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Partnership for eco-friendly metal extraction from ore and e-waste

FJH (860 x 480)

A new industry-research collaboration aims to use innovative Flash Joule Heating technology to revolutionise critical metal beneficiation from traditional and urban mining.

Murdoch University and MTM Critical Metals have signed a Memorandum of Understanding that unites Murdoch's expertise in extractive metallurgy with MTM's exclusive global rights to FJH technology.

Invented by Professor James Tour at Rice University in the United States, not only can FJH extract critical metals such as Rare Earth Elements, nickel, cobalt and lithium from natural mineralisation, it can also be used to regain metals from waste material including lithium ion batteries and e-waste, the largest growing source of waste in the world.

Precious metal recovery from e-waste, termed urban mining, is important for a circular economy, but current methods such as smelting and leaching are lengthy, polluting processes.

FJH is solvent-free and sustainable, using high voltage and high current to recover precious metals and remove hazardous heavy metals in e-waste within one second. 

Murdoch University, through its School of Engineering and Energy and the Centre for Water, Energy and Waste at the Harry Butler Institute, is renowned for its expertise in sustainable mining and engineering practices. 

Led by Academic Chair of Chemical and Metallurgical Engineering Professor Aleks Nikoloski, Murdoch will work with MTM to examine ways to use FJH technology to enhance the recovery and production of high-purity metals and metal compounds. 

Professor Nikoloski is an expert in the development of metallurgical technologies as precursors for high tech applications including electrochemical systems and recyclable resources.

MTM Chairman John Hannaford said the company was delighted to be partnering with Murdoch.

This is a significant endorsement of the potential of FJH technology across REE and critical minerals sectors”- MTM Chairman John Hannaford

“Western Australia has not only a world leading mining industry but also has large stockpiles of materials categorised as waste, which represent an opportunity for value addition with the right technology. 

“Murdoch University is well positioned as our research partner in these technologies as they apply to bulk waste streams in Australia and globally.” 

The partnership will accelerate research efforts through the establishment of research programs and infrastructure for testing mineral waste streams and developing new mineral processing solutions for primary ores, which will in turn benefit future commercialisation plans. 

Feature Image: Carbon black powder turns into graphene in a burst of light and heat through a technique developed at Rice University. Flash graphene turns any carbon source into the valuable 2D material in 10 milliseconds. (Credit: Jeff Fitlow/Rice University)

Discover how Murdoch University's Centre for Water, Energy and Waste at the Harry Butler Institute conducts research that ensures human endeavours can coexist with biodiversity and sensitive ecosystems.

Posted on:

13 Jun 2024

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As experts in the area of sustainable development, the Harry Butler Institute enables industry to deliver maximum economic value to our community, whilst simultaneously safeguarding the environment.

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