AMIRA International is an independent global member-based organisation of mining and supplier companies, created to develop, broker, facilitate and manage collaborative research projects.
Our principal responsibility is to provide solutions to our member's business challenges by building consortia whose individual members will direct and co-fund the scientific research and
engineering developments that will create the solutions for their commercial benefit. An important spinoff from this activity is to nurture and sustain regional research capacity and infrastructure.
AMIRA International is the vehicle through which members can leverage their R&D budgets to address common business challenges without compromising the proprietary research on which their competitiveness depends.
Our business is focused on helping our members improve their businesses by:
Forming consortia of peers that are prepared to collaborate on a particular problem defined by a member(s) and finding and engaging the right people / organisations to deliver the solution
Identifying and engaging the top researchers or technology providers that can solve a problem specific to a member. This may include seeking a non-competitor(s) who can share in funding the
development of the solution. We can broker and facilitate the process and manage the project as required.
Offering Technology scouting services: Identifying existing solutions to important business issues that a member may have.
While we do not generally carry out the research ourselves, we partner with world-leading research and technology providers.
We leverage industry funds by applying for government grants where appropriate.
Vision, Mission and Values
AMIRA International is the preeminent independent consortium builder that delivers technology solutions for the advancement of our members.
Identify and partner with the best organisations and individuals around the world that can provide solutions to the business challenges of our members through scientific research or engineering innovations.
Since inception in 1959, AMIRA International has grown to be the partner of choice for both companies and researchers in the development, brokering and facilitation of collaborative R&D projects.
We have developed close to 700 projects that attracted over $578 million (in 2014$) of investment from our members. This does not include leverage funding that has been secured through government grants.
Our preferred operating model in developing projects is through industry-pull mechanisms but researcher-push has played an important role over the years particularly in Australia.
The former enables us to develop projects that address real problems that our members have, but we also open to the latter model which allows us to be in a position to filter ideas
and alert our members of new opportunities that research providers bring to us.
In summary we best serve our members by:
Engaging with them to identify the critical issues that they seek solutions to
Designing programs and proposals that target the problems and deliver implementable solutions
Identifying global R&D opportunities that address member's issues irrespective of the location of their operations
Generating funding support by building consortia of members (consortia may be restricted to one member if the issue is considered proprietary, or we may create a consortium of non-competitors)
Working with the world's network of quality solution providers whether in the traditional research community or technology providers in the supplier sector
Leveraging industry funding by pursuing other forms of support (e.g. government grants etc)
Overseeing the projects to ensure timely progress against plan and that sponsors expectation's are satisfied
Filtering project ideas that come to us and present to members those that potentially offer solutions to important challenges
Fostering and nurturing research expertise and supporting infrastructure in countries where member companies operate
Fostering collaboration between key research centres, institutes and technology providers' around the world
Organize forums where industry personnel and research/technology providers can network
The Nature of Our Projects
Our projects encompass activities right across the minerals value chain. We classify our project into five broad categories depending on the nature of the outputs and impact.
The following Table summarises the project categories along with examples of projects in each category.
Type of Projects
Examples (existing projects and projects under development)
Optimisation of processes & development of tools
Improved understanding of physical processes, e.g. comminution and flotation, leading to more efficient unit operations
Better understanding of the genesis of ore deposits leading to new ore deposit models to assist explorers find new deposits; Vectors to ore
New modelling and interpretation software
New models of unit operations
Development of standards
P9 - Modelling & simulation
P260 - Flotation
P266 - Improving Thickener Technology
P1037 - Stope Optimisation and Stope Layout
P420 - Gold Processing
P1060 - Enhanced Geochemical Targeting in Magmatic-Hydrothermal Systems
Development and design of new equipment, devices or instruments; leading to development and testing of a laboratory prototype
New mining or processing approaches
Trialling/evaluation of new technologies to determine their effectiveness in different environments
New techniques, methodologies
P1164 (EOI) - AuRA : Gold Real-time Analysis by X-ray analysis of slurries in gold plants
P1148 (EOI) - Pit slope stability techniques using biomedical mathematical and computational methods applied to mining pits
P1128 (Prop) - Bulk pod ore sensing for chalcopyrite
Informational & Databases
Compilation of regional datasets, acquisition of new data sets and development of databases and new interpretations. Common in exploration.
Industry Technology Roadmaps
P934 - West African Exploration Initiative (WAXI)
Drilling Technology Roadmap
License to operate
Projects focussing on HSE&C
P1097 - Transportable moisture limit project for iron ore fines
P933 - Acid Mine Drainage
Many projects that we develop have elements that, to various degrees, have spin-off benefits into HSE&C
Development of transformational technologies and knowhow that could change the way industry does things, creating radically new technologies , and new industries etc
P1136(Proposal) - In Situ Fracture Stimulation and Leaching
For an organisation that today has 75 members and engages with researchers on every continent, AMIRA International had modest beginnings.
It began in 1959 with just six members - but its founding fathers were people of remarkable vision. They included the following chairmen and chief executives:
Ian McLennan, (BHP, now BHP Billiton),
Morris Mawby (CRA, now part of Rio Tinto),
George Fisher (Mount Isa Mines, subsequently Xstrata now part of Glecore).
Lindesay Clark (WMC, now part of BHP Billiton).
Joseph Glenn (ICI Australia, which subsequently became Orica)
Harry Hey (EZ, subsequently part of Pasminco then Zinifex, which merged with Oxiana to create OZ minerals, now part of MMG)
Among the many strengths of this founding team, was a clear understanding of the critical role of research and development in the success of their industry.
They understood that to be globally competitive, a minerals company needed continuous technological improvement across a whole range of areas: geoscience for discovery;
mine engineering for development and production; mineral processing and extractive metallurgy to produce a marketable product at globally competitive prices;
along with continuously improved occupational health and safety; and ways to identify and address the emerging issue of sustainability.
Like others, this group realised that no single company could support sustained cutting-edge research programs across the full gamut of those diverse sciences.
Their particular genius, it can be argued, lay in understanding the complex nature of competition within the minerals industry, but where many important problems are shared across the industry;
solving them in a collaborative way results in improved practice, community acceptance and financial reward for all. This makes collaboration on a wide range of mineral industry research socially,
commercially and legally acceptable - indeed, desirable. That was one of the great insights of those founding fathers: the recognition that there is a far wider space for pre-competitive collaboration in the minerals industry than in many others.
Another insight was the understanding that collaborative research is a divider of costs but a multiplier of benefits. If five companies share the cost of research,
they each carry 20 per cent of the cost but they each receive access to 100 per cent of the knowledge derived. Equally, if all five companies apply the knowledge,
the total benefit delivered by the research is increased five-fold. The economics of research are greatly improved.
These insights led to the creation of the Australian Mineral Industries Research Association a truly farsighted innovation (A.M.I.R.A.).
A.M.I.R.A morphed into AMIRA International Limited in the year 2000 when it became a global organisation to continue its mandate to serve members across the world.
This led to expansion resulting in offices in North America, Chile and South Africa,