Smashing rocks, Canada’s Rockburst brings its mining tech to SA

Cutting edge Canadian mining technology company Rockburst Technologies is scouting for a new Adelaide office and meeting with its first client, mining giant BHP, after winning a sought-after energy and mining program incentive in July this year.

Nov 14, 2022, updated Nov 14, 2022
Canada-based Rockburst Technologies Oscar Malpica and Chuck Lee in Adelaide. Photo: Belinda Willis/InDaily.

Canada-based Rockburst Technologies Oscar Malpica and Chuck Lee in Adelaide. Photo: Belinda Willis/InDaily.

Rockburst was drawn to the city after being picked as one of five winners among more than 200 participants from 31 countries in the Energy and Mining Department’s Thinking Critical South Australian program.

“In a nutshell, we break rock with gas but the technology happens to use CO2 that has a bad rap because of greenhouse emissions, but we use CO2 in a closed system, we are taking a waste gas and utilising it to power our own processing,” Rockburst chief executive officer Oscar Malpica said.

Based in Vancouver, the company is testing technology that could not only significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions but also save operational costs by using its unique process to remove minerals from ore.

Malpica said this focuses on breaking ore along grain boundaries rather than smashing rocks using compression.

He added that, if proven, it could significantly reduce water and energy use.

Estimates show mining, milling, smelting and refining processes consume 3 per cent of all electric power generated in the world.

Malpica said the process is now at Stage Two commercial of research and development, with BHP involved with testing in South Australia and further discussions about a future alliance underway.

BHP this year reported record profits with underlying earnings of $57 billion, boosted by higher copper prices and a strong finish to the financial year by SA’s Olympic Dam mine sited 560 kilometres north of Adelaide.

“The world needs South Australia’s high-quality copper to build renewable technologies and infrastructure, and BHP is focused on producing that copper more sustainably,” BHP Olympic Dam asset president Jennifer Purdie said.

BHP recently announced it has signed a deal with Neoen energy company to support a planned 203MW wind farm it hopes will meet half of the Olympic Dam mine’s electricity needs by 2026.

Malpica and Rockburst Technologies chief operating officer Chuck Lee also has been meeting mining researchers to build relationships with the University of Adelaide and the University of South Australia, having also attended the International Mining and Resources Conference in Sydney.

The company is looking to recruit an Adelaide manager for a branch office to open in the second quarter of next year, with each of the five winners of the Thinking Critical program sharing a $250,000 prize pool and incentives to establish businesses in South Australia.

InDaily in your inbox. The best local news every workday at lunch time.
By signing up, you agree to our User Agreement andPrivacy Policy & Cookie Statement. This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

“South Australia is focusing on a couple of things we are particularly interested in, copper and critical minerals, both Canada and Australia are very much the top of mind for both,” Malpica said.

“Here in South Australia there’s a little bit more support than we’ve seen in Canada and for us being here it is a no brainer.”

Thinking Critical South Australia asked companies to demonstrate how their businesses and ideas could deliver value to the critical minerals sector in South Australia, offering opportunities to leverage funding and attractive incentives from leading industry bodies and organisations to help support and grow their businesses.

The five winners were:

  • NDB Inc. – redefining and revolutionising the battery as we know it with innovative energy generator and storage
  • CBSM Mining Services Pty Ltd – building innovative dry and wet comminution technology for the global mining, cement and waste industries
  • Rockburst Technologies Inc. – developing a novel mining comminution process designed to significantly reduce energy and GHG emissions
  • QL Space – developing disruptive new space technology to transform the sector through remote sensing satellites, sensors, data and deep learning (AI+ML)
  • Scantech International –  developing a broad range of industrial instrumentation utilising various measurement technologies, including microwave methods





Local News Matters
Copyright © 2024 InDaily.
All rights reserved.