Tag Archives: XRF

Eriez reinforces flotation testing capabilities with new fire assay lab

Eriez® says it has recently completed the construction and commissioning of a new state-of-the-art fire assay laboratory to support flotation testing at its world headquarters in Erie, Pennsylvania, USA.

This new facility includes all required equipment for fusion, cupellation, parting, weighing and assaying, as well as innovative systems to enhance worker safety and environmental compliance, it said.

Erich Dohm, Eriez Flotation Senior Manager-USA Operations, said the addition of fire assay capabilities further establishes the comapny’s  position as an innovative global partner in minerals processing and flotation.

“This investment was made as part of our commitment to enhancing support for our precious metals flotation customers in addition to existing capabilities for base metals and industrial minerals projects,” he said. “Our customers will see a tremendous benefit in the development of new precious metal projects incorporating our advanced flotation technologies, such as the HydroFloat® and StackCell®.”

According to Eriez, the new fire assay laboratory will enable full execution of all aspects of precious metals flotation projects, with next-day assays available to guide flotation investigations.

Dohm says: “This will allow our team of flotation experts to complete projects under a tight deadline without risking delays from external commercial laboratories.”

Eriez’s in-house analytical capabilities also include X-ray Fluorescence, inductively coupled plasma, atomic absorption, combustion furnace (sulphur), and particle size by laser diffraction.

Dohm concluded: “Our full-service metallurgical and analytical laboratory facilitates strong customer partnerships, from initial flowsheet development at prefeasibility stages through troubleshooting and optimisation of existing mill circuits.”

Taseko Mines using innovation to increase production and efficiencies

The Taseko Mines story is indicative of the current environment miners find themselves in – maximise productivity to grow margins at existing operations or invest in innovative new methods of extracting critical metals that come with a reduced footprint.

The Vancouver-based company is pursuing both options at the two main assets on its books – the Gibraltar copper mine in British Columbia, Canada, and its Florence Copper project in Arizona, USA.

Gibraltar, owned 75% by Taseko, initially started up in 1972 as a 36,000 t/d operation. It was shut down in 1998 due to low copper prices before Taseko restarted it in 2004. In the years since, the company has invested over $800 million in the mine, increasing the throughput rate to 85,000 tons per day (77,111 t/d), where it’s been operating at since 2014.

The asset now sits as the second largest open-pit copper mine in Canada – with life of mine average annual production of 130 MIb (59,000 t) of copper and 2.5 MIb of molybdenum.

Stuart McDonald, President and CEO of the company, says the company continues to work on the trade-off of upping throughput – potentially past the nameplate capacity – and improving metallurgical recoveries at the operation.

This became apparent in the latest quarterly results, when Taseko reported an average daily throughput of 89,400 tons/d over the three-month period alongside “higher than normal” mining dilution.

The company believes Gibraltar can improve on both counts – mill throughput and mining dilution.

“We were optimistic coming into the new pit (Gibraltar Pit) that, based on the historical data, we could go above 85,000 tons/d as we got settled in and mined the softer ore,” McDonald told IM. “We still believe there are opportunities to go beyond that level, but, at some point, it becomes an optimisation and trade-off between throughput and recoveries.

“In our business, we’re not interested in maximising mill throughput; we’re interested in maximising copper production.”

On the dilution front, McDonald believes the problem will lessen as the mining moves to deeper benches in the Gibraltar Pit.

“As we go deeper, the ore continuity improves, so we hope the dilution effect will continue to improve too,” he said.

“The dilution rate is still not quite where we want it to be, so it’s a matter of looking at our operating practices carefully and following through a grade reconciliation process from our geological model through to assays from our blast holes, assays into the shovel bucket and all the way through to the mill.”

‘Assays into the shovel bucket’?

McDonald explained: “We do use ShovelSense® technology on two of our shovels, so that helps us assess the grade of the material in the shovel bucket.”

To this point, the company has leveraged most value from this XRF-based technology, developed by MineSense, when deployed on shovels situated in the boundaries between ore and waste. This offers the potential to reclassify material deemed to be ‘waste’ in the block model as ‘ore’ and vice versa, improving the grade of the material going to the mill and reducing processing of waste.

ShovelSense has been successful in carrying out this process with accuracy at other copper mines in British Columbia, including Teck Resources’ Highland Valley Copper operations and Copper Mountain Mining’s namesake operation.

McDonald concluded on this grade reconciliation process: “We just have to make sure we are tracing the material through all of those steps and not losing anything along the way. Gibraltar is a big earthmoving operation, so we must continue to keep the material flowing as well as look at the head grade.”

A different type of recovery

In Arizona at Florence Copper, Taseko has a different proposition on its hands.

Florence is a project that, when fully ramped up, could produce 40,000 t of high-quality copper cathode annually for the US domestic market.

It will do this by using a metal extraction and recovery method rarely seen in the copper space – in-situ recovery (ISR).

The planned ISR facility consists of an array of injection and recovery wells that will be used to inject a weak acid solution (raffinate – 99.5% water, 0.5% acid) into copper oxide ore and recover the copper-laden solution (pregnant leach solution) for processing into pure copper cathode sheets. The mine design is based on the use of five spot well patterns, with each pattern consisting of four extraction wells in a 100 ft (30.5 m) grid plus a central injection well. This mine outline and associated infrastructure comes with a modest capital expenditure figure of $230 million.

The company has been testing the ISR technology at Florence to ensure the recovery process works and the integrity of the wells remains intact.

Since acquiring Florence Copper in November 2014, Taseko has advanced the project through the permitting, construction and operating phase of the Phase 1 Production Test Facility (PTF). The PTF, a $25 million test facility, consists of 24 wells and the SX/EW plant. It commenced operations in December 2018.

Over the course of 18 months, Taseko evaluated the operational data, confirmed project economics and demonstrated the ability to produce high-quality copper cathode with stringent environmental guidelines at the PTF, the company says.

McDonald reflected: “We produced over 1 MIb [of copper] over this timeframe and then switched over from a copper production cycle into testing our ability to rinse the orebody and restore the mining area back to the permitted conditions.

“We’re proving our ability to do the mining and the reclamation, which we think is a critical de-risking step for the project.”

Over an 18-month period, Taseko produced 1 MIb from the ISR test facility at Florence

Taseko says Florence Copper is expected to have the lowest energy and greenhouse gas-intensity (GHG) of any copper producer in North America, with McDonald saying the operation’s carbon footprint will mostly be tied to the electricity consumption required.

“Our base case is to use electricity from the Arizona grid, which has a combination of renewables, nuclear and gas-fired power plants,” he said. “In the longer-term, there are opportunities at Florence to switch to completely 100% renewable sources, with the most likely candidate being solar power.

“At that point, with renewable energy powering our plant, we could be producing a copper product with close to zero carbon associated with it.”

Gibraltar has also been labelled as a “low carbon intensity operation” by Skarn Associates who, in a 2020 report, said the operation ranked in the lowest quartile compared with other copper mines throughout the world when it comes to Scope 1 and 2 emissions.

When it comes to the question of when Florence could start producing, Taseko is able to reflect on recent successful permitting activities.

In December 2020, the company received the Aquifer Protection Permit from the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality, with the only other permit required prior to construction being the Underground Injection Control (UIC) permit from the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

On September 29, the EPA concluded its public comment period on the draft UIC it issued following a virtual public hearing that, according to Taseko, demonstrated strong support for the Florence Copper project among local residents, business organisations, community leaders and state-wide organisations. Taseko says it has reviewed all the submitted comments and is confident they will be fully addressed by the EPA during its review, prior to issuing the final UIC permit.

Future improvements

In tandem with its focus on permitting and construction at Florence, and upping performance at Gibraltar, the company has longer-term aims for its operations.

For instance, the inclusion of more renewables to get Florence’s copper production to carbon-neutral status could allow the company to benefit from an expected uptick in demand for a product with such credentials. If the demand side requirements for copper continue to evolve in the expected manner, it is easy to see Taseko receiving a premium for its low- or no-carbon product over the 20-year mine life.

At Gibraltar, it is also pursuing a copper cathode strategy that could lead to the re-start of its SX-EW plant. In the past, this facility processed leachate from oxide waste dumps at the operation.

“As we get into 2024, we see some additional oxide ore coming out of the Connector Pit, which gives us the opportunity to restart that leach operation and have some additional pounds coming out of the mine,” McDonald said.

Alongside this, the company is thinking about leaching other ore types at Gibraltar.

“There are new technologies coming to the market in terms of providing mines with the opportunity to leach sulphides as well as oxides,” McDonald said. “We’re in the early stages of that work, but we have lots of waste rock at the property and, if there is a potential revenue stream for it, we will look at leveraging that.”

MineSense continues growth trajectory with new South America HQ in Chile

MineSense Technologies officially opened its regional headquarters and service centre for South America in Santiago, Chile, this week, in another move to capture growth across one of the world’s key mining hubs.

Attended by senior executives and a MineSense workforce of over 50 hired so far in Chile and Peru, the ceremony celebrated the opening of a 3,000 sq.m facility in an industrial park in the Pudahuel district.

The headquarters includes corporate offices and a manufacturing area that increases service and production capacity to supply ShovelSense technology to meet South American and global demand, the company said.

Jeff More, President and CEO (pictured on stage), was on hand to cut the ribbon. He was joined by Victor Aguilera, member of the Board of Directors of MineSense Technologies Ltd and General Director of Aurus Investments; Claudio Toro-Salazar, Executive Vice President, Business Development; and Monica Feregrino, VP Operations.

MineSense, through the deployment of its ShovelSense solution, has been gaining ground in the bulk ore sorting space across South America.

Earlier this year, it deployed a second shovel-based unit at Teck Resources’ Carmen de Andacollo mine, in Chile. This followed an earlier successful trial at the operation.

It has also recently gone live with a deployment at Antamina, Peru’s largest mine, and has been trialling the XRF-based technology at Hudbay Minerals’ Constancia mine, also in Peru.

The ShovelSense system, through a sophisticated suite of sensors and algorithms, improves orebody visibility bucket by bucket in real time during the loading process, according to the company. Trucks are then automatically diverted to the correct location, increasing value and revenue realised during the mining process. The technology also creates reductions of CO2 emissions per tonne of ore produced, consumption of processing chemicals and reagents, energy and water, while maximising metal recovery, MineSense says.

To support mine site operations and their ore decision making, MineSense also provides 24/7 data room technical support for continuous monitoring of all elements of system performance.

Caravel Minerals takes HPGR use forward to DFS

Caravel Minerals has issued a prefeasibility study update on its namesake project in Western Australia, which, among other things, outlines opportunities to incorporate high pressure grinding rolls (HPGRs) and coarse particle flotation (CPF).

The company only issued the original prefeasibility study in July of this year. This outlined a dual train plant and infrastructure build costing some A$1.2 billion ($806 million), with parallel development of two 13.9 Mt/y capacity trains for a total throughput capacity of 27.8 Mt/y.

Over an initial 28-year mine life, annual production was expected to come in around 62,000 t of copper in concentrate in this study.

The company said at this point that optimisation studies by Ausenco were already in progress for a single train circa-27 Mt/y design, with the pending results expected to show substantial reductions in capital expenditure and operating costs.

That study has now come out, with the company saying the single train design and the adoption of HGPR and CPF are forecast to reduce processing cash unit costs by up to A$1.23/t of ore and reduce capital costs by around A$100 million.

What’s more, the company is also anticipating reductions in both power demand and water consumption with the use of these new technologies.

After seeing such results, Caravel says it will take forward HPGR use over SAG mills in its definitive feasibility study.

It also said the inclusion of CPF in the process flowsheet had the potential to reduce capital and operating costs when compared with the original prefeasibility study flowsheet.

The original Caravel PFS mentioned the potential use of diesel-electric autonomous haulage trucks with electric trolley assist and electric power for drills and face shovels. Mining operation opportunities also included the use of shovel-grade sensors, with the company saying XRF-based bucket sampling was under consideration.

Gekko Systems improves carbon sampling accuracy, safety at Cowal gold mine

The technical team at Gekko Systems has released further data that, it says, supports the benefits of new technology that optimises carbon management systems in gold processing facilities.

Optimising carbon management in the carbon-in-leach (CIL) circuit reduces gold solution losses and improves gold circuit recovery. This is essential for sites needing to offset higher inflationary costs with improved revenue, Gekko says.

The case study, released today, reviews operational performance of Gekko’s Carbon Scout at Evolution’s Cowal Gold Operation in New South Wales, Australia.

The Carbon Scout is a self-contained, ground-level sampling system that measures carbon concentration, as well as pH, DO and, more recently, has an option to measure gold loading on carbon using XRF technology on an hourly basis. Optimising the Carbon Scout for site conditions allows for more accurate, reliable and repeatable measurement of the carbon inventory of the CIL
circuit, Gekko says. Automating data collection and process actions such as carbon transfer, meanwhile, reduces operator risk exposure and person-hours (previously dedicated to the manual data collection tasks).

Installation of the Carbon Scout at Cowal commenced in February 2019, with the Gekko Systems Digital Services and Technical team providing ongoing support – both onsite and remotely – in the initial months of the system’s operation to ensure maximum availability was achieved and Evolution Mining was receiving the full benefit of the Carbon Scout.

After a few months of integration with the SCADA system, the Carbon Scout was able to use the data and analysis to facilitate automated transfer of the carbon inventory within the circuit to maintain pre-determined concentrations, according to Gekko.

The Carbon Scout at Cowal has successfully reduced operator exposure to slurry containing hazardous materials including cyanide and improved sample authenticity by collecting a more representative and repeatable sample, Gekko said in the case study.

The other critical success achieved by the Carbon Scout is its ability to take a larger CIL tank sample that is more representative. This is achieved by the Carbon Scout drawing from deeper within the tank, where more superior slurry-carbon mixing occurs, and a larger sample of up to 20 litres is taken, which is 10-20 times the typical manual sample size. Additionally, the sample is extracted from a consistent point each time the Carbon Scout cycle samples from that tank.

Gekko concluded: “Optimising the Carbon Scout for site conditions allows for more accurate, reliable and repeatable measurement of the carbon inventory of the CIL circuit. Utilising these measurements and integrating with a plant’s SCADA system, the automatic control of carbon concentrations through the CIL circuit can be achieved. Automating data collection and process actions such as carbon transfer reduces operator risk exposure and man hours previously dedicated to the manual data collection tasks.

“The improvement derived from the utilisation of the Carbon Scout should lead to increases in circuit recovery by reducing soluble gold losses.”

The Carbon Scout was originally the brainchild of Curtin University’s Gold Processing team, led by Dr Teresa McGrath and Bill Staunton. Curtin University selected Gekko Systems as its commercialisation partner.

Staunton noted that “real-time data collection instrumentation and related analysis is essential to the future of the gold processing industry”.

Gekko Systems’ Technical Director, Sandy Gray, said: “The increasing installation base of the Carbon Scout globally is providing a fantastic baseline of evidence that supports the benefits of quality data collection and automation.”

Gekko Systems releases Mark 6 Carbon Scout sampling system for CIL, CIP plants

The team at Gekko Systems has announced the release of its next-gen Mark 6 Carbon Scout solution.

The Carbon Scout is a self-contained, ground-level sampling system that measures the pH, dissolved oxygen, slurry density and gold concentration in carbon-in-leach (CIL) and carbon-in-pulp (CIP) circuits. An important new feature is the optional X-ray Fluorescence sensor to measure gold on carbon for real-time gold circuit inventory.

The self-contained device collects slurry samples from CIL/CIP tanks to determine the concentration of the activated carbon in the pulp for each tank, to an accuracy of ±0.5 grams of carbon per litre of pulp, Gekko claims. The concentration levels are then used to automate carbon movement to optimise the carbon distribution.

Gekko said: “The Carbon Scout benefits sites by providing real-time data which allows operators to significantly reduce soluble gold loss from the circuit by providing advanced measurements ahead of any unwanted excursions. The Carbon Scout also allows for automation of the carbon movement, minimising exposure to hydrogen cyanide gas and reducing the need for manual handling of samples.”

Constructed from stainless steel, the ground-level system enhances operator efficiency by removing the need to undertake time consuming manual sampling and provides a single point sampling station to improve accuracy and increase safety, according to the company. The automation of carbon movement, meanwhile, increases the efficiency of the process, ensures carbon inventory set points are achieved and reduces the need for operator, metallurgist and other processing staff input.

Some of the sites to have installed the Carbon Scout solution include Gruyere in Western Australia (pictured above on the left with the Gekko OLGA on the right) and Ity in Cote d’Ivoire.

The solution was commercially released in 2017.

Hudbay’s Constancia continuous improvement quest leads to MineSense XRF trial

Hudbay Minerals has one of the lowest cost per tonne copper sulphide operations in Peru on its hands at Constancia, but it is intent on continuously improving the mine’s margins and environmental performance through a commitment to continuous improvement. This has recently led it to exploring the potential of sensor-based ore sorting.

Hudbay’s operations at Constancia include the Constancia and Pampacancha pits, an 86,000 t/d ore processing plant, a waste rock facility, a tailings management facility and other ancillary facilities that support the operations.

The company increased reserves at the mine, located in the Cusco department, by 33 Mt at a grade of 0.48% Cu and 0.115 g/t Au last year – an increase of approximately 11% in contained copper and 12% in contained gold over the prior year’s reserves.

With the incorporation of Pampacancha and Constancia North, annual production at Constancia is expected to average approximately 102,000 t of copper and 58,000 oz of gold from 2021 to 2028, an increase of 40% and 367%, respectively, from 2020 levels, which were partially impacted by an eight-week temporary mine interruption related to a government-declared state of emergency.

Constancia now has a 16-year mine life (to 2037) ahead of it, but the company thinks there is a lot more value it can leverage from this long-life asset and it has been looking at incorporating the latest technology to prove this.

In recent years it has, for instance, worked with Metso Outotec to improve rougher flotation performance at Constancia using Center Launders in four e300 TankCells and installed a private LTE network to digitise and modernise its open-pit operations.

Peter Amelunxen, Vice President of Technical Services at Hudbay, said the Constancia ore sorting project – which has seen Hudbay partner with MineSense on a plan to trial the Vancouver-based cleantech company’s ShovelSense X-ray Fluorescence (XRF)-based sorting technology – was one of many initiatives underway to further improve the operating efficiency at Constancia.

“The ore sorting program is separate from the recovery uplift program at Constancia,” Amelunxen said, referring to a “potentially high-return, low capital opportunity” that could boost milled copper recovery by 2-3%.

He added: “The ore sorting program is expected to yield positive results at the mining phase of the operation and is expected to increase the mill head grade and reduce metal loss to the waste rock storage facility.”

Back in April 2021 during a virtual site visit, Hudbay revealed it was trialling bulk sorting at Constancia as one of its “optimisation opportunities”, with Amelunxen updating IM in mid-January on progress.

Hudbay has previously evaluated particle sorting at its Snow Lake operations in Manitoba – with the benefits outlined in a desktop study “muted” given “bottlenecks and constraints”, Amelunxen said – but, at Constancia, it considered XRF sorting from the onset for copper-grade only pre-concentration, due to its perception that this application came with the lowest potential risk and highest probability of success.

The company has a three-phase evaluation process running to prove this, with phase one involving a “bulk sorting amenability study”, phase two moving up to laboratory-scale testing and phase three seeing trials in the field.

The “bulk sorting amenability study” looked at downhole grade heterogeneity to estimate curves of sortability versus unit volume, Amelunxen detailed. Laboratory testing of drill core samples to evaluate the sensor effectiveness was then carried out before an economic analysis and long-range-plan modelling was conducted.

With the concept and application of bulk sorting having cleared all these stage gates, Hudbay, in November, started pilot testing of XRF sensors on a loader. This involved fitting a ShovelSense unit onto the 19 cu.m bucket of a Cat 994H wheel loader, with around 20 small stockpiles of “known grades” loaded onto the bucket and dispatched into a feeder and sampling system (pictured below, credit: Engels Trejo, Manager Technical Services, Hudbay Peru). With this process completed, the company is now awaiting the results.

At a similar time, the company moved onto demonstration trials of a “production” ShovelSense sensor unit on the 27 cu.m bucket of a Hitachi ECX5600-6 shovel operating in one of the pits. It has collected the raw spectral data coming off this unit since the end of November, with plans to keep receiving and analysing sensor data through to next month.

“We should have the finalised XRF calibration in February, at which time we’ll process the raw data collected during the three-month trial period and compare it with the short-term mine plan (ie grades of ore shipped),” Amelunxen said. “So, by the end of February or early March, we’ll be able to validate or finetune the economic model.”

Should the results look favourable, Amelunxen is confident that leasing additional sensors and installing them on the other two Hitachi ECX5600-6 shovels will not take long.

Credit: Engels Trejo, Manager Technical Services, Hudbay Peru

“Plans may change somewhat as the program unfolds,” he said. “For example, we may have success sorting ore, but feel additional calibration is required for waste sorting at Pampacancha, in which case we may install production sensors on Constancia ores while doing another trial program at Pampacancha.

“It all depends on the precision of the XRF calibration.”

Higher head grades and potentially higher copper recoveries may be the headline benefits of using ore sorting technology, but Hudbay is equally focused on obtaining several key environmental benefits, including reduced consumption of energy and water.

On the latter, Amelunxen said: “This is expected due to the processing of less ‘waste’ by removing uneconomic material earlier in the process and reducing the hauling and processing costs of the uneconomic material.”

Looking even further forward – past a potential commercial implementation of XRF-based ore sorting at Constancia – the company plans to evaluate the application of other sensors, too.

“For our future development copper project in Arizona, we plan to look at other sensors as well,” Amelunxen said, referencing the company’s Rosemont asset.

This ore sorting project is not the only project the processing team at Constancia are examining, as Amelunxen already hinted at.

As part of the recovery uplift project, it is installing equipment that will allow the operation to increase the overall mass recovery of the roughers, which is currently constrained by the downstream pumps and cleaning circuit.

“This will allow us to achieve an expected 2-3% increase in copper recoveries without impacting concentrate grade,” Amelunxen said.

It has various initiatives underway under the “Moly plant improvement projects” banner, too. This includes flowsheet optimisation, pH control in the cleaners and pH reduction in the bulk cleaners.

“This project has been in the works since late 2019, and the new mechanical agitator installation in the cleaning cells was completed during the August 2021 schedule mill maintenance shutdown and the new nitrogen plant was commissioned in the second half of the year,” Amelunxen explained. “The next steps are pH control in the cleaners (with CO2), water balance optimisation and potentially installing a Jameson flotation cell as a pre-rougher (the cell is already on site and not in use, it will be repurposed pending results of the pH trials).”

A flotation reagent optimisation study is also on the cards, aimed at reducing zinc and lead contamination in the copper concentrate.

“A depressant addition system is on the way to site and should be installed in February, with plant trials commencing in March,” Amelunxen said, explaining that this followed laboratory test work completed in 2021.

Southern Innovation set for exploration scanning, ore sensing growth with Russell appointment

Southern Innovation, a developer and manufacturer of state-of-the-art real-time materials analysis equipment for the global mining industry, says it has taken a strategic step forward in sales and marketing with the appointment of Steve Russell as Head of Sales and Business Development.

Russell, currently Director of Mining at Scott Automation & Robotics, joins the Southern Innovation team in mid-January 2022 in a role that is expected to drive growth in the company’s key areas of rig-mounted exploration scanners and conveyor-mounted ore sensing/scanning, especially in bulk ores, and looking to near-term applications in base and precious metals.

An engineering professional with a strong background in mining as well as sales and marketing, Russell has previously driven several step-change innovation and automation strategies in the mining industry, according to Southern Innovation.

Southern Innovation, Managing Director David Scoullar, said this appointment will drive strategic growth that has been in the planning stage for a considerable time.

“Southern Innovation has a solid and conservative business base, built off a unique foundation of robust, patient and home-grown development of much-sought-after signal processing technology,” he said. “We have worked closely with some of the most respected and sizeable international mining companies in R&D, and we are now confidently transitioning to grow product sales.

“Our clear objective is to help our customers to improve productivity as well as reduce waste in minerals identification, extraction and processing as the industry drives to net zero emissions by 2050.”

Southern Innovation’s key proprietary products are known as DrillScan™ and GradeScan™.

DrillScan (pictured above, working in the Pilbara of Western Australia) was developed in close collaboration with BHP and is an X-ray Transmission scanner that bolts onto the drill chain of RC drill rigs, performing accurate and continuous analysis while drilling. Results from field use demonstrate more than 95% correlation between continuous, real-time analysis and post-drilling XRF lab-based grade analysis of contemporaneous samples, according to the company.

GradeScan™, meanwhile, is an online, real-time conveyor-mounted X-ray scanner capable of characterising sampled bulk ore in real time at 1 mm resolution across multiple dimensions, according to the company. It features full spectrum scanning, enabled by Southern Innovation’s patented digital signal processing technology, SITORO® Accelerated Analysis.

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.

Intertek opens state-of-the-art new laboratory in Western Australia

Intertek Group has officially opened its new Minerals Global Centre of Excellence, in Perth, Western Australia, bringing with it world-class technical expertise, automated technology, and pioneering innovation and services, Intertek CEO, André Lacroix, says.

The Centre of Excellence is the largest Intertek Minerals laboratory in the world and consolidates the group’s Minerals business into a 20,000 sq.m, multi-service, facility housing over 500 employees. It is powered by the latest pioneering technology to deliver a broad range of Assurance, Testing, Inspection and Certification (ATIC) services to the industry, according to Intertek.

The new centre was officially opened at an event attended by Hon Bill Johnston, Western Australia’s Minister of Mines and Petroleum.

Intertek said: “COVID-19 has intensified the world’s focus on innovative and sustainable mining practices as industries seek to Build Back Ever Better. From the steel required for the construction of wind turbines to the nickel fuelling the shift to electric vehicles, responsibly sourced commodities underpin a cleaner, more sustainable and technologically advanced future. In order to meet the needs of a growing global population while reducing greenhouse gas emissions, a variety of energy sources and commodities will be needed to power the modern world.”

Intertek’s Minerals business has, for many years, driven innovation and sustainability throughout the resource supply chain, from exploration and resource development, through to production, shipping and commercial settlement, supported by a global network of experts and a customer-centric local delivery model, it said.

“As a purpose-led company, Intertek’s mission is to make the world a better, safer and more sustainable place and these values lie at the heart of the Minerals Global Centre of Excellence, which will feature 3,030 x330 W solar panels, making it one of largest rooftop solar installations in Western Australia,” the company said.

The facility will provide miners with access to global specialists in mineralogy, XRD, XRF, FTIR, ICP and statisticians, alongside a new technology and innovation hub with world-class technical expertise and superior customer service at its core, it said.

It will also include eight robotic automated systems, including sample preparation, XRF and wet chemistry systems.

Demonstrating its commitment to investing in advanced technology, Intertek has installed two Chrysos PhotonAssay units at the Minerals Global Centre of Excellence. These units show Intertek’s unwavering focus on leveraging innovation and will provide clients with more accurate and environmentally friendly analysis of gold and complementary elements, it said.

“The need for creative solutions is becoming ever more critical to solving today’s biggest energy and infrastructure challenges,” the company said. “True to its pioneering spirit, Intertek is constantly evaluating new instrumentation and technology to continuously improve quality, safety and efficiency and deliver value for our customers. The new Centre of Excellence shows Intertek’s unwavering focus on leveraging innovation and its commitment to providing clients with industry-leading, high quality analytical data.”

André Lacroix, Chief Executive Officer of Intertek, said: “The world has reached a tipping point in terms of sustainability and it is the movement of our time. As all industries seek to Build Back Ever Better, responsibly sourced commodities today will form the building blocks of a cleaner, greener, more sustainable tomorrow. This exciting new facility will provide our customers with instant access to world-class technical expertise, automated technology, pioneering innovation and services, all in one location.

“With a strong focus on technical excellence, data analytics and superior customer service, we will help the world’s leading mining companies accelerate to a sustainable future by Unearthing Xcellence, in turn enabling us to fulfil our mission of making the world a better, safer, more sustainable place for all.”

Intertek Minerals provides mineral testing services throughout the mining life cycle from exploration geochemistry, mine site laboratory services, minerals inspection, sampling and analysis, robotic laboratory solutions, environmental services and metallurgical testing services across the mining supply chain.