Dr Kathy Ehrig

Principal Geometallurgist - BHP

“Effect of Gangue Mineralogy on Flowsheet Design and Plant Operation”


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Kathy, FAusIMM, graduated with a BSc in Geology from the California State University- Fresno in 1984, and her first job was to conduct geophysical exploring for geothermal energy resources for the US Navy in the mid-1970s to early 1980s. She completed a PhD in Geology from the University of California- Berkeley in 1991 and left San Francisco in 1992 to join the former WMC as a research geologist to work on the genesis of the Olympic Dam deposit, and to provide mineralogical support to metallurgy. Kathy worked and lived at Olympic Dam from 1992-2006 and held various roles as research geologist, senior research geologist, and chief research geologist.

When WMC was acquired by BHP she moved to Adelaide in 2006 to develop and implement a geometallurgy program. As Principal Geometallurgist she led a team of geologists, mineralogists and metallurgists, which also established the predictive mineralogical and metallurgical performance models for the Yeelirrie calcrete hosted uranium deposit. Her current work consists of optimising geometallurgy models for use in short-, medium-, and long-term mine planning and developing geometallurgy testing programs to be used in exploration. The Olympic Dam geometallurgy work is world renowned, and Kathy provides a leadership role in BHP’s support for many research projects undertaken at the University of Adelaide and University of Tasmania. Her engagement with both academic and industry professionals, with generous technical support and mentoring of research students and geoscientists have cemented her international reputation.

In a career spanning 25 years at Olympic Dam, her outstanding contribution to the geological and geometallurgical understanding of the deposit has been recognised by a Professional Excellence Award from the AusIMM April 2017, and a degree of Doctor of Science honoris causa, from Flinders University in September 2017.

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