New Zealand Institute for Minerals to Materials Research

The New Zealand Institute for Minerals to Materials Research has funding of up to $11 million excluding GST. Below is the public statement from our contract with the New Zealand Institute for Minerals to Material Research.

The New Zealand Institute for Minerals to Materials Research (NZIMMR) will drive a step change in value and thinking in use of New Zealand's mineral resources, which currently generate $3B p.a., with $400M p.a. of this from the West Coast of the South Island. NZIMMR will substantially increase the prosperity of the West Coast region and New Zealand, through moving the focus of activities from mining of minerals to manufacturing from minerals. The potential for value add can be demonstrated with the mineral scheelite, currently unused but accumulating in mine tailings piles. Export of unprocessed scheelite might generate $56M export revenue p.a. and GDP impact of $50M p.a. However, export refined tungsten and manufactured products could generate $337M and $555M GDP impact p.a. and create 1600 new jobs.

The NZIMMR will carry out research projects which, in the first instance, will be in three areas defined as priorities by the Establishment Group in consultation with industry and on the basis of the overarching principles driving the NZIMMR which are:

  • Need-driven minerals to materials development.
  • Add value at every stage in the minerals to materials to products value chain.
  • Mine once, mine completely - accessing multiple minerals in resources.
  • Drive connections, engagement and open innovation across the value chain to achieve economies of scale and innovations that unlock market opportunities.
  • Kaitakitanga - incorporating environmental awareness into all activities of the NZIMMR.

Initial research areas:

  • Rare Earth Elements (REE) - focussing on purification and development of materials for use in magnets and lasers in building on the presence of multiple REE in NZ mineral deposits.
  • Tungsten - focussing on extraction of tungsten concentrate from gold mining waste material and on development of metal powders.
  • Carbon - focussing on carbon foams as a high value added product to which NZ coals are well suited.