Tag Archives: TOMRA Mining

TOMRA Mining to demonstrate Final Recovery diamond sorter at Electra Mining 2022

TOMRA Mining will showcase its sensor-based sorting solutions at the Electra Mining 2022 exhibition, in Johannesburg, South Africa, in September, showcasing, for the first time, live demonstrations of its COM XRT 300 /FR Final Recovery sorter for diamond operations.

Representatives from its Sales and Field Service teams will also present TOMRA’s offering of advanced digital products and services, such as the TOMRA Insight cloud-based platform and its latest generation TOMRA ACT PC-based system, as well as its portfolio of sorting solutions for the diamonds, metals and industrial minerals industry at the show, which runs from September 5-9.

Corné de Jager, Diamond Segment Manager TOMRA Mining, said: “The Electra Mining Show is the perfect platform for us to showcase TOMRA’s advanced mining solutions. This important exhibition attracts a wide audience – from operators and metallurgists – interested in smart solutions that are simple to operate and maintain, to decision makers who need to be up to date with the latest value-adding technologies. At the event we will have the opportunity to meet them face-to-face and discuss their requirements, giving them a taste or TOMRA’s collaborative approach, product expertise and after-sales support.”

TOMRA will demonstrate the Final Recovery sorter with fine kimberlitic or alluvial ore together with diamond powdered tracers in a Final Recovery and Sort House application. Visitors will be able to experience first-hand the sorter’s capability to produce an ultra-high diamond-by-weight concentrate with an exceptionally low yield by using TOMRA’s proprietary ultra-high-resolution sensor, advanced new image processing and high-precision ejector valve system, the company says. The sorter offers 100% diamond detection within the specified size fraction and > 99% guaranteed diamond recovery with appropriate feed material preparation.

“We are very excited to demonstrate the TOMRA COM XRT 300 /FR sorter,” de Jager says. “It completes our unique partnered diamond recovery ecosystem, which covers the entire process. We are now able to offer our customers a full XRT solution to sort +2-100 mm particles: +4-100 mm particles with our bulk concentration sorters, and +2-32 mm particles with the COM XRT 300 /FR in its Final Recovery, Sort House or small-capacity exploration applications. The sorter offers higher efficiency, better grade, simplified security requirements with fewer sorting stages and a smaller footprint. It reduces complexity and operational costs, and unlocks the potential for previously deemed non-profitable projects and marginal deposits to be economically viable. ”

The COM XRT 300 /FR sorter can also add value to existing kimberlitic and alluvial operations that use conventional bulk-concentration methods like rotary pans, dense medium separation or X-ray luminescence, if installed in a Final Recovery and/or Sort House function after these existing processes. With a contained capital expense, operations can benefit from a quick, simple and significant revenue gain, TOMRA says.

The TOMRA team at the exhibition will explain the full benefits of its complete partnered diamond recovery ecosystem consisting of XRT technology covering the entire process – from Bulk Concentration to Final Recovery and Sort House applications – as well as its advanced digital products and services. These include the newly refreshed TOMRA ACT PC-based system interface and TOMRA Insight cloud-based subscription solution.

TOMRA Mining has 190 sorter installations operating around the world, of which more than 60 are in Africa. It offers installation opportunities in Africa in the metals industry, for example in applications such as lithium, chromite, platinum, manganese and gold.

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.”

TOMRA Mining’s ore sorting solution helps Renison tin mine do ‘more with less’

TOMRA Mining and its X-ray Transmission (XRT) technology has, the company says, provided an effective solution for the extreme conditions at the Bluestone Mines Tasmania JV (BMTJV) Renison tin mine in Tasmania, Australia, with sensor-based ore sorting solution unlocking significant value and delivering environmental benefits.

The Renison mine is 50% owned by Metals X through the BMTJV, and is the only major tin mine in production in Australia with a mining rate of close to 1 Mt/y, according to TOMRA. While slated capacity is 1 Mt/y, the concentrator is restricted to 750,000 t/y.

The mine’s extreme humidity and highly acidic processing water (pH around 4.5) create unique challenges for the sorting process, the equipment and waste management, according to TOMRA.

A complex flowsheet

The underground mine operates a primary crushing system before the material is transported to the surface through a shaft. Once there, it enters the pre-concentration plant, where it undergoes a three-stage crushing, screening and cleaning process. The particles are split into two fractions – 10-25 mm and 25-60 mm – which are fed into two TOMRA XRT sorters. The output consists of two streams: the product, which is transferred to the wet plant, and the waste, which is fed into a TOMRA EM sorter to separate acid-forming sulphides from this waste stream.

In the wet plant, the product goes through primary grinding followed by bulk sulphide flotation. The tailings are processed downstream to concentrate the cassiterite tin mineral through gravity concentration; gravity tails are further treated via desliming and tin flotation. The combined concentrates are fed to a leaching circuit to remove carbonate minerals. After a final wash stage, the concentrate is de-watered and dispatched.

BMTJV approached TOMRA to address two key requirements at the plant. The first was the need to upgrade the tin feed to the plant, as Ben Wraith, Principal Project Metallurgist at BMTJV (pictured below), explained: “The Renison tin operation wanted to achieve economies of scale, putting more tonnes through the front end of the plant without upgrading the back end downstream – we wanted to do more with less.”

The second requirement was to address the environmental issue of removing acid-forming sulphides from the waste.

Following site visits and extensive discussions with BMTJV’s teams, TOMRA proposed a solution that addressed the tin feed quality with two COM Tertiary XRT 1200 sorters and the waste issue with a COM Tertiary EM 1200 sorter. A team from BMTJV visited the TOMRA Test Center in Sydney, Australia, where they observed what the XRT sorter operating at capacity is capable of.

Gavin Rech, Technical Manager at TOMRA, said: “Our XRT stands out for the high spatial and density resolution and its ability to do contrast sorting, identifying fine high-density tin inclusions in the ore with an accuracy that has no equal on the market. On top of that, it can separate it from the acid-forming sulphides, so that we have the ability of pulling the tin into the first product and sending the rest to the EM sorter.”

Gavin Rech, Technical Manager at TOMRA

The two COM Tertiary XRT 1200 sorters went into operation in 2018. Initially, BMTJV’s strategy focused on low reject grades, devoting less focus to achieving the mass reject rate and overall process plant throughput. However, the specific conditions at the Renison mine affected the results achieved. The large variance in run of mine (ROM) particle size distribution resulted in insufficient stability in the feed to the circuit. In addition, the extremely wet conditions in west Tasmania and consequent high ambient moisture content, combined with the high moisture of the ore delivered from underground, further affected the sorting process.

In 2019, a new investigation was conducted into the ore sorting performance and led to a change of direction, where the operation shifted away from targeting low reject grades, towards sorting as aggressively as possible, according to Wraith, moving from a “tin recovery-based” operating strategy to a “mass reduction” one.

“We are getting 20-25% mass reduction, so 75-80% of the materials are going into the wet plant, and we are still achieving 97-98% tin recovery overall across the crushing circuit,” he said. “Pre-concentration didn’t materially impact overall recovery because the tin in the material that is rejected as waste is extremely fine grained and a proportion is associated with sulphides, so it wouldn’t have been fully recovered in the downstream wet plant and would have been lost to tailings.”

This approach, he said, is best for Bluestone’s application as it provides the ability to process 15-20% more tin units without having to upgrade the downstream concentrator.

Wraith added: “Operating the sorting circuit has slightly increased our overall processing cost, but this is more than offset by the large increase in ROM throughput by 15-20% and, thus, tin production, so the unit cost per tonne of tin produced is reduced by almost 10%. We’ve broken multiple production records in the last year in tin units, and this gives us confidence in what we can achieve because the machine performs over and over again if you treat it right and if you prepare your feed correctly.”

TOMRA XRT success leads to upgrade decision

In view of the results achieved with the two TOMRA XRT sorters, BMTJV decided to upgrade the ore sorting circuit with two new, recently launched XRT models with stainless steel internal parts and advanced features such as the TOMRA ACT user interface and the TOMRA Insight cloud-based platform, according to TOMRA.

“The decision to buy new machines was easy,” Wraith said. “The stainless steel will assist prolonging the TOMRA sorter’s life by protecting the unit from our high-moisture and corrosive environment. The more ergonomic design will help our maintenance teams, which is particularly important for machinery operating in these harsh conditions.”

Wraith said the use of TOMRA Insight, the ore sorting company’s subscription-based service that relays and analyses machine data, will “enhance everybody’s understanding and experience of the machines”.

He added: “It will be more of an analytical platform for our metallurgy and maintenance staff, providing ample opportunity to gain valuable information that can be analysed and optimised over time. The one feature I am personally interested in is the particle size monitoring through the machines, which will enhance our overall circuit performance because we have an integrated circuit with the crushing and screening plant. Feed preparation is key to maintain a consistent performance – knowing how well you’re preparing your feed in a live fashion can only end up with a better result.”

TOMRA will also be able to log into the machine and check the daily reports generated by TOMRA Insight, so its technical teams will be prepared ahead of site visits for maintenance or optimisation.

Wraith concluded: “TOMRA has been working with the site maintenance team to tailor solutions to our operating environment, which has been invaluable. TOMRA supported me through site visits, which included equipment inspections, site-based training of our personnel, and an openness to continually improving the technology and finetune it to our site-specific requirements. They assisted the site with troubleshooting, optimisation, discussing the nuts and bolts of the issues as they arose, and finding a solution that works.”

Bartram comes back to TOMRA Mining ready for sensor-based sorting demand uptick

Having left TOMRA Mining more than a decade ago only to return to the Germany-based company in November, Kai Bartram’s re-arrival at the sensor-based sorting firm represents a good time to take stock and reflect on how far the mining sector has come with its understanding and acceptance of this type of pre-concentration technology.

Bartram, now Global Sales Director of TOMRA Mining and a member of TOMRA’s Mining Management Team, was happy to answer some of IM’s questions after getting his feet back under the table in the company’s offices in Wedel, Germany.

IM: How has the mining industry’s appreciation of the benefits of sensor-based ore sorting changed since you left TOMRA in 2010? What trends have led to a wider take up of the technology?

KB: In 2010, sensor-based sorting (SBS) was still seen as a niche technology in the mining industry. Some smaller, more innovative mining companies had seen the potential and effectively implemented SBS, but the mining industry, as such, had not accepted the technology. While in the industrial minerals sector several optical sorters – and, in the diamond industry, mainly X-ray luminescence machines – were operating, the rest of the industry was cautious about integrating sorters into their flowsheets.

That changed slowly with the introduction of Dual Energy X-ray technology. The technology is so robust and perfectly suited to the harsh environment of the mining industry that the economic benefits of pre-concentration became obvious. Another point that has strongly supported the adoption of sorting technology is the fact that average ore grades keep decreasing while energy costs keep increasing.

IM: Diamond and industrial mineral operations were typically the first adopters in the mining sector; what commodity sectors do you expect to see dominate demand for sensor-based ore sorting systems into 2030? What changes to the technology or wider industry understanding have led to this belief?

KB: In the beginning, sorters were seen as small machines, which would never meet the capacity requirements of large hard-rock mineral processing circuits. Therefore, only small mines saw the opportunity to implement sorting as a pre-concentration step in their process. Today, we see that our 2.4-m-wide flagship sorter, TOMRA COM XRT 2.0, can process up to 500 t/h, so that large operations can also implement the technology. An example of such a trend is the Ma’aden Phosphate Umm Wu’al processing plant, where 2,000 t/h are processed with TOMRA XRT sorters.

I am sure we will see more of these bigger projects in many different commodities. Of course, the current market trend is towards ores that are required for the electric revolution, like lithium, copper, cobalt and rare earth elements. TOMRA has proven that we have the right solution to upgrade those ores efficiently and can contribute to more economical output. So, I expect to see more installations in the future.

The TOMRA COM XRT 2.0 units can process up to 500 t/h

IM: Are there any regions more willing to apply these solutions than others? Why is this the case?

KB: If you look at our global reference list, you can see that the larger installed base resides in Europe, Africa and the Americas. The Asian markets are a little behind, but this is easily explained by history. As a European company, we focused more on the better known and established markets. In general, the mining market is a very global industry with big players active in all continents.
I do not believe there are regions more willing to apply the technology than others. It is just a matter of supporting all regions in the same way. TOMRA is investing heavily to ensure we have a good global support network, to be there for and with our clients.

IM: Do you expect to see more collaboration with OEMs over the next decade when it comes to implementing ore sorting solutions with process flowsheets? How do you see the input of both TOMRA and OEMs benefitting the wider mining industry?

KB: Collaboration is essential in any industry. We need specialists who are experts in their field, and TOMRA is one of the global leaders in sensor-based sorting. In order to achieve the best results in one field, one must focus. Therefore, big projects can only be undertaken by a group of companies or experts who collaboratively work together. We, as a solution provider, are very dependent on well-engineered and integrated plant designs and believe we have to collaborate and have close relationships with plant builders to ensure the best possible solution for our clients.

Evaluate ore sorting options at prefeasibility study stage, TOMRA’s Rutledge says

TOMRA Mining is making a case for its sensor-based ore sorting solutions to be evaluated earlier in the mining project evaluation phase, with Jordan Rutledge, Area Sales Manager, arguing that consideration of its use at the very beginning of flowsheet discussions can influence up- and down-stream equipment selection.

The company’s sensor-based ore sorting systems have spread across the mining sector, migrating from industrial minerals and diamond operations to base and precious metals.

Speaking at a sensor-based sorting seminar in Toronto, Canada, held late last month, Rutledge (pictured) said the use of the technology needed to be considered early in the mine development scope in order to leverage the most benefit for the operation.

“Sensor-based sorting should be considered in the flowsheet from the beginning and evaluated in prefeasibility studies to see if it is suitable for the project and will add value to the plant,” she said.

“In many cases, sorting works really well and, as we continue to go towards a green economy, the use of our resources is vitally important. In order to make the best use of them, sorting plays a critical role.”

Rutledge, an event organiser and presenter, joined 40 participants from across Canada at the seminar, which included representatives from miners such as Agnico Eagle, Capstone Mining and Cheetah Resources; from laboratories such as testing and certification company SGS and the Saskatchewan Research Council ; from engineering companies such as DRA Global, Primero, CIMA and Halyard; and students from the University of Toronto.

“The event highlighted the important role of sensor-based sorting technologies in green mining and their potential to unlock significant value in mining projects, as well as the possibilities of digitalisation for supporting customers and managing connected equipment,” TOMRA said.

TOMRA connects ore sorters to the cloud with TOMRA Insight

After a successful launch in its recycling division, TOMRA is rolling out its cloud-based data platform, TOMRA Insight, to mining customers.

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

Following a successful launch last year by TOMRA Sorting Recycling, TOMRA is now also being made available to customers of TOMRA Mining and TOMRA Food. For all three industries, the platform is enhanced by new features and functionalities that make TOMRA Insight even more valuable than when it was launched to recyclers in March 2019.

The data from TOMRA Insight is gathered in near real time, stored securely in the cloud, and can be accessed from anywhere and across plants via a web portal available for desktop and mobile devices, according to the company.

Felix Flemming, Vice President and Head of Digital at TOMRA Sorting, said: “By capturing and using valuable data, TOMRA Insight is transforming sorting from an operational process into a strategic management tool. This tool is constantly becoming more powerful as we continuously develop it in response to customers’ needs and priorities. New functionalities and features are released every three weeks – a routine during which TOMRA works closely with customers in pursuit of shared objectives.”

Data captured by TOMRA Insight provides valuable performance metrics that help businesses optimise machine performance.

Operating costs are reduced by simplifying spare part ordering and offering flexible access to data and documentation, according to the company. Downtime is reduced by monitoring machine health and performance in near real time, identifying gaps in production and analysing potential root causes. This allows management to move to predictive and condition-based maintenance, preventing unscheduled machine shutdowns.

Throughput, meanwhile, is maximised by evaluating variations and optimising sorting equipment, accordingly. Sorting to target quality is enhanced by having accurate material composition data to enable decisions to be based on more detailed information.

For the mining and mineral processing industries, TOMRA Insight’s ability to collect detailed data from TOMRA’s sorting machines means that previously hidden information can lead to improvements in efficiencies and profitability.

Data captured by TOMRA Insight is analysed on behalf of customers by TOMRA Mining engineers, and key findings shared in confidential reports supplied to customers on a monthly basis. This arrangement has the advantage of combining objective statistical analysis with the interpretive skills of a service team familiar with the customer’s unique challenges, TOMRA says.

“TOMRA Insight’s data-gathering helps mineral processors in near real time and in retrospect,” the company said. “Machine operators are empowered to take prompt action in response to changes in material composition on the line and managers are empowered to make operational and business decisions based on more complete information.”

Comparisons between multiple sites or lines can now be made more accurately and difficult-to-reach processing operations can be remotely monitored from more convenient locations, the company said. This functionality is especially useful in the face of widespread travel restrictions related to COVID-19.

One early, pre-launch user of TOMRA Insight is the Black chrome mine in South Africa (pictured above), one of two mining projects that form the basis of the Sail Group’s plans for long-term sustainable chrome production. Since TOMRA Insight was connected to sorting machines here at the start of 2020, the data platform has convincingly proven its effectiveness, TOMRA said. Among the gains made so far are improvements in process monitoring and streamlining, more efficient line-feeding and machine running times, and reduced downtime.

Albert du Preez, Senior Vice President and Head of TOMRA Mining, said: “By accessing information, TOMRA Insight is unlocking new opportunities. Mineral processors can now move from making decisions based on experience and local observations to decisions based on experience and hard facts. This means TOMRA Insight can help reduce waste rock and downstream processing costs, enabling processors to earn more dollars per tonne.”

To build on these benefits, TOMRA Mining is working closely with customers to continuously develop TOMRA Insight. The future will bring the addition of more features and functionalities, which customers will automatically receive as part of their Service Level Agreement.

TOMRA takes XRT ore sorting testing virtual in face of COVID-19 restrictions

TOMRA Sorting Mining is bringing ore sorting testing capabilities to its stay-at-home mining customers though the development of virtual testing facilities that enable them to take informed purchasing decisions for their processing plants, regardless of location.

This is the latest action in the company’s plan to provide its customers the support they need to take their business forward in the face of current COVID-19-related restrictions.

“Ensuring business continuity at this time is of paramount importance for mining operations,” TOMRA Mining said. “This includes taking forward ongoing investment projects in sorting equipment to improve their efficiency and the quality of their product.”

TOMRA Mining is leveraging digital technology to help customers identify the best sorting solution for their mine by offering them remote access to its Test Center in Wedel, Germany, a facility that has capabilities for all applications, according to the company.

“TOMRA’s temporary Virtual Demonstration and Test Solution will enable mining companies to test the sorting solutions on their samples without leaving their office,” the company said. “They will just need to book a session with their TOMRA sales representative and ship a sample of their minerals to the Test Center, which will conduct the test.”

Once testing is complete, mining customers will receive a video of their material being sorted and be able to discuss the results with a TOMRA sales person and the Test Center’s experts via video call, the company said. “With their support, they will be able to make a decision on the following steps and take the project forward without delay,” it added.

Albert du Preez (pictured), Senior Vice President and Head of TOMRA Sorting Mining, said: “At TOMRA, we work closely with our customers to devise the solution that is perfect for their operation. The visit to one of our test centres can be an important step in this process, as it enables them to work out with our teams the best combination of technologies and develop the flowsheet for their ore sorting plant.

“With this virtual solution, we are able to provide this support, taking our Test Center to our customers’ office so they can make an informed decision on an important investment. This means that they are able to take their business forward in the current situation.”

TOMRA’s test centres play a key role in the company’s collaborative approach to supporting customers with their ore sorting requirements, according to the company. Based on the tests conducted on TOMRA equipment with material from the customer’s mine, the centre can provide an initial feasibility study and detailed reports on the machine’s performance with the sample. With this information and the advice of the centre’s experts, the customer can proceed with their investment with confidence, the company says.

The opportunity for the customer to see first-hand the equipment at work on their sample and discuss the options with TOMRA’s team provides important added value, according to the company.

This was the experience of John Armstrong, VP Mineral Resources at Lucara Diamonds, who visited the Test Center in Wedel when researching a solution for the diamond mine in Karowe, Botswana.

“We gained a lot of confidence in the people at TOMRA, in the technology that they were presenting to us, and the possible solution that it provided to the Karowe mine…We could also see that they had already gone down the road of the next step in X-ray Transmission (XRT) technology, so they were not just focused on one particular module to present to us, but they were working on different modules.

“That helped alleviate some of our concerns about the robustness of the platform and the technology itself, which ultimately led us to use TOMRA as the solution.”

Lucara has since gone on to recover some of the largest diamonds in history with the TOMRA XRT system that was installed following this visit to the Test Center.

In addition to developing this Virtual and Demonstration and Test Solution in reaction to the COVID-19 outbreak, TOMRA has increased stocks of critical components to ensure its ability to fulfil current and future orders, and to ensure the supply of spare parts without disruption.

And the company is leveraging digital technology not only to take the expertise of its test centres to customers, but also by using its remote service and training tools to support their equipment while respecting social distancing safety measures, it said.