Dr Kathy Ehrig FAusIMM

Principal Geometallurgist, BHP Billiton Olympic Dam, Australia

Dr Kathy Ehrig completed her Bachelor of Science in Geology at California State University, Fresno in 1984 and earned a PhD in geology from the University of California at Berkeley in 1991. She worked as a Geological Technician for the US Navy from 1974-1982 before completing her studies and finally going to work with Western Mining Corporation and, later, BHP Billiton as Principal Geometallurgist at Olympic Dam.

Kathy lead the team of metallurgists and geologist who developed and implemented the testing program to characterise the mineralogy and geometallurgy of the complex Olympic Dam breccia-hosted Fe-oxide Cu-U-Au-Ag deposit, one of the largest deposits in the world. The geometallurgy team also developed the world’s first clay mineralogy model for a calcrete-hosted uranium deposit. While geometallurgy only emerged as a discipline in the early 2000s, Kathy has always focused on the ways that minerals behaved in the processing plant, recognising that value is only realised when revenue is gained from those minerals. Her current work consists of optimising the OD geometallurgy models for use in short-, medium-, and long-term mine planning and developing geometallurgy testing programs to be used in exploration.

Kathy volunteers significant time and energy to a variety of research activities, contributing to numerous geological and metallurgical research projects which are co-funded by the Australian Research Council, BHP Olympic Dam, the University of Adelaide, Flinders University and University of Tasmania/CODES. She engages effectively with both academic and industry professionals as well as government, whilst also supporting and mentoring many PhD students and geoscientists.

Kathy was awarded the AusIMM’s Professional Excellence Award in 2017, recognising her significant contributions to the minerals industry. She was awarded an honorary Doctor of Science degree from Flinders University for her work unravelling the mineralogy and geology at Olympic Dam.

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