Tag Archives: mineral processing

Panoramic, Primero and Barminco get to work on restarting Savannah nickel operation

Panoramic Resources Ltd, after a 12-month review process, has approved the restart of the Savannah Nickel Operation, in the Kimberley region of Western Australia.

The decision hinges on a 12-year mine life with an average annual production target of 9,072 t of nickel, 4,683 t of copper and 676 t cobalt in concentrate; as well as an offtake agreement with Trafigura that will also see the trading company provide a loan facility of up to A$45 million to cover the A$41 million of upfront capital cost required to restart the mine.

Savannah is set to operate at average site all-in costs of A$6.36/lb of payable nickel, net of copper and cobalt by-product credits and royalty payments. This equates to roughly $4.86/Ib or $10,714/t.

Savannah, with more than A$100 million already invested, has been maintained since the suspension of operations in April 2020 with a view towards operational readiness and project optimisation. This includes the recent completion of the FAR#3 ventilation raise, underground capital development on four mining levels at Savannah North and ancillary capital works on surface and underground infrastructure, which are currently being completed, Panoramic said.

The restart decision has led to divisions of Perenti and NRW Holdings being awarded significant contracts related to the resumption of mining activities.

Barminco, a subsidiary of the Perenti Group, has been awarded a four-year underground mining contract under a binding letter of intent and is scheduled to mobilise to site in July 2021. The contract will be serviced by new underground mining equipment including the use of tele-remote mining equipment, expected to deliver both safety and productivity benefits, Panoramic said.

The contractor was formally awarded the A$200 million contract back in February.

“Based on Barminco’s previous working knowledge at Savannah, opportunities to increase ore production and reduce dilution have also been identified,” the company added, explaining that underground mining is planned to commence in August, with ore to initially be sourced from both the Savannah and the Savannah North deposits.

Following an evaluation of an owner-operator model for the processing plant and a competitive contract tender process, Panoramic has also signed a non-binding letter of intent worth A$35 million with Primero (owned by NRW Holdings), which envisages a three-year agreement. The agreement relates to all processing and maintenance work at the Savannah processing plant, which has been maintained in “excellent condition” during the suspension, Panoramic said.

“A number of opportunities for improved recoveries through enhanced operating practices and minor capital projects have been identified,” the company added. As a result, the non-binding letter of intent with Primero has been structured to incentivise achieving higher than budget recoveries.

Panoramic is working with Primero to complete a binding contract in the coming months, but ore processing is set to restart in November 2021, allowing ore stockpiles to build for around three months (100,000 t) to de-risk ore supply issues.

The process plant at Savannah was commissioned in August 2004 and comprises a single stage crusher, SAG mill, flotation, thickening and filtering stages to produce a bulk nickel, copper, cobalt concentrate. Over the 2004 to 2016 initial operating period, metallurgical recoveries averaged 86-89% for nickel, 94-97% for copper and 89-92% for cobalt. The plant was originally designed for a throughput of 750,000 t/y, but consistently outperformed the design specifications with rates exceeding 1 Mt on an annualised basis, Panoramic said.

First concentrate shipment from the Wyndham Port is targeted for December 2021.

Metso Outotec gets to the core of hydrocyclone operation

To help ensure continuously optimal hydrocyclone operation, Metso Outotec is introducing CycloneSense™, a smart measurement system that, it says, provides direct, continuous and reliable online monitoring of the hydrocyclone air core.

“In order to optimise the process, hydrocyclones should be run so that the fraction of water returned to grinding is the smallest amount possible,” DSc., Professor Emeritus, Kari Heiskanen, a well-known expert in the field and the author of the book ‘Particle Classification’ says. “In order to do that, you need to know when you are approaching the limit of your hydrocyclone’s coarse discharge rate to avoid going too far and ending up with problems, such as roping,”

He continues: “CycloneSense allows you to see what is happening inside the hydrocyclone and helps to push the limits of the process.”

CycloneSense allows operators to visualise the performance inside the cyclone, facilitating continuous online measurement of the cyclone’s air core shape, size and location based on process tomography, thus helping to find and maintain the optimal operating point for the hydrocyclone, Metso Outotec says. In addition, the measurement system helps to detect and prevent potential problem situations, such as roping, where the slurry is not properly separated and, instead, some of the larger particles are sent to the overflow and directly to the next stage of processing.

Combining CycloneSense with the Metso Outotec PSI® particle size analyser allows easy optimisation of the cyclone cluster and grinding circuit, according to the company. Metso Outotec’s ACT Cyclone Control and Grinding Optimization is designed to take full advantage of the measurement data and to provide significant and continuous benefits to customers.

The CycloneSense measurement system is available for new Metso Outotec hydrocyclones and any existing hydrocyclone installations. As an optional service, Metso Outotec also provides Life Cycle Services with remote monitoring.

Artemis Gold locks in Blackwater EPC processing plant price with Ausenco

After a competitive bidding process, Artemis Gold has executed a binding memorandum of understanding with Ausenco Engineering Canada Inc providing for a guaranteed maximum price (GMP) for a fixed-price engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract to construct a 5.5 Mt/y processing facility and associated infrastructure at the Blackwater gold project in British Columbia, Canada.

The selection of Ausenco as the successful bidder was based on a proposal to engineer and construct the facilities for a GMP of $236 million ($188 million), subject to any technical or commercial changes requested by Artemis.

The MoU outlines the terms under which Ausenco will undertake further detailed engineering, which will form the basis of a final fixed EPC price that will not exceed the GMP. This Ausenco GMP is consistent with capital estimates in the company’s 2020 prefeasibility study on Blackwater.

A fixed price EPC contract on the processing facility and associated infrastructure represents by far the largest single component of the capital cost of Blackwater at approximately 40% of the PFS estimate of C$592 million ($470 million), Artemis says.

Ausenco has already undertaken a significant amount of detailed engineering work on the plant and will be working towards a final fixed-price EPC contract for the facilities scheduled for completion in the September quarter.

Artemis is also conducting a competitive bidding process for a GMP proposal in connection with a fixed price EPC contract for the construction of the electricity transmission line and associated offsite infrastructure, with an expected GMP award in the June quarter, it said.

Steven Dean, Chairman and CEO, said: “The execution of this MoU represents a significant investment of time and effort from management and multiple GMP bidders over the past several months. The Ausenco GMP bid serves as further validation of the initial capital costs estimated in the 2020 PFS with respect to the process plant and associated facilities, further de-risking the development of the project.

“Following a rigorous adjudication process of a number of competitive proposals, we are very pleased to be working with a world-class engineering firm such as Ausenco. Ausenco was also involved in the successful development at Atlantic Gold and the award of the GMP should give investors and potential project debt lenders greater confidence in the proposed schedule and initial capital cost to develop Blackwater on time and on budget.”

The 2020 prefeasibility study on Blackwater envisaged a three-stage development starting at 5.5 Mt/y from years 1-5, shifting to 12 Mt/y in years 6-10 and rising to 20 Mt/y in years 11-23. This would see gold production go from 248,000 oz/y to 420,000 oz/y, to 316,000 oz/y, respectively.

The Axora take on crushing and comminution

As we are continually told, comminution is one of the most energy intensive single steps in the resource extraction business.

One estimate is that it accounts for 36% of all the energy used in the extraction of copper and gold, which is only a shade over the 30% proposed as an average by another industry expert for all mining and mineral processing industries.

It also accounts for an estimated 3% of the global energy requirement for metal production.

These energy requirements are shocking from a sustainability and greenhouse gas emission perspective; they are also extremely costly regarding operating expenses on site.

It is with this in mind that IM touched base with Joe Carr, Industry Innovation Director of Mining at Axora.

A spinoff from the Boston Consulting Group, Axora has emerged as a business-to-business digital solutions marketplace and community for industrial innovators. It says it allows industrial companies to discover, buy and sell digital innovations and share knowledge in its community, powered by an advanced marketplace.

“We exist to transform industries to be digital, safer, more sustainable and efficient,” the company states on its website.

Having recently gone to press with the annual crushing and comminution feature (to be published in the IM April 2021 issue), IM spoke with Carr to find out what the Axora marketplace has to offer on the comminution and crushing front.

IM: What are the main issues/concerns you continuously hear from your mining clients when it comes to designing and maintaining comminution circuits? How many of these problems/issues can already be solved with existing technology/solutions?

JC: One of key issues in this area we hear from our customers at Axora is the blending quality of the input ores.

Joe Carr, Industry Innovation Director of Mining at Axora

This could be particularly relevant in the sulphide space, for instance.

I did some work years ago on Pueblo Viejo for Barrick. When I was there, one of the things we were working on was blending the sulphides as we were feeding the mill from numerous satellite pits with very different sulphide grades. Because we were processing the ore with an autoclave, high-grade sulphides would cause a temperature spike and the low-grade sulphides would lower the temperature. This constant yo-yoing of the feed into the autoclave was terrible for the recovery of metals against the plan.

Generally, the old school way of blending is setting up stockpiles of ore based on whatever variable you want to manage at your operation. You would put a defined amount of each into the primary crusher on the understanding this would create a ‘blended’ feed for the processing plant.

With the information we have at our fingertips today, this process seems outdated.

You could, for example, use HoloLens or another VR system in tandem with the shovel operator to be able to see exactly what material he or she is excavating. That can then be linked back to the geological block model, with this material then tracked in the trucks and onto the run of mine stockpile, before heading to the plant.

This is where something like Machine Max comes in. Machine Max is a bolt-on IoT sensor that tracks where your trucks are in real time – where they have been and where they are going. The processing piece requires block model integration into a mine plan system. If you have the building blocks in place – the networking, sensors, additional infrastructure, etc – Machine Max could, when integrated with this model, allow you to attempt real-time ore tracking.

“If you have the building blocks in place…Machine Max could, when integrated with this geological block model, allow you to attempt real-time ore tracking,” Joe Carr says

The issue is not that the technology doesn’t exist, but that the mining industry hasn’t yet cracked putting all of this together at an industry-wide scale, available to all miners.

You can carry out a project like this or go totally the other way and have a machine-learning or artificial intelligence algorithm in the plant that is constantly reading the incoming feed. These could be based around the block model inputs, or a digital XRF solution, which is able to constantly tweak or adjust the plant settings to the feed specifications. Process plants are generally setup to handle one type of feed. This is usually only tweaked in retrospect or for short periods of time when the mine plan moves into a different mining horizon.

We also have a comminution solution that understands the feed coming in and optimises the mill and power settings to get the optimal grind for flotation, maximising recovery at the back end. While the input is typically set up to be grind quality and hardness for optimal flotation, there is no reason why you couldn’t configure it for, say, sulphides going into an autoclave, tweaking the autoclave heat settings dependent on the feed.

Once that system is set up, it becomes a self-learning algorithm.

Saving operational costs is another pain point for mining companies we always hear about.

We have a solution on our marketplace from Opex Group, which is looking to optimise production while reducing power. Coming from the oil & gas space, this AI algorithm, X-PAS™, offers the operator an opportunity to adjust the settings while still achieving the same required outputs. This is tied to CO2 reduction, as well as power cost reductions.

Opex Group’s AI algorithm, X-PAS, offers the operator an opportunity to adjust the plant settings while still achieving the same required outputs

In mining, the plant is your largest drawer of power, hands down. Generally, if it is not powered on the grid, it is powered by diesel. Opex Group’s solution can save up to 10% of power, which is a significant amount of fuel and CO2.

The solution reads information from your pumps and motors, analyses the planned output of your plant using all the sensor feeds, and tweaks the variables while sustaining the required output. The algorithm slowly learns how you can change configurations to reduce power, while sustaining throughput. This results in lower power costs, without impacting the output.

Importantly, instead of automating the process, it offers the saving to the operator sat in the control room. Operators, in general, are incredibly reluctant to pass over control to an AI algorithm, but when faced with such power saving opportunities, they will often elect to accept such a change.

And, of course, plant maintenance is always on the agenda.

This is where Senseye, which has been used in the car industry by Nissan and the aluminium sector by Alcoa, is useful.

Essentially, this provides predictive maintenance analytics. It is also a no-risk solution with Senseye backed by an insurance guarantee. It is sold on the basis that if you do not earn your money back within the first 12 months, you get an insurance-backed refund.

There could also be openings in the plant for Razor Labs’ predictive maintenance solution, which is currently increasing the uptime of stackers, reclaimers and car dumpers for iron ore miners in the Pilbara.

IM: When it comes to future comminution equipment design, do you expect digitalisation, wear liner innovations, or equipment design to have more of a bearing on operational improvements at mine sites? Phrased another way; is more emphasis being given to refining and extending the life of existing products with digital technologies and wear solutions, than the design of brand-new equipment?

JC: We believe there is always going to be a focus on retrofit and extensions. Once a mill is built, changing the equipment, upgrading, etc is very hard and time consuming. The logistics of getting a new SAG mill to site, for example, are mind boggling. New technology will always come for new sites, but most of the world’s mining capacity is already in place. I would expect most digitalisation to focus on two areas:

  1. Getting more and longer life from all the assets. For example, extending liner life, reducing operating costs and shortening downtime between refits; and
  2. Drawing insights from the existing asset with a view to sweating it. No mill ever stays at nameplate; there is always an increase in production. One or two percent more throughput can put millions onto the bottom line of a company. No mill wants to be a bottleneck in the cycle. In a mine there are always two goals: the mine wants to produce as much ore as possible to put the pressure on the mill, and the mill wants to run as fast as possible to put pressure on the mine.

When it comes to extending liner life, we have a solution worth looking at.

One of the companies we work with out of Australia has an IIoT sensor all tied to wear and liner plates. It is a sensor that is embedded into a wear plate and wears at the same time as the wear plate itself wears. It provides this feedback in real time.

So, instead of the standard routine changeout, it gives you real-time knowledge of what it is happening to these wear parts.

We have a great case study from Glencore where they installed the sensors for around A$200,000 ($152,220) and it saved several million dollars. The payback period was just weeks.

Where I want to take it to the next level is pairing the wear plate monitoring technology on chutes and ore bins and looking into SAG mills and crushers. Relining your SAG mill or primary gyratory crusher is a massive job, which takes a lot of time and cuts your productivity and output by a huge amount. Wear plates are made as consumables, so if you can use 5% less over the space of a year, for instance, there are huge cost and sustainability benefits. You can also more accurately schedule in maintenance, as opposed to reacting to problems or sticking to a set routine.

IM: When compared with the rest of the mine site, how well ‘connected’ is the comminution line? For instance, are gyratory crushers regularly receiving particle size distribution info for the material about to be fed into it so they can ‘tailor’ their operations to the properties of the incoming feed?

JC: Generally, not really. The newer, better financed operations tend to have this. Taking the example above, when designing a plant flowsheet, the close side settings are used. But are they updated on the fly to optimise the plant? Not really. Most processes are designed with a set number of conditions to operate at their maximum.

Most plants dislike, and are not set up to handle, variation in their system, according to Carr

Most plants dislike, and are not set up to handle, variation in their system. They like consistent feed quality and grade to achieve maximum recoveries. Over the next few years, the companies that develop the best machine learning or AI models to run plants in a more real time, reactive way will see the biggest growth. A mill will always say it’s the mine that needs to be consistent, but the nature of geology means that you can never rely on this. As one geologist I knew said, “geology, she is a fickle mistress”.

IM: Where within the comminution section of the process flowsheet do you see most opportunity to achieve mining company sustainability and emission goals related to energy reductions, water use and emissions?

JC: In terms of emissions, at Axora we are actively looking at technology that can help across the entire plant. There was a great paper published in 2016 around this specific topic ‘Energy Consumption in Mining Comminution’ (J Jeswiet & A Szekeres). The authors found that the average mine used 21 kWh per tonne of ore processed. Given diesel produces 270 g per kWh, this means a plant produces 5.6 kg of CO2 per tonne of ore processed, on average. For a 90,000 t/day site, this might represent 510 t of CO2 per day (186,000 t/y), just for processing. To put that into context, you would need 9.3 million trees to offset that level of carbon.

If the industry is serious about lowering its carbon footprint, especially Scope 1 and 2 emissions, then the focus has to come into the process. There are easy wins available from proven solutions in other sectors for companies that want to take them.

Roxgold lays Séguéla groundwork with Metso Outotec, Lycopodium contract awards

Roxgold says it has awarded a SAG mill order for the Séguéla gold project in Côte d’Ivoire to Metso Outotec as part of its efforts to advance the project through to construction in the coming months.

The move comes ahead of the release of feasibility study on the project next month, which will build on a 2020 preliminary economic assessment (PEA) that outlined an operation capable of delivering over 100,000 oz/y of gold over eight years at average all-in sustaining costs of $749/oz. This study also incorporated a single stage primary crush/SAG milling comminution circuit with 1.25 Mt/y throughput.

At the same time as selecting Metso Outotec for the SAG mill contract, Roxgold has awarded preferred contractor status to Lycopodium Minerals Pty Ltd and is currently negotiating the engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) agreement with the company for the 1.25 Mt/y carbon-in-leach processing facility and other supporting infrastructure to be constructed at Séguéla.

The fixed price agreement increases confidence in the total capital cost for the project, as it is by far the largest scope at Séguéla, Roxgold said.

“With this agreement in the final stages of negotiation and several other key scopes now tendered and priced, approximately 65% of the pre-production capital estimate has now been fixed or finalised,” the company added. “This level of detail provides increased confidence around the pre-production capital estimate, which is expected to be in-line with the previous estimate of $142 million, as outlined in the PEA.”

In terms of progressing work on long-lead time items, Roxgold said it had awarded the plant site bulk earthworks tender, with a contract expected to be executed and works commenced in the June quarter to support the project critical path.

The company has continued to advance its early works program at site including upgrading of the site access road and construction of the accommodation village. Contracts were awarded for camp bulk earthworks and camp construction, with first concrete poured last month, it said.

Surveying has been completed for the 33 kV and 90 kV power lines to tie into the existing 90 kV transmission line running across the property, which is connected to the 225 kV ring main system around the country. These early work activities will enable a rapid ramp up to full construction upon completion of the feasibility study and mine financing in the June quarter of this year.

Roxgold says it has undertaken a competitive tender process and has conducted a detailed assessment of the contract mining proposals received. It is currently completing diligence on the shortlisted parties and plans to award the mining contract later this year to allow for contractor mobilisation, site establishment,and commencement of pre-production mining early next year.

John Dorward, President and Chief Executive Officer, said: “The Séguéla project has rapidly become a cornerstone asset for Roxgold, and we believe that the project will provide significant value to all our stakeholders.

“The feasibility study is on track to be announced in the second (June) quarter, which we believe will demonstrate the ongoing evolution of the Séguéla PEA with an enhanced mine life and project economics with the inclusion of the high-grade Koula deposit into the mine plan.”

Metso Outotec addresses standardisation and flexibility needs with new grinding mills

Metso Outotec has, after reviewing the combined horizontal mill product offering from the Metso and Outotec companies, unveiled a “harmonised” Metso Outotec horizontal mill product line that, it says, represent the best of both legacy companies.

The Metso Outotec Premier™ horizontal grinding mills and Select™ horizontal grinding mills are designed for different customer segments and markets, and they have distinctly different features and benefits. In both lines, there are various mill solutions available for a wide range of applications.

The Premier horizontal grinding mills are customisable solutions built on state-of-the-art grinding mill technology, process expertise, and design capability, the company says. The Premier horizontal grinding mills are engineered to “excel and create vast possibilities” for customers and applications.

The Select horizontal grinding mills are a range of pre-engineered solutions that allow simple mill selection, simplified proposal preparation, and a streamlined order execution process. Select horizontal grinding mills feature a suite of technologies and conservative design parameters that meet or exceed operational goals, Metso Outotec claims. Select horizontal grinding mill sizes are available for applications up to 7.8 MW for both the SAG and ball mills. Rod mills are available up to Ø4.60 m x 6.10 m EGL.

“With the introduction of the Premier and Select horizontal grinding mills, Metso Outotec continues its over 100-year legacy in grinding,” Christoph Hoetzel, Head of Grinding business line at Metso Outotec, says. “Both lines have their own differences and benefits – but share the concepts and expertise that have made us an industry leader time and time again.”

He added: “As a combined company we have consistently led the way in grinding mill innovation. We’ve continuously pushed mill technology in the next size increment. Currently, we have the largest operating mills in the world, and we want to lean on that legacy in taking the next steps in mill size. In addition, it is important for us to continue to be a frontrunner in the development of a more robust suite of horizontal mill technologies, providing desirable options for customers looking for quick execution with reliable technology.”

The company says the Premier and Select mills come ready to be integrated with its mill reline equipment and full mining portfolio. The former includes the recently launched Mill Reline Machine (MRM), which has a capacity of 4,000 kg, as well as a broad selection of liner options, including the Megaliner™.

CEMI launches new Canadian mineral processing portal to accelerate innovation

As part of its partnership with Natural Resources Canada, the Centre for Excellence in Mining Innovation (CEMI) has launched the Canadian Mineral Processing Ecosystem Innovation Portal.

The CMPIP (www.cmpip.ca) is a moderated online platform that will support the community of innovators and end-users in the Canadian mineral processing innovation ecosystem, CEMI said. The portal is aimed at helping mobilise innovators to create a cleaner, more productive, and globally competitive Canadian mineral processing industry.

The purpose of the CMPIP is to support and accelerate innovation and to help build the capacity of the Canadian Mineral Processing Innovation Ecosystem, CEMI said. It will help achieve this by targeting and connecting mineral processing ecosystem members from the private and public sectors around an innovation dialogue. Members from academic institutions, research centres and private enterprise (start-ups, SMEs, large companies, plant operators).

“This platform aims to be the go-to place to find out the latest and most current dialogue around innovation in the mineral processing ecosystem,” CEMI said.

The moderated platform environment offers the following features and services that are aimed at enhancing innovation and dialogue in the mineral processing ecosystem:

  • Current innovation and mineral processing news;
  • Relevant upcoming ecosystem events and external links;
  • Forums with categories: feed, mill, operations, liberation;
  • Ability to submit articles on topics relevant to innovation in the sector;
  • Ability to submit new innovations and challenge requests;
  • Twenty-nineteen Canadian mineral processing ecosystem map; and
  • Ability to sponsor articles, postings or events.

Amarillo Gold to receive first Metso Outotec modular FIT Crushing Station

Amarillo Gold Corp is to become the first company to install Metso Outotec’s modular FIT™ Crushing Station at its Posse gold project in Goiás State, central Brazil.

The new crushing and screening solution was introduced by Metso to the markets in 2020, and Amarillo Gold will be the first site where it will be installed, the mining OEM said. The solution has been designed to bring significant savings of resources and time to mining operations.

“Amarillo Gold has a strong social licence to operate in the Mara Rosa property where the Posse gold project is located,” Arão Portugal, Country Manager at Amarillo Gold, said. “Our aim is to build a modern, sustainable mining operation, and Metso Outotec’s FIT Station fulfills our ambitious targets for the process.”

The FIT Station to be delivered to Posse has a design capacity of 540 t/h of run of mine with an average production of 102,000 oz/y of gold (years 1 to 4). The station consists of crushers, vibrating feeders and screens, as well as conveyors and related structures and other equipment.

Amarillo Gold is advancing two gold projects in Brazil. The Posse gold project, which has resources of around 1.2 Moz of contained gold, is in the company’s Mara Rosa property in Goiás state. The project will operate an open-pit mine and carbon-in-leach operation with dry stack tailings.

Guillaume Lambert, Vice President, Crushing at Metso Outotec, said: “We are very proud to have the honour to work with Amarillo Gold. They are a frontrunner aiming to select the best technology for their project. Metso Outotec’s sustainable FIT crushing stations are a good fit with this objective, as they are designed for capital expenditure reduction and shorter lead times, with ease of installation and maintenance.”

TOMRA boosts sensor-based ore sorting process with key updates

TOMRA Sorting Mining has introduced the TOMRA ACT user interface together with a new image processing pipeline and additional process data for TOMRA Insight, all of which will, the company says, enable improvements in the overall sorting process for greater productivity and profitability.

The new TOMRA ACT graphical user interface (UI) brings a fundamental change in the way customers interact with their machines, making it easy to control the work flow in their sorting process with simple, intuitive touch gestures and actions on the screen, according to the company.

The UI provides sorting information and real-time process data at a glance through easy-to-understand graphics. With this clear information, the operator can better monitor the sorting process and make fast adjustments at any time, the company claims. The quick feedback on machine performance and throughput enables them to optimise the process, maximising productivity and efficiency.

Ines Hartwig, TOMRA Product Manager

Ines Hartwig, TOMRA Product Manager, explained: “Throughout the development process of TOMRA ACT, we conducted many in-depth discussions with our customers to ensure we provided them with an interface that would improve the performance of their sorters, benefitting their business. We have been testing it with customers and the feedback has been very positive; in particular about the ease of use, even remotely, which facilitates controlling the process and adjusting settings.

“With the new interface, customers interact with their sorters in a much more intuitive way and they have better guidance on how to improve the overall handling of the sorters. As a result, they will be able to improve the productivity of their sorting plant and the profitability of their mining operation.”

TOMRA is introducing the new UI on all its current X-ray Transmission (XRT) sorters and is planning to extend it to other machines in its offering at a later stage. Upgrade packages to retrofit previous models of its XRT sorters will also become available.

The new Image Processing Pipeline, meanwhile, analyses the data sent by the sorter’s sensors and cameras. This solution provides TOMRA with even more flexibility to adjust and customise the image calculations according to the application and the customer’s specific requirements to achieve the best possible sorting results.

The enhanced image processing solution also collects detailed process data, such as information on particle size distribution of the feed, belt occupancy for insights on feed tonnages, or data relating to the health of the sorter. All these statistics are fed to TOMRA Insight, the cloud-based data platform, adding to the process information it has already received. TOMRA said: “This enables customers to improve the overall sorting process further, taking fast action when changes occur in upstream equipment or in the material’s composition. They are able to better monitor and control their processes, the feed material and the sorted fractions, improving their profitability.”

The new enhanced Image Processing Pipeline, and additional data fed to TOMRA Insight, have already been introduced on TOMRA XRT sorters and will in the future be extended to other products.

Harte Gold goes with the Watson-Marlow flow at Sugar Zone

Harte Gold’s wholly-owned Sugar Zone Mine in Ontario, Canada, is now benefiting from the adoption of Qdos and APEX peristaltic pumps from Watson-Marlow Fluid Technology Group (WMFTG).

Having deployed the pumps in two important applications, the Sugar Zone team are now enjoying far better flow rate efficiency, along with significant reductions in both maintenance requirements and downtime, according to WMFTG, with the miner subsequently looking to invest further in the company’s pumping technology.

The Sugar Zone Mine entered commercial production in 2019 and has an anticipated operating life of around 13 years at current output levels. Producing 60,000-65,000 oz/y of gold at a 800 t/d throughput rate, a mine expansion study is currently in progress to support a 1,200 t/d rate.

In the reagents room, Harte Gold operates eight diaphragm pumps on a 24/7 basis. However, issues over insufficient process efficiency, the amount of maintenance time needed to replace diaphragms and the potential for leaks prompted the company to look at alternative solutions.

Harte Gold invited WMFTG to trial its Qdos 30 chemical metering pump. For a period of one month, the mining company compared the Qdos with an existing electric diaphragm pump dosing flotation reagents such as potassium amyl xanthate (PAX).

With a flow rate for PAX of 100-300 ml/min, the Qdos 30 significantly outperformed the diaphragm pump on flow rate efficiency, according to WMFTG. Although the dosage rates were adjusted as required before and during the trial, the Qdos outputs were noticeably more consistent in comparison with the existing pump, bringing potential for process optimisation.

ReNu peristaltic pump head technology is at the core of the Qdos pump and is key to its success at Harte Gold, WMFTG says. ReNu ensures accurate and repeatable chemical dosing and, thanks to its contained design with integral leak detection, reduces wastage and eliminates any potential for operator exposure to chemicals.

In addition, Harte Gold personnel confirmed both operations and maintenance were trouble-free during the trial runs. Indeed, there were favourable reports of the colour TFT display, which shows both flow and speed, while the maintenance team was in full support of the single, no tools ReNu pump head replacement.

Such was the success of the trial that Harte Gold is now looking to gradually phase-out all eight of its existing diaphragm pumps in the reagents room over the coming few months. Although control of the first Qdos 30 on site is manual, the company will adopt 4-20 mA I/O moving forward, according to WMFTG. Harte Gold is also planning to replace diaphragm pumps with Qdos models on the water treatment side of its business.

In another area of its operations, Harte Gold has replaced an existing peristaltic pump (not Watson-Marlow) with an APEX 35 in a 24/7 application. Here, the pump transfers thickened gravity concentrate from a gold decanting tank to a shaker table. However, the company found itself replacing hoses every week in its existing peristaltic pump.

The company already had an APEX 35 in operation so thought the same model would provide a good solution for the thickened gravity concentrate. Instead of the one week hose life previously achieved, the APEX 35 with NR hose lasted for 12 weeks, reducing both maintenance and downtime in this critical application. Now, only four hoses are required per year, rather than 52, equating to a 1,200%-plus gain in maintenance intervals, the company said.