Precious metals: ‘urban mining’ and discovering wealth in waste




If we aim to ‘value materials at their highest level’, then metals pose a number of intriguing challenges. Can we truly slow down the ‘take > make > dispose’ linear approaches for mined resources, and increasingly circulate these complex and valuable material flows? What needs to be done to achieve the many shifts that would enable this to happen?

Australia’s role as a global leader in the primary production of metals and minerals puts pressure on businesses and governments to anticipate and adapt to the future economy. What role do our traditional industries have in this space? How do we leverage their depth and breadth of experience and know-how with these materials?

E-waste processing technology uses traditional extractive metallurgy processes, but needs to be more responsive to a dynamic and unconventional resource base. How can industries and businesses that operate at such tremendous scale transform?

We’re thrilled to have key researchers presenting outcomes from the Wealth from Waste Cluster, a multi-university collaboration researching pathways to activate the circular economy for metals in Australia and beyond. The cluster focussed on 'mining' above ground resources, which are the metals contained in collections of discarded manufacturing products and consumer goods. It explored the quantification of global and local stocks and flows of metals available for urban mining, enablers for e-waste collection, and the potential for business models to foster the transition.

This session will be held over breakfast at the South Australian Drill Core Reference Library, a state-of-the-art centre where geological samples from over 130 years of exploration for mining and energy resources can be viewed.  An immersive 3D theatre makes it possible to explore South Australia’s renowned data sets using the latest technology.

Damien Giurco will be sharing outcomes from the Wealth from Waste Cluster at this engaging breakfast session at the South Australian Drill Core Reference Library.

Terry Burgess will consider the links between 'urban mining' and traditional industries, and how industries must keep abreast of these emerging trends.