As sensor-based sorting becomes a recognised technology within the mining industry, there are an increasing number of large-scale installations that impact the industry beyond what was once thought possible. At the SME MineXchange Annual Conference this week in Phoenix, a team from TOMRA Sorting Solutions is reviewing the sorting technology that has been employed by Saudi Arabian mining company Ma’aden, which operates the largest sorting plant in the world, and processes 13.5 Mt of phosphate ore per year.
The sensor-based sorting technology rejects flint stone silica from the phosphate ore, prior to further crushing, milling and flotation steps. The implementation of sensor-based sorting at Ma’aden resulted in significantly less crushing and grinding costs and a smaller flotation plant saving substantial amounts of water and reagents. In all nine TOMRA COM XRT 2.0 sensor-based ore sorters are operating at Ma’aden’s Umm Wu’al phosphate project sorting more than 70% of the run-of-mine material.