Waimatuku Research Lab 1
The landscape of New Zealand reflects a long geologic history of colliding tectonic plates. Mountain building; melting of the earth’s crust; metals concentrated in heated fluids below ground; and the erosion and redeposition of surface rock helped create New Zealand’s minerals prospectivity.
New Zealand has an abundance of mineral deposits including gold, tungsten, iron, titanium, garnet, rare earth elements (REE) and coal.
If these raw materials can be recovered economically, the path to making advanced materials can begin.
It is one matter to discover minerals, another to win them from the earth cost-effectively. New processing technologies are being developed to recover the ﬁne gold particles from alluvial deposits; to extract tungsten from its host mineral, scheelite; separate high-value, REE-bearing minerals and other commodities from West Coast mineral sands.
Chemists, geologists, metallurgical engineers and laboratory technicians working together at NZIMMR are taking on tough projects in economic minerals recovery and processing. Projects on ﬁne gold, tungsten, rare earths, and new uses for coal are off the starting blocks; with ideas flooding in on what’s next for New Zealand’s minerals-to-materials specialists.