Tag Archives: ore sorting

XRT ore sorting shows promise at Vendetta Mining’s Pegmont project

Following positive X-ray Transmission (XRT) ore sorting test work on the Pegmont asset, in Queensland, Australia, Vendetta Mining is looking to apply this technology in its next mining study at the lead-zinc project.

The test work, conducted at TOMRA’s testing facility in Sydney, Australia, concluded that the XRT sorters could distinguish between high-density/high-grade feed and lower-density waste material at Pegmont, the company said.

Vendetta said: “At Pegmont, the potential advantages of XRT material sorters is that they could allow plant feed material to be screened prior to grinding and flotation, removing lower density external dilution (waste) and lower-grade internal dilution (material below cutoff).”

Potential capital cost savings occur through the reduced mill throughput while potential operating costs savings occur through reduced water and reagent usage, less pumped tails and lower energy requirements, it said.

The test work envisages that sorted waste product would be ejected and stacked for dry disposal (dry stack tailings).

Vendetta said: “Flotation recovery often improves with increasing head grade. Such a relationship exists in the metallurgical test work performed at Pegmont to date. The higher head grades obtained from the ore sorted product are anticipated to result in enhanced flotation recovery.”

The testing involved material from two drill hole intersections from Zone 5 and one from Zone 2 at Pegmont. The sulphide intersections were selected in order to test different lead to zinc ratios (Zone 5 vs Zone 2) and internal grade distributions, it said. All samples included diluting quartzite material from the hangingwall and footwall.

The conclusions of the XRT ore sorting preliminary test work on the three drill intervals are it can successfully remove the external dilution from the samples; and successfully remove internal diluting material from within the higher-grade intervals.

The total mass tested amounted to 139.2 kg, with the mass pull (weight % of feed recovered) ranging from 44.3% to 70.6% (a weighted average of 62.3%).

The lead grade improved from 18% to 88%, a weighted average of 42%; zinc grade improved from 21% to 72%, a weighted average of 38%; lead recoveries ranged from 83.2% to 90.2%, a weighted average of 88.5%; and zinc recoveries ranged from 76.4% to 92.2%, a weighted average of 85.9%.

Vendetta said that while these results were highly encouraging, they are preliminary. “In order to apply material sorting results in an updated preliminary economic assessment (PEA) study, pilot scale test work is necessary,” the company said.

TOMRA recommends 600 kg of material is required for each ore type at Pegmont. Vendetta plans to pursue this test work and expects these samples will be obtained from the next drilling program. Samples will be obtained from Zone 1 transition, Zone 2-3 sulphide and Zone 5 sulphide.

Michael Williams, President and CEO, said: “At Pegmont, the XRT sorter can clearly differentiate between high density/high grade feed from lower density waste material at Pegmont. We are excited by the prospects of advancing to pilot scale test work and applying this commercially available technology to the next mining study.”

The existing Pegmont PEA contemplated a production rate of 1.1 Mt/y, which corresponds to two TOMRA COM XTR 1200 – generation one ore sorters, Vendetta noted.

Steinert ore sorting tech picks up the Beaton’s Creek gold fine print

Novo Resources says initial laboratory-scale tests using Steinert mechanical ore sorting technology indicates an upgrade of gold into significantly reduced mass is achievable at the Beaton’s Creek project in Western Australia.

The mechanical sorting tests carried out in Australia on the Beaton’s Creek bulk sample showed that nuggety gold occurring in Beaton’s Creek conglomerates is finer grained (generally sub 1 mm) than gold at Novo’s Egina and Karratha projects (generally over 1 mm), the company said. The company is also considering using ore sorting at these two projects.

Test work was conducted on a 2.8 t split of crushed (-50 mm) and screened Beaton’s Creek bulk sample material, with analyses conducted as part of this sorting test work generating a calculated head grade of 5.72 g/t Au for the bulk sample. The vast majority of gold reported to mechanically sorted concentrates in each of the three size fractions tested, with 90.2% of gold recovered in 54.5% of the mass of the +18/-50 mm fraction; 68.8% of gold recovered in 42.4% of the mass of the +6/-18 mm fraction; and 95.5% of gold recovered in 20.3% of the mass of the +2.3/-6 mm fraction.

Material finer than 2.3 mm, comprising 17% of the total mass of the bulk sample, was not tested due to excessive dust issues, the company said. “Novo believes such material is treatable by means of gravity concentration,” it added.

“Test results are considered indicative, and Novo and Steinert see additional opportunity to optimise sorting conditions and parameters that may result in further efficiencies,” the company said. “Nevertheless, these tests indicate robust potential for upgrading nuggety conglomerate gold mineralisation, and perhaps, a broader spectrum of gold mineralisation types.”

A second 2.8 t split of the same bulk sample material has been delivered to TOMRA Sorting’s mechanical sorting test facility in Castle Hill, New South Wales, where it will soon undergo similar testing using various TOMRA mechanical sorters, the company said.

Rob Humphryson, CEO and Director of Novo Resources, said: “We are highly encouraged by these initial results. We are already fully confident about the outcome of Egina mechanical sorting test work, which demonstrated excellent recoveries into very small concentrates. Our Beaton’s Creek test work is more investigative in nature owing to the finer gold grain size, so to achieve such levels of upgrade in first phase testing is remarkable.”

He added: “Test work is being developed and supervised by Novo staff specialising in mining engineering, metallurgical processing, and importantly, our geology team. This means those people engaged in exploration are fully aware of the profound impact that mechanical sorting potentially imparts on the economic viability of our prospects. Mechanical sorting test work is likely to become an integral part of future exploration and economic modelling as we hopefully progress each of our projects towards production should the economic viability and technical feasibility of the project be established.”

DRA to run the ore sorting numbers at Nova Minerals’ Korbel gold deposit

Nova Minerals has engaged DRA Global to conduct Phase 1 and 2 ore sorting test work at the Korbel gold deposit, in Alaska, USA.

This work will help continue Nova’s progression of the deposit towards a future low strip, bulk minable, heap leach operation, it said.

This is not the first ore sorting remit the engineering firm has had. Back in November, DRA was instructed by Snow Lake Resources to look into ore sorting options at the Thompson Brothers lithium project, in Manitoba, Canada. Snow Lake Resources was previously spun out of Nova Minerals.

The objective of the study through 2020 is to assess the suitability of sorting applicable to the specific style of mineralisation contained at Korbel. It will also involve test work, design, management and supervision to determine ore sorting amenability. Additionally, the study will assess the overall impact of the ore sorting circuit in a future flowsheet. This will include completion of a dynamic simulation in phase 2 to establish ore sorting stockpile and ore sorting requirements for the optimal capital expenditure (capex), operating expenditure, operability and maintainability of the overall process plant.

High level deliverables will include generation of process mass and water balances, mechanical equipment list, and a concept level (AACE Class 5) capex estimate for the entire plant.

The company said: “Nova recognises the need for sorting studies early on in the mine development cycle. These kinds of studies help to keep moving the project towards prefeasibility.”

In addition, the sorting study will run concurrently with the 2020 resource drilling program. Subject to drilling and positive results, Nova sees various processing options at Korbel. These options include heap leach, carbon-in-pulp (CIP) circuit, or a combination of the two.

Nova Minerals Managing Director, Avi Kimelman, said: “We are very pleased with the progress that the company is making towards delivering on its plan to rapidly unlocking the Estelle Gold District through both significantly increasing resources and fast tracking the Block B ‘Starter Pit’ to development. This sorting test work commencing simultaneously with our drilling maintains our strategy of saving time, resources and money by streamlining data and productivity to deliver strong shareholder returns in as short a timeframe as possible whilst still ensuring that the technical and economic possibilities are fully understood and progressed.”

Kimelman said Nova’s greatest accomplishment in 2019 was proving up 2.5 Moz of gold in the inferred resource category in a very short period of time and demonstrating “exceptional” gold leach recoveries averaging 76% at the Korbel deposit (one of 15 known prospects).

“We look forward to amplifying our exploration and project development efforts in 2020 and are committed to keeping our shareholders constantly updated on our progress.”

Vital moves towards REO production with mining, road construction and ore sorting contracts

Vital Metals says it has agreed multiple development and supply contracts that will assist it in rapidly becoming North America’s next rare earth mining company.

The ASX listed company’s Cheetah subsidiary has signed preferred mining contractor and ice-road construction contracts for its Nechalacho rare earth project, in the Northwest Territories of Canada, with Det’on Cho Nahanni Construction and Aurora Telecom Services, respectively. These contracts allow for the mobilisation of plant and equipment to site over the winter to enable site establishment works to be completed in preparation for operations to commence in 2020.

In addition to this, it has also issued a purchase order to acquire COM Tertiary X-ray Transmission (XRT) 1220/B ore sorting equipment from TOMRA Sorting Inc for C$1.4 million ($1.07 million).

All three of these moves follow close on the heels of the delivery of a 95 Mt JORC-compliant resource at Nechalacho and positive concentration and hydrometallurgy test work.

Vital Metals Managing Director, Geoff Atkins, said: “The signing of these agreements marks an important milestone in the development of the Nechalacho rare earth project as they provide the foundations for enabling Vital Metals to become a producer of rare earths in 2020 through the processing of material from the North T zone. These contracts and agreements also provide prospective customers with a far greater level of confidence in potential delivery dates to progress offtake negotiations.

“Further, by confirming the use of sensor-based ore sorting technology to produce a concentrate, it will remove the requirement for traditional reagents, process water and tailing facilities used in typical ore beneficiation.”

The decision to acquire the TOMRA ore sorter follows excellent results achieved from the recently completed ore sorting test work that produced a high grade (+35%) concentrate, Vital Metals said.

The COM Tertiary XRT 1220/B ore sorter is the same machine used in test work to produce the high-grade product, it said. The purchase order includes supply, installation, commissioning and spare parts, with delivery of the sorter to Yellowknife scheduled for June 2020.

“The ore sorting test work highlighted that the Nechalacho REO project is one of the few and the first REO project to successfully use ore sorting to produce a high grade +35% REO concentrate without the use of reagents and water,” the company said. “This will substantially reduce the cost and the lead time to bring the Necalacho REO project into production.”

TOMRA XRT leaves its mark on Minsur San Rafael tin mine

TOMRA Sorting Mining says Peru’s Minsur SA has felt the benefit of its X-ray Transmission (XRT) sensor-based ore sorting technology, with its San Rafael tin mine having seen an increase in reserves, plant capacity, overall recoveries and mine life since it was introduced.

Part of the Breca Group of companies, Minsur owns and operates the largest underground tin mining operation in the world, San Rafael. Located in the Eastern Mountain chain of the Andes in Peru at an altitude of 4,500-5,200 m above sea level, the mine contributed about 6% of the total world production of tin in 2015, with about 1 Mt of ore at an average grade of 2.13% mined and processed, resulting in 20,000 t of tin concentrate.

That same year, Minsur initiated a number of activities to ensure the future value of its asset, addressing challenges that included declining head grades and rising operating costs, according to TOMRA.

One of these activities involved an ore sorting project.

Started in 2015, in collaboration with TOMRA Sorting Mining, the project’s objective was to reject low-grade material in coarse particle size.

“By separating sub-economic material before entering the more cost-intensive wet processing, the project would address the bottleneck at the wet section and improve productivity by increasing the feed grade,” TOMRA explained. An added benefit expected from the project would be the longer life of the mine.

Three main factors indicated that sensor-based particle sorting for waste rejection would be effective at San Rafael:

  • The high absorption of transmitting X-rays of tin contained in cassiterite;
  • The structures of cassiterite, which are large enough to be detected by XRT technology; and
  • The significant degree of liberation of sub-economic waste on the particle level that may be subject to sensor-based particle sorting.

In order to assess the feasibility of the project, TOMRA conducted metallurgical tests on geological samples from San Rafael, followed by performance test work. The tests showed the deposit to be amenable to XRT ore sorting due to the presence of 70-80% of uneconomic particles that can be rejected over a wide size range, from 6 to 70 mm, TOMRA said.

The project was approved and, in view of the significant economic potential, was fast tracked and completed in just 14 months. TOMRA and its partner in Peru, which supplied and installed the XRT sorting system, worked closely with Minsur throughout the six-month ramp-up period.

The ore sorting project with TOMRA’s XRT system has delivered significant financial benefits from the beginning, with Minsur realising payback on its capital expenditure in just four months, according to TOMRA. In 2017, the ore sorting project contributed around 36% of Minsur’s total production with about 6,000 t of tin concentrate, the company said.

The project has reduced capital and operating costs at San Rafael in a number of ways:

  • Added value – TOMRA’s XRT sensor-based ore sorting is converting uneconomic waste material into economic ore, as material below the cutoff for the main plant can be treated with lower operating costs and converted into reserves;
  • Increased plant capacity – The main plant capacity has gone from 2,950 t/d before implementation to 3,200 t/d today, as a result of the crushing operation at the XRT sorting plant;
  • Significant improvement in the overall recovery in the main plant – from 90.5% to 92.5%. This is due to sensor-based ore sorting rejecting particles with very fine mineralised cassiterite that is too small for detection by the XRT system, resulting in higher grade and size of mineralisation;
  • Extended life-of-mine – today, about 24% of the feed to the sensor-based ore sorting plant come from low grade ore from underground, which in the past would have been below the cutoff. This increase in reserves significantly extends the life of mine;
  • Elimination of liabilities through the treatment and proper disposal of 100% of the stockpile; and
  • Decreased tailings disposal due to the sensor-based ore sorting system reducing the amount of waste by increasing the grade in the feed to the plant.

TOMRA concluded on the San Rafael case study: “The success of the project has demonstrated the high potential of TOMRA’s XRT technology, and as a result, the company plans to include XRT sensor-based ore sorting as a possible process route in all future projects.”

CRC ORE and Canada’s NRC to move LIBS mineral analysis to the mine site

The Cooperative Research Centre for Optimising Resource Extraction (CRC ORE) and the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) have partnered on a project to bring the benefits of laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) chemical element analysis to the mine site.

LIBS, a rapid chemical element analysis technique, is used in a variety of applications including analysis of soil, effluents, scrap metal, alloy and molten metals. It works through a focused laser pulse striking the sample surface and removing an amount of material to generate a high-temperature plasma plume. Atoms and ions are excited to higher energy levels and, while returning into their ground state, emit characteristic energy signatures for each element.

The robustness of LIBS is well suited for real-time minerology analysis and at all stages of the mining production cycle, according to CRC ORE, with commercially available laboratory-based quantitative mineral analysers (QMA) – such as QEMSCAN and MLA – historically used in mining.

“However, these technologies are not suited for in-stream or on-belt applications due to their meticulous sample preparation and measurement protocols,” the centre said. The analysis is limited to costly lab-based sampling, which requires the extraction of extensive samples and the transport of these to lab facilities, sometimes many hundreds of kilometres away from the mine site, according to CRC ORE.

To provide a timelier solution to the mining industry, the CRC is working with the NRC to explore the use of LIBS sensor technology for applications such as mineral characterisation across a conveyor belt. Additionally, the use of LIBS is being examined as an industrialised elemental and mineralogical analyser for scanning coarse rock streams.

CRC ORE Program Coordinator, Dr Greg Wilkie, said the two organisations are taking LIBS use in the mining industry to the next level by putting the technique to use in operating mine sites.

“By applying LIBS in a real-time application, such as across an operating conveyor belt, operators are empowered with high volumes of rapid analysis provided in real time,” Dr Wilkie said. “Analysis in real time speeds up the mineralogy process, providing operators with detail they may have previously had to wait days or weeks to obtain.”

He added: “We are proudly putting the minerology back into process minerology.”

The NRC’s Senior Research Officer, Dr Alain Blouin, said the NRC and CRC ORE are working on a long-term LIBS project, which is nearing the end of an intensive two-year study.

“We are developing a novel application of a LIBS rapid on-line mineralogical characterisation instrument suitable for deployment on mine sites,” Dr Blouin said. “LIBS can measure a large number of elements simultaneously with the ability to detect light elements beyond the capability of many other techniques.”

Dr Wilkie said since LIBS can perform analysis several metres away from what it is measuring and still detect extremely low concentrations it is well suited technology for the mining industry.

“Beyond cross-belt scanning, LIBS can work in a variety of settings from in-pit muckpiles, underground draw points and on-line slurries,” Dr Wilkie said.

It is anticipated that the real-time LIBS solution be used in conjunction with CRC ORE’s Grade Engineering® – an approach to the early separation of ore from waste material. Grade Engineering is minimising the impact of declining grades and productivity in the Australian and global minerals sector, according to CRC ORE.

NextOre’s ore sorting tech shows potential at Magnetite Mines’ Razorback project

Magnetite Mines Ltd says a study looking at applying NextOre’s on-belt magnetic resonance ore sorting solution at its Razorback Iron project, in South Australia, has shown the potential for a significant increase in plant throughput at the asset.

The ASX-listed company said results to date indicated that Razorback ores are especially well suited to bulk ore sorting with substantial improvements to ore mass recovery demonstrated in the study, completed by NextOre (a partnership between CSIRO and industry players Advisian and RFC Ambrian).

NextOre’s solution uses an on-conveyor magnetic resonance sensor to continually sense the grade of the material on the belt. This information is used to control a diverter gate that separates material above the selected cutoff grade (accepted material) from material below that grade (rejected material).

Magnetite Mines and NextOre, in October, signed an agreement that allows the development company exclusivity over any magnetite processing applications, Australia-wide, and all iron ore applications in the Braemar (including New South Wales) for a period of four years.

NextOre’s Razorback report demonstrates that the heterogeneity of the Razorback and Iron Peak resources allows for the potential for significant upgrading from ore sorting, Magnetite Mines said.

“For example, at a 50% rejection level (corresponding to a cutoff grade of approximately 16% Fe at Iron Peak and 14% Fe at Razorback), the grade of the accepted material would be increased by a factor of about 1.4,” the company said.

Were this to be implemented as part of a development of the project, by increasing mining rates, and pre-concentrating the plant feed, the throughput of a given plant capacity could be increased by some 40%, the company said. This would create significant savings in capital and operating costs per tonne of concentrate product, it added.

In order to assess the potential for bulk ore sorting at Razorback, NextOre used data drawn from the overall geological model for the Razorback and Iron Peak resources (the two resources that make up the Razorback project). The Razorback project currently has an inferred and indicated resource of 2,732 Mt at a grade of 18.2% Fe, but Magnetite Mines intends to produce a 68.8% Fe concentrate from the project.

NextOre then applied a fractal model, applying a mixing model to assess the predicted grade variation or heterogeneity of ‘pods’ of ore as they would present to an on-conveyor bulk ore sorting implementation, Magnetite Mines explained. Various sorting cutoff grades were selected to demonstrate a range of grade improvement scenarios, the company noted.

Magnetite Mines said: “Following the recently completed scoping study for a low capital cost, staged development of the Razorback project resources, this study highlights the applicability of NextOre’s magnetic resonance bulk ore sorting technology to the processing of the Razorback ores.

“When applied to a large, heterogeneous, low strip ratio deposit, such as Razorback, bulk ore sorting represents a pre-concentration technology ahead of the concentrator that can enhance throughput, improve economic efficiency and reduce tailings and water use.”

Magnetite Mines Chairman, Peter Schubert, said: “While our scoping study results for a low capital, staged development have been highly encouraging, we are now confident that the use of leading edge ore sorting technology can further enhance results, providing the company with a sustainable competitive advantage.”

Hastings, TOMRA see potential for XRT ore sorting at Yangibana rare earths project

TOMRA’s X-ray Transmission (XRT) ore sorting innovation has another positive industry reference to hand after Hastings Technology Metals said off-the-shelf technology had proven extremely effective at removing dilution on samples used in the testing program at its Yangibana rare earths project in Western Australia.

Testing on a 1.8 t sorted bulk sample had seen a 95.1% recovery of contained Nd2O3+Pr6O11 (neodymium and praseodymium), a 52% increase in head grade from 0.71% to 1.08% Nd2O3+Pr6O11, and a 37.1% mass rejection, Hastings said.

This shows XRT technology could be applied to separate out a barren waste stream from the ore, according to the ASX-listed company, presenting an opportunity to remove waste dilution material from the mining process before the material is fed into the processing plant – resulting in energy and reagent savings in the beneficiation circuit.

The testing involved the crushed bulk ore sample of 1.8 t being screened into two size fractions (10.5 mm) and (plus-10.5mm), with the sortable fraction (plus-10.5 mm)after being diluted with waste material at either 35% or 60% proportions screened on a TOMRA commercial sorter using XRT technology at 32 t/h feed rate.

In the base case, sorted ore samples, crushed and screened to plus-10.5 mm and diluted with 35% waste material, a total of 37.1% of the sample mass was rejected at a grade of 0.09%Nd2O3+Pr6O11, representing a loss of Nd2O3+Pr6O11 of just 4.9%, or an overall recovery of 95.1%Nd2O3+Pr6O11 in the ore. A corresponding 52% increase or upgrade in the ore head grade was achieved from 0.71% to 1.08% Nd2O3+Pr6O11.

In the sorted sample diluted with 60% waste material, the ore sorting test work program achieved an upgrade factor of 2.16 taking the feed grade from 0.43% Nd2O3+Pr6O11 to 0.93%Nd2O3+Pr6O11, while recovering 90.6% of the Nd2O3+Pr6O11, the company said.

Hasting said: “The full opportunity for including ore sorting technology into the Yangibana process flowsheet is still being assessed. Based on these test work results, technical and engineering programs will continue to investigate the benefits that can be realised across the project.”

The proposed beneficiation and hydro metallurgy processing plant at Yangibana will treat rare earths deposits, predominantly monazite, hosting high neodymium and praseodymium contents to produce a mixed rare earths carbonate that will be further refined into individual rare earth oxides at processing plants overseas, according to Hastings.

A definitive feasibility study in 2017, based on a 5.15 Mt reserve, detailed a production rate of 1 Mt/y to produce up to 15,000 t/y of mixed rare earths carbonate at Yangibana.

Snow Lake, DRA and Steinert investigate ore sorting at lithium project

Snow Lake Resources is the latest company to eye up ore sorting to reduce costs and increase productivity, with the exploration company asking DRA Global to come up with an effective strategy for its Thompson Brothers lithium project, in Manitoba, Canada.

Brent Hilscher of DRA will be in charge of this ore sorting project, examining the best laser or X-ray method to help separate out waste material from the spodumene pegmatite at Thompson Brothers, thereby increasing the overall grade of the final product at a low cost per tonne.

Snow Lake has collected 120 scoping samples from the company’s drill core library as part of this test work, with these samples to be sent to Steinert in Kentucky, USA, for analysis.

The company also created four bench test “bulk samples” from the existing core library, which will be used as trial material at Steinert on a full-scale ore-sorting machine once DRA Global concludes the appropriate algorithm for sorting, it said.

As part of the ore-sorting strategy, the company says it will need a higher degree of understanding of the mineral assemblage of the spodumene pegmatites at its project.

The company has, so far, collected nine core samples from the company’s core library and left them with the Saskatchewan Research Council (SRC) in Saskatoon, Canada. These samples will go through QEM-SCAN petrography analysis at SRC, providing DRA with a report on the mineral assemblage of the pegmatite.

From the nine samples, the company will select three samples for microprobe analysis of the various mineral phase.

Snow Lake said: “These studies will give the company an understanding of the mineral chemistry of the feldspar phases. This will help support the X-ray sorting works, as there may be a chemical element that the X-ray sorter can focus on to eliminate the feldspars from the spodumene pegmatite feed.”

As part of a bulk sample program for 2020, the company will also provide samples to SRC to conduct acid–base accounting testing to help assess the acid-producing and acid-neutralising potential of rocks prior to large-scale excavations at the project.

Snow Lake is expecting to publish a maiden indicated resource on the Thompson Brothers project in the near term, given that the company, its consultants and external laboratories have all the data in hand for the study.

Magnetite Mines and NextOre sign ore sorting exclusivity pact

Magnetite Mines Ltd says it has entered into an exclusivity agreement with ore sorting technology company NextOre to use its leading-edge magnetic resonance ore sorting technology for pre-concentration of magnetite and iron ore projects.

The terms of the agreement include exclusive use for any magnetite processing applications Australia-wide and all iron ore applications in the Braemar (including New South Wales) for a period of four years.

Formed in 2017 by RFC Ambrian, Advisian Digital and the CSIRO, NextOre aims to commercialise magnetic resonance ore sorting technology, an on-belt mineral sensing technology developed by the CSIRO. The technology uses a magnetic resonance analyser (MRA), a form of radio frequency spectroscopy, for the quantitative measurement of target ore minerals.

The use of the MRA allows for a high throughput, high accuracy bulk sorting application that is typically added to the front-end of a processing flow sheet to divert waste ores away before processing, according to Magnetite Mines. “This has the effect of improving mining grades by pre-concentrating the ore that will be subject to processing, whilst rejecting significant tonnages of low-grade material to tailings via a diversion method such as a chute flop gate or dead box diverter.”

The theorised result of ore sorting is a reduced volume of upgraded ore that performs better in the processing plant while reducing processing costs as nil-value material that would ordinarily be subject to downstream processing is rejected early on, according to the company.

“Unlike traditional ore sorting technologies that are based on X-ray or infra-red transmission, NextOre’s on-belt MRA ore sorting solution allows for the grade of high throughput ore to be measured at industry-leading accuracies and speeds. Due to the high speed of the technology, the integrative system is able to perform the analysis, computation and physical diversion of waste ores down to 1 second intervals allowing for fast diversion or high resolution sorting.”

Magnetite Mines Chairman, Peter Schubert, said: “We see great potential for technology to unlock a step change in competitiveness of our Razorback iron project (pictured). NextOre has completed an initial mathematical assessment based on our extensive geological data and the results are encouraging.”

Schubert said the company was moving to bulk test work to prove its application in its Razorback iron project, which has generated some 3,900 Mt of iron ore resources and has over 110 km of unexplored strike. The company believes it will be able to produce a 68.8% Fe concentrate from the project.

He added: “NextOre’s magnetic resonance sorting technology, developed over many years in conjunction with the CSIRO, has a rapid response time allowing unprecedented selection accuracy and speed.

“The result is a substantial increase in the head grade of plant feed, resulting in lower unit operating costs and a significant improvement in capital efficiency. But the application of this technology also gives environmental benefits, with enhanced water efficiency and lower tailings levels.”

Razorback already has advantages of scale, proximity to established ports, proximity to rail and shallow stripping, according to Schubert, “but the NextOre technology takes the competitiveness of the resource to another level”.

The company has initiated a desktop study of NextOre’s ore sorting solution with initial results to-date being very positive, it said.

Initial analysis of the macro-scale heterogeneity of the Razorback iron project JORC 2012 mineral resources indicates that the orebodies are suited to the application of ore sorting.

“The highly selective technology is particularly well suited to magnetite measurement and can be calibrated for several mineral types,” it said. “Further test work is envisaged in the near future in aid of refining the existing flowsheet.”

Chris Beal, CEO of NextOre, said: “The Braemar Province is really an astonishingly vast mineralogical system and represents an incredible potential for value. Owing in large part to the way nature arranged its geology, the system appears particularly well suited to the application of bulk ore sorting systems.

“In terms of reductions in water and electricity consumption, tailings dam size reductions, and overall plant efficiencies, the application of bulk ore sorting has the potential to impact developments in the region in a significant way.”