First listed on: 09 August 2022

PhD Scholarship: Simulation of low-grade copper ore heap leaching processing


Acknowledgement of Country

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The Opportunity

  • Are you passionate about a career in research?
  • Want to work on cutting-edge research with a team of dedicated professionals?
  • Apply for this CSIRO-RMIT co-funded scholarship today!

This CSIRO-RMIT co-funded PhD scholarship is available to conduct research into mineral resources.  The PhD candidate will gain intensive knowledge in innovative processing protocols for complex mineral processing, column leaching, and mining site environmental science through hands-on experiments as well as collaborations with CSIRO Mineral Resources experts.

The successful candidate will have a unique opportunity to work closely with researchers and technical experts from CSIRO in a multi-disciplinary team environment. The project will provide numerous research and development opportunities including:

(a) the development and optimization of innovative processing protocols for copper sulfide ores, especially those which have previously been considered too difficult to process;

(b) the development of new approaches/protocols toward acid prevention and mine waste management;

(c) Cutting-edge chemical analytical and mineral characterisation techniques: solution chemical sensing, mineralogy analysis, particle analysis, electron microscopy, and synchrotron technology.

The candidate should have experience in one or more of the following research areas: Mineral Processing, Chemistry, Chemical Engineering, Geochemistry, Chemical Sensing, Environmental Science.

Project Title:  Simulation of low-grade copper ore heap leaching performance to enable accurate copper recovery forecasting

Project Details:  

Heap, dump or dam leaching involves stacking of low-grade metal-bearing ore into a heap on an impermeable pad, irrigating the heap for an extended period of time (from months to years) with a chemical solution suitable for dissolving the valuable metals, and collecting the leachate as it percolates out from the base of the heap for further processing. This technique has been widely applied in processing of low-grade gold, silver, copper, uranium, and nickel laterite ores. However, in many operations the rate of metal extraction is slow - for low-grade copper ores it often takes two years or more to recover the copper.

This PhD Project will focus on better understanding the chemical and hydrological processes of low grade copper ore leaching and developing simulation models to predict the column leaching performance of low grade copper ore.

Location:   Clayton, VIC
Scholarship:  $33,000 per annum, plus a Tuition Fee Scholarship if required
Tenure:   3 years with a possible extension of six months
Reference:  87493


To be eligible to apply you must have (or expect to gain):

  • have a first-class Honours or H1 or equivalent degree in a relevant discipline of engineering/science
  • be an Australian citizen, New Zealand Citizen or an Australian permanent resident or an international student meeting the minimum English language requirements
  • provide evidence of adequate oral and written communication skills
  • demonstrate the ability to work as part of a multi-disciplinary research team
  • meet RMIT’s entry requirements for the PhD by research degree

International applicants must have the appropriate immigration approvals to allow them to take up the scholarship. 

The successful applicant will be required to obtain and provide a National Police Check or equivalent.

Contact:  For more information, please contact Dr Miao Chen on 3 9545 8847 or via email at

How to apply:

You will be required to:

  1. submit a Resume/CV and Cover Letter (as one document) in the ‘Resume/CV field which includes:
    • a research statement;
    • any publications/awards; and
    • the contact details of two referees.
  2. upload your academic results in the ‘Cover Letter’ field.

If you experience difficulties applying online call 1300 984 220 and someone will be able to assist you.  Outside business hours please email:

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Applications close: 

20 November 2022, 11:00pm AEST

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