Tag Archives: calcite

TOMRA laser-based ore sorter helps open new markets for quartz miner Mikroman

Turkish Quartz mining company Mikroman Maden A.Ş is leveraging TOMRA’s laser-based ore sorting solution to process the finer materials at its operations and turn them into value, the sorting company says.

Mikroman first adopted sensor-based sorting technology at three of its processing plants in 2018, installing three high-capacity TOMRA PRO Secondary LASER sorters, in the process, reaching its target of improving product quality and increasing capacity at these facilities.

At its Kula plant in Manisa province, which requires the most precise mineral sorting, it combined TOMRA’s COLOR and LASER technologies to achieve the best results and recovery with the highest purity levels, as well as creating products of differing quality to meet the specific needs of a variety of markets, TOMRA says.

Satisfied with the results achieved at the Kula plant by using sorters on bigger particle sizes, Mikroman asked TOMRA for a solution to process the finer materials and turn them into value.

Mikroman was processing particles sizes down to 15 mm with a PRO Tertiary COLOR, and TOMRA installed three additional PRO Tertiary COLOR sorters for finer particles: two for sorting particle sizes from 2-4 mm and one for sizes from 4-10 mm to remove coloured impurities from the material, which is then processed further in a micronised plant on the premises.

These sorters offer increased product flexibility for the company, according to TOMRA.

Mikroman also wanted to achieve the high purity levels achieved with laser technology in grain sizes below 20 mm, but, at the time, the PRO Tertiary was only available with COLOR technology, according to Ines Hartwig, Director Product Management at TOMRA Mining.

TOMRA looked into the development of a new product implementing the TOMRA multi-channel LASER technology in the PRO Tertiary platform, she said.

“With this solution, also white non-quartz impurities like shist, feldspar, shale and calcite can be detected and sorted out to achieve a pure white, high-grade quartz product,” Hartwig said.

TOMRA developed and tested extensively the new PRO Tertiary LASER sorter (pictured below) in close collaboration with Mikroman.

Serhat Saran, Chairman of the Board of Directors and General Manager of Mikroman, remarked: “We worked as if TOMRA’s Research and Development department was one with our own.”

Serhat Saran, Chairman of the Board of Directors and General Manager of Mikroman

Hartwig added: “As Mikroman had already implemented the LASER technology for bigger grain sizes and had experienced its advantages compared to COLOR sorters, it was a perfect fit to collaborate, design and field test this new product. They provided us with the small particle references of product and waste that they expected to sort and our engineering team developed the new machine with the support of Markus Dehler, Manager of the TOMRA Mining Test Center.”

The resultant PRO Tertiary LASER sorter uses the same multi-channel LASER technology as the PRO Secondary platform, but is specialised in detecting and sorting smaller sized material, from 6-32 mm, according to TOMRA. The distance between detection and ejection is minimised and the number of ejectors increased to result in a very precise, effective and efficient sorting and highest product quality and yield.

“The TOMRA PRO Tertiary LASER is a low-maintenance, simple and stable platform that has the advantage of being the only one on the market to offer customisation of the laser wavelengths to match the specific application,” TOMRA said. “The development was completed in a short timeframe and a new PRO Tertiary LASER sorter was installed at the Kula plant to process grain sizes 5-15 mm and 15-35 mm.”

The two PRO Tertiary COLOR and LASER sorters combined are consistently removing 98% of impurities in small sizes from 5-35 mm, while delivering savings in water, fuel and electricity consumption in the downstream process, according to TOMRA.

With these investments, Mikroman has expanded its capacity and product portfolio to serve a wide range of industries – composite stone, glass, electronics, metallurgy, paint and ceramics, among others – and exports to 15 countries including the US, Spain, Italy and Israel.

“The ability to sort all the size ranges offered by TOMRA according to the colour and chemistry of the product has allowed us to become the leading company in the sector, and to hold a large share of 65% of the exports around the world and domestic sales in Turkey,” Saran said.

The collaboration with TOMRA has developed as Mikroman’s operation evolved, with the addition of further COLOR and LASER sorters, which now total 18 units across four plants. This includes 10 TOMRA sorters at the Yava and Kula plants, one in its Karpuzlu mine in the Aydin province and two sorters at the new Catalca plant in Istanbul. It has also ordered two additional PRO Tertiary COLOR sorters and a PRO Tertiary LASER, which have been delivered and will soon be installed at the Kula plant.

TOMRA continues to build ore sorting Insight across mining space

Some 18 months after launching TOMRA Insight to mining customers, the cloud-based data platform is making inroads across the North American mining sector, Harold Cline and Jordan Rutledge told IM on the side lines of the MINEXCHANGE 2022 SME Annual Conference & Expo in Salt Lake City recently.

TOMRA rolled out the subscription-based service to mining back in late 2020, with one of the early adopters being the Black chrome mine in South Africa, one of two mining projects that form the basis of the Sail Group’s plans for long-term sustainable chrome production.

TOMRA Insight, the company says, enables sorting machine users to improve operational efficiencies through a service that turns these machines into connected devices for the generation of valuable process data.

Cline and Rutledge, both TOMRA Sorting Area Sales Managers for North America, said numerous customers were now taking advantage of TOMRA Insight across the region, with many more interested in leveraging the continuous data streams coming off a web-based portal stored securely in the cloud.

TOMRA’s Harold Cline & Jordan Rutledge

“This is seeing mine managers able to tap into how operations are performing today, while tracking that against performance over the last day, week, month, quarter, etc,” Cline told IM. “With the help of our support network, these operations are able to achieve more consistent performance.”

With more customers signing up to TOMRA Insight and more data being generated, the pair were confident future iterations of the platform would be able to offer machine-learning algorithms that helped, for example, predict failures or highlight potential areas for operational improvements.

At the show, the pair were also highlighting the ongoing demand for TOMRA’s Final Recovery sorter, the COM XRT 300/FR, which, since launch, has been successfully deployed at the Letšeng diamond mine in Lesotho, owned by Gem Diamonds. The solution has gone on to be rolled out at other operations.

The introduction of the COM XRT 300/FR, TOMRA became the first company in the industry able to supply a full diamond recovery solution using XRT technology from 2-100 mm, with the unit delivering concentration factors of up to one million with limited stages and guaranteeing more than 99% diamond recovery, according to the company.

Outside of diamonds and sorter analytics, Cline was keen to talk up demand from the gold sector for the company’s sorters.

One of the key differentiators of its offering to the yellow metal space is the ability to scan the material with a multi-channel laser sensor. In an ore sorting setup that involves both XRT and LASER sensor-based machines, the TOMRA solution can remove particles containing sulphide minerals using XRT and subsequently leverage laser sensors to remove particles containing quartz and calcite.

TOMRA says its segregated option can potentially improve recoveries in quartz-associated gold applications thanks to a laser chute-based machine that analyses rocks from both sides. Other belt-based laser machines can only analyse a maximum of 40% of the rock’s surface, according to TOMRA.

“In the gold scenario, we are using XRT to sense and sort with sulphide minerals as a proxy,” Cline said. “At the same time, our laser scanner allows further separation capabilities through identification of minerals such as quartz and calcite.”

Vista Gold, which is developing the Mt Todd project in Australia, anticipates that this combined solution could eliminate approximately 10% of the run-of-mine feed to the grinding circuit, allowing the company to decrease the grind size and thereby increase recovery of the contained gold.

The COM XRT 300/FR offers a full diamond recovery solution

Cline added: “In North America, we have three projects in the gold space we’re working on at the moment that appreciate our unit’s ability to analyse the whole of the particle through our chute mechanism, as opposed to conveyor-based systems that can only analyse one angle of the particle.”

While TOMRA offers multiple sensors on its units through its modular platform, Rutledge said the company continues to have discussions on combining its solutions with other bulk sorting suppliers to further improve the process, naming prompt gamma neutron activation analysis (PGNAA) technology as one specific area of interest.

“We very often refer clients on to other companies when our solution may not match their brief,” she said. “At the same time, we have done some flowsheet work to include our solution with others currently on the market and believe it is only a matter of time before a combination of the two comes into a flowsheet.”