and operational levels, built from years of practical experience and engagement. Our expertise is genuinely independent and objective. Our work covers all facets of the life of mine from geology, to minerals extraction, water management issues, minerals processing, workplace health and safety, mine rehabilitation and closure, community engagement and social responsibility.


Key science sectors

Strengths and capabilities

  • Ecological Engineering of Soil
  • Plant Systems
  • Ecosystem Assessment, Resoration and Resilience
  • Regional Water and Land Resources
  • Life Cycles of Mines and Metals
  • Social Responsibility
  • Human Factors in the Resources Sector
  • The Digital Mine
  • Complex Orebodies, Mass Underground Mining
  • Mine to Mill
  • Separation, Ore Processability, Process Integration

Facilities and major equipment

  • Automated column leaching apparatus
  • Herbarium with online digital access
  • Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs)
  • Controlled plant growth environments, Rainfall simulator
  • Mineral Flotation
  • Mineral Sample analysis
  • Mineral sample preparation/cutting/crushing/grinding
  • Mineral sizing
  • Comminution
  • Mineral liberation and Tomographic Analysis

Number of research staff

20-100 research staff


Level 4, Sir James Foots Building (#47A), The Univeristy of Queensland, St. Lucia, 4072

Lead researchers

Achievements of the centre

  • Understanding hyperaccumulator plants
  • Development of social performance issue guides
  • High Voltage Pulse Pretreatment of Ores

Organisation type

  • University Research Centre

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