Study As
Full Time

Principal Supervisor
Associate Professor Larissa Statsenko

Main Campus
Mawson Lakes

Applications Close
08 Oct 2023

Study Level

Applications Open To
Domestic Candidate

Tuition Fees:

All domestic students are eligible for a fee waiver. Find out more about fees and conditions.

Project Stipend:
$32,500 p.a. (2023 rates) available to domestic applicants only

About this project

Develop technology lifecycle assessment for RIMM technology

If you are motivated to build a career in energy, mining and resources, and keen to develop novel and sustainable methods of recovering waste materials, the University of South Australia – Australia’s University of Enterprise – is offering a hands-on project-based PhD within Sustainable Infrastructure and Resource Management (SIRM), in partnership with  InnovEco and Care for Our Environment. 

The resin in moist mix (RIMM) process to recover valuable metals from fine fractions in tailings and clays is a promising technology that uses significantly less water and achieves higher metal recovery rates than traditional methods. The technology is patented by InnovEco Australia and has been further developed through collaboration with UniSA. It saves energy and reduces greenhouse gas emissions, but requires a science-based method for sustainability assessment. 

Our project will focus on developing and applying the technology lifecycle assessment (LCA) for the commercial application of RIMM technology. The LCA will include technology lifecycle costing and material flow cost accounting using a set of parameters, such as cumulative energy demand, carbon efficiency, and product costs, in a process-oriented approach and within defined process boundaries. 

The developed process flowsheet and technical-economic and environmental assessment will be performed for the RIMM treatment of low-grade copper, cobalt and rare earth elements. We want to understand how we could develop a process flow for sustainable extraction of critical metals from low-grade ores and fine fractions of a mineral that can be integrated at a commercial scale into the critical minerals value chain. 

You will based within the Sustainable Infrastructure and Resource Management group and have access to expertise and mentoring from the Future Industries Institute Mineral Processing Group. This dynamic and collegial environment will provide you with world-class facilities and equipment, as well as opportunities to build your academic and professional connections.  

What you’ll do

In this project-based research degree, you will be involved in defining the research questions, conducting a literature review, using mixed methods research methodology, collecting, analysing and interpreting data, and working as a part of the multidisciplinary research team. During the project you will use your existing knowledge and experience in mineral processing to deliver process flow diagrams. 

You will have to work with the technology LCA framework, policies, and processes, conduct quantitative and qualitative research and work collaboratively in a multicultural and multidisciplinary team environment. 

You may have the opportunity to present your research to both academia and industry, helping you build a sound professional reputation and network. You may have the opportunity to contribute to papers for academic and industry journals to disseminate findings and there may be opportunities for you to attend and present at conferences. 

Upon completion of the project, you will be positioned to advance your unstoppable career with skills and knowledge in life cycle assessment and industrial ecology, and mineral processing.

Where you’ll be based

Sustainable Infrastructure and Resource Management (SIRM) conducts research in three main streams: Natural Resources and Environmental Resilience, Innovative Infrastructure and Asset Management, and Smart Communities. 

The construction industry is an essential part of our lives, but it is one of the highest contributors to climate emissions. SIRM is committed to meaningful research that can help re-shape this industry into a leader in sustainable practices. SIRM also works directly with the resource sector, particularly water and forestry, to inspire innovative management.  

SIRM brings together diverse research expertise to address significant challenges for industries and the society at the interface of the natural and the built environments at both the macro and micro level to sustainably manage natural and built environments by applying innovative and efficient resource use, build resilient ecological and human systems through active engagement of diverse stakeholders, implement circular economy principles (rethink, reduce, re-use, and recycle) and innovative technologies for construction and other built environment sectors, promote smart resource recovery and the design and construction of efficient net-zero buildings, and support liveable cities and regional communities, tourism and agri-food production.

Supervisory team

Financial Support

This project is funded for reasonable research expenses. Additionally, a living allowance scholarship of $32,500 per annum is available to Australian and New Zealand citizens, and permanent residents of Australia, including permanent humanitarian visa holders. An additional top-up scholarship with a value of $5,000 per annum will be offered to the preferred applicant Australian Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander applicants will be eligible to receive an increased stipend rate of $46,653 per annum (2023 rates). A fee-offset or waiver for the standard term of the program is also included.  For full terms and benefits of the scholarship please refer to our scholarship information. International applicants are not invited to apply at this time.

Eligibility and Selection

This project is open to applications from Australian or New Zealand citizens, and Australian permanent residents or permanent humanitarian visa holders. International applicants are not invited to apply at this time.

Applicants must meet the eligibility criteria for entrance into a PhD. All applications that meet the eligibility and selection criteria will be considered for this project.

The successful applicant is expected to study full-time and to be based at our Mawson Lakes campus in the north of Adelaide.

Essential Dates

Applicants are expected to start in a timely fashion upon receipt of an offer. Extended deferral periods are not available. Applications close on Sunday 8 October 2023. 

How to apply:

Applications must be lodged online, please note UniSA does not accept applications via email.

For further support see our step-by-step guide on how to apply , or contact the Graduate Research team on +61 8 8302 5880, option 1 or email us at You will receive a response within one working day.

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