Dr. Kathy Ehrig


Dr Kathy Ehrig is recognised internationally as a leader in geometallurgy, establishing Olympic Dam’s geometallurgy program 2006. She 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.

At Olympic Dam, Kathy was a driving force behind the complex program to characterise one of the largest copper-uranium-gold deposits in the world. 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. She has contributed significantly to the development and application of professional knowledge and practice in the fields of mineralogy, geochemistry, core logging, orebody modelling and geometallurgy.

Kathy has developed deposit-wide 3D models that have broken new ground, requiring the integration of various datasets and the development of new methodologies. She was at the forefront of automated mineralogy techniques and built the world’s first clay mineral model for an entire deposit. Kathy volunteers significant time and energy to a variety of research activities, contributing to numerous geological and metallurgical ARC co-funded research projects with the University of Adelaide, Flinders University and University of Tasmania/CODES. She is always willing to contribute technical papers and make presentations at professional conferences, often with little notice. She presents to students in the Nexus program, and despite her hectic schedule, always takes time to share her knowledge with others.

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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