Tag Archives: XRT

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.”

Kutcho Copper outlines combined open-pit/underground plan for mine

Kutcho Copper Corp has outlined a plan to develop an open pit and underground operation at its copper and zinc project in northern British Columbia, Canada, with the publication of a feasibility study.

The results of the study highlight an 11-year mine life with metal production of 533 Mlb (241,765 t) of copper, 841 Mlb of zinc, 10.6 Moz of silver and 129,700 oz of gold at all-in sustaining costs of $1.80/lb ($3,969/t) of copper equivalent. It came with an initial capital cost of C$483 million ($388 million).

The Main deposit at Kutcho is designed to be mined primarily as a conventional shovel and truck open-pit operation, with a deeper remnant mined by underground longitudinal longhole open stoping (LLHOS) with cemented rock fill (CRF). The underground Esso deposit is also designed to be mined using LLHOS with CRF.

A total of 17.3 Mt is planned to be mined over an 11-year mine life, with 14.5 Mt coming from the open pit and 2.8 Mt from the underground mines. A steady-state crusher production rate of 4,500 t/d is expected be achieved by the end of the first year of operations.

After primary crushing at an average steady state rate of 4,500 t/d, an ore sorter using an X-ray Transmission (XRT) sensor would remove low-grade and waste material from the feed to the SAG and ball mills, followed by conventional flotation, regrind and dewatering circuits. Approximately 3,900 t/d of ore would report to the milling and flotation circuit after ore sorting. The XRT plan follows testing of Kutcho samples at TOMRA Sorting Mining facilities.

The project design includes an extensive progressive reclamation program, including the backfilling of the open pit and water treatment during operations and for the closure period.

The company also plans to use liquified natural gas for power generation as opposed to diesel, which will significantly reduce the generation of greenhouse gases and reducing the potential for fuel spills. This would see four 2.5 MW LNG generators plus one on standby used, with a 2 MW diesel generator providing occasional plant start-up assistance.

Vince Sorace, President & CEO of Kutcho Copper, said: “The feasibility study represents a major milestone for Kutcho Copper as we continue to advance the high-grade Kutcho copper-zinc project towards a development decision. The significant redesign and engineering of the project delivers a mine plan that is a predominantly open-pit mining operation with the concurrent development of two underground mines. The mine plan has resulted in a technically robust and capital efficient project with a minimised footprint.

“The results of the feasibility study highlight the attractive economics of the Kutcho project which are resilient at lower metal prices, very attractive at base case prices and exhibit significant leverage to rising prices as reflected in spot metal prices with a C$931 million after-tax NPV (7% discount) and a 41% internal rate of return. We believe that the results of the feasibility study mean that Kutcho Copper is now one of the most undervalued copper investment opportunities in North America.”

Vast sees path forward at Manaila with help of TOMRA’s XRT ore sorting solution

Vast Resources says it is continuing to evaluate the recommencement of production at its Manaila polymetallic mine in Romania and, as part of this process, has been working with TOMRA to assess the suitability of X-ray Transmission (XRT) ore sorting technology to optimise the mine’s production profile.

The assessment has demonstrated, to date, that by installing an XRT machine at the plant to pre concentrate ore at the pit, the technology would be highly effective for three main reasons:

  • A reduction in transportation costs as improved mass reduction would significantly reduce the material being transported from the mine to the processing plant;
  • A reduction in processing costs due to reducing the throughput at the plant; and
  • Higher-grade product being delivered to the plant.

It is anticipated that processing and transportation costs could be reduced by up to 55%, according to Vast.

“This cost reduction could have a dramatic impact on the mine’s financial performance,” the company says.

Samples from both types of mineralisation at Manaila, massive sulphide and disseminated sulphide, were sent to the TOMRA Test Centre in Wedel, Germany, to ascertain improved mass reduction and grade upgrade potential. Both mineralisation types showed amenability to the XRT process with metal content recovery on the massive sulphides at 95.4% for copper, 93.6% for lead and 95.2% for zinc in 71% of the mass, the company explains. The disseminated sulphides returned a metal content recovery of 84.2% for copper, 67.2% for lead and 84.4% for zinc in 35% of the mass.

The combined results show that 93.1% of copper, 82.2% of lead and 92.4% of zinc metal could be recovered in 45% of the mass when mining the polymetallic ore on a ratio of three tonnes disseminated sulphide to one tonne of massive sulphide, being the typical historical ratio of mining at Manaila.

Andrew Prelea, Chief Executive Officer of the Vast Resources, says: “These results clearly underpin our view that Manaila is economically viable, and the management team are considering various mine plan scenarios of bringing Manaila back into production.”

The 138.6 ha Manaila-Carlibaba exploration licence contains a JORC 2012 compliant measured and indicated resource of 3.6 Mt at 0.93% Cu, 0.29% Pb, 0.63% Zn, 0.23 g/t Au and 24.9 g/t Ag with inferred resources of 1 Mt at 1.1% Cu, 0.4% Pb, 0.84% Zn, 0.24 g/t Au and 29.2 g/t Ag. Comprising the Manaila polymetallic mine (currently on care and maintenance) and the Carlibaba extension project, Vast intends to establish a larger mining and processing facility at Manaila-Carlibaba which would eliminate the need for costly road transport of mined ore to the existing processing facility located at Iacobeni, around 30 km away.

Preliminary studies by the company indicate the potential for a new open-pit mine to exploit mineral resources to a depth of some 125 m below surface, and to simultaneously develop a smaller higher-grade underground mine below the open-pit mineral resources.

TOMRA XRT ore sorting test work delivers the goods at Kutcho’s copper-zinc project

Higher head grades and recoveries, a reduction in run-of-mine material reporting to the milling and flotation circuit, a smaller tailings management facility, and lower power and water demand are just some of the benefits to have come out of ore sorting test work at Kutcho Copper’s copper-zinc project in British Columbia, Canada.

Recent bulk sample test work was conducted to determine the effectiveness of using ore sorting technology from TOMRA Sorting Mining to improve the processed grade and reduce the mill feed tonnage of mineral resources at the project.

ABH Engineering Inc and TOMRA were commissioned to undertake this work to establish the amenability of Kutcho’s Main and Esso deposits to ore sorting using an X-ray Transmission (XRT) sensor. Two phases of test work, including a representative 0.75 t bulk sample derived from drill core, were undertaken at TOMRA Sorting Mining in Germany under the supervision of ABH Engineering.

“The ore sorting process helps concentrate the metals of commercial interest from the Kutcho deposit, which are principally associated with high density sulphide minerals,” Kutcho explained. “Rocks are individually scanned, and low grade (low density) waste material is selectively diverted away from downstream processing using compressed air jets. Preliminary test work on the sensitivity of the ore to a XRF sensor was also undertaken.”

The bulk sample tests conducted on a production-scale XRT ore sorter indicate that approximately 17% of the ROM material will be <12.5 mm in size and would therefore bypass the ore sorter and report directly to the milling and flotation circuit. Of the >12.5 mm feed, some 15% of the material reporting to the ore sorter was detected by the XRT sensors as being low grade or waste and will be rejected by the ore sorter, thereby reducing run-of-mine material reporting to the milling and flotation circuit by 13%. The overall recovery of metal (copper, zinc, silver and gold) reporting to the ore sorter is in the order of 99% (ie less than 1% of the metals of interest will be rejected by the ore sorter), Kutcho said.

Pre-sorting of the run-of-mine material by the ore sorter has the potential to reduce milling and flotation operating costs corresponding with the 13% rejection of low-grade material, it says. The commensurate increase in the head grade of the ore reporting to the flotation circuit has the potential to also result in improved metallurgical recoveries in the flotation circuit.

Additionally, it is anticipated that potential savings in capital and operating costs related to the smaller milling and flotation circuit will offset the costs associated with the ore sorter, according to the company. Savings will also be achieved by a reduction in the size of the tailings management facility. The optimally sized ore sorter reject waste material could be used as cemented rock backfill in the underground mines at both the Main and Esso deposits, resulting in further potential cost savings, Kutcho said.

Environmental benefits accruing to the project because of the introduction of ore sorting technology include a lower power and water demand, and a smaller tailings management facility, the company concluded.

Earlier this month, Kutcho said in a feasibility study progress report that it was considering open-pit mining for the majority of the Main deposit at Kutcho, allowing the company to capitalise on the high-grade, near-surface mineralisation, resulting in lower operating costs than underground mining. The remainder of the Main deposit and all the Esso deposit will continue to be evaluated assuming underground extraction by longitudinal longhole open stoping, it said.

The ore sorting test work was also being incorporated into the feasibility study design.

Steinert XRT ore sorter testing shows promise at Northern Minerals rare earth project

Northern Minerals Ltd has progressed its ore sorting project enhancement initiative with the commissioning and testing of the Steinert sorter system, and is now producing ore sorted material and converting this to a 30% total rare earth oxide (TREO) concentrate in its’ Browns Range beneficiation plant in Western Australia.

Northern Minerals’ CEO, Mark Tory, said: “The construction, commissioning and testing of the ore sorter circuit marks another milestone in the development of the Browns Range project.

“The positive bulk sample tests confirm the effectiveness of the ore sorting circuit on the Wolverine ore to significantly increase the head grade to the mill which is expected to result in higher production rates and lower operating costs for a full-scale operation at Browns Range.

“It’s also pleasing to see the initial ore sorting tests the Banshee ore showing promise which, if shown to be effective in future tests, has potential to significantly increase the Browns Range mineral resource estimate.”

He added: “Being able to test and operate the ore sorting circuit in conjunction with the pilot beneficiation plant is providing extremely valuable data that you just can’t get from small bench-scale tests and this will feed into our feasibility study for a potential commercial scale heavy rare earth operation at Browns Range.”

The ore sorter system was constructed during 2020 and 2021 and commissioned in June 2021. The sorter that was installed is a 2-m wide Steinert sorter that uses X-ray Transmission (XRT) and laser detectors to identify rare earth mineralisation.

The sorter has been run over two test campaigns, which included 41 test runs processing 5,300 t of ore from the run of mine stockpiles largely coming from Wolverine ore, and five test runs on Banshee ore that was bulk sampled from a surface costean that provided 285 t of Banshee ore.

The tests have confirmed that simultaneous sorting of two size fractions is possible on the sorter, allowing a single machine to sort both sortable size fractions (10 mm-25 mm and 25 mm-75 mm), Northern Minerals says. The sortable fraction (>10 mm material) of Wolverine ore can be successfully sorted (90% TREO recovery in 50% of the mass) and, when combined with non-sortable fines, achieves a 45% grade increase to the mill and over 95% TREO recovery when feeding a 0.9% TREO ore.

The sorter system is now being run to produce feed for the beneficiation plant and 4,479 t of Wolverine ore have been processed through the ore sorter circuit to the end of August. Processing of the Wolverine ore sorted material in the beneficiation plant has resulted in better recoveries in the magnetic separation plant and flotation plant compared with feeding unsorted ore, the company says. A bulk sample of 50 t of 30% TREO rare earth concentrate has being produced for test work by facilities identified with likely future capability and capacity to process the heavy rare earth xenotime concentrate produced at Browns Range.

Bulks sample tests have highlighted some key factors to consider for ore sorting that cannot be determined at bench scale using vendor equipment in laboratory settings. Understanding the impact of these factors is critical to including an ore sorting circuit in a full-scale processing facility.

Initial sorting tests of the Banshee ore have shown that the highly oxidised surface material contains a large fines fraction and that the grade of the sortable fraction (ie >10 mm) can be doubled recovering more than 60% of the TREO in 25% of the mass. An additional bulk sample is being extracted from deeper in the costean and three diamond drill holes are being drilled for further test work.

The bulk ore sorting test work is a key input for the full-scale beneficiation plant feasibility study currently underway, which will also leverage off the substantial technical, operational and economic data from the R&D test work at the Browns Range Pilot Plant since 2018, the company says.

Wescoal after RoM upgrade with Acrux, IMS Engineering XRT ore sorting solution

Acrux Sorting Technology has announced that its advanced sensor-based sorting technology is to be deployed at a Wescoal Holdings Ltd-owned coal mining operation in South Africa.

Acrux subsidiary, Acrux Sorting Coal (ASC), has signed a coal beneficiation agreement with two wholly owned subsidiaries of Wescoal, whereby ASC will deploy advanced sensor-based sorting technology to upgrade lower-grade coal from the mines.

Under the agreement, ASC will provide a fully funded turnkey crushing, screening and sensor-based sorting solution centred around advance dual-energy X-ray Transmission (XRT) unit to process run of mine (RoM) coal.

The plant is to be designed, constructed, commissioned, operated and maintained by IMS Engineering Limited, Acrux’s partner on such ore sorting projects. IMS Engineering is a subsidiary of Germany-based HAZEMAG & EPR GmbH.

ASC’s sorting solution offers significant economic benefits as coal resources can now be upgraded to be included as a saleable product, which will reposition the mines along the cost curve, it said.

Paul Bracher, Managing Director of IMS, said: “The XRT technology has proven its ability to upgrade RoM coal through rejecting material that has sulphur or ash content that exceeds programmed parameters.”

The solution will also have a positive environmental impact as no water is used during beneficiation, and the carbon footprint is reduced through the optimisation of transportation and materials handling.

Wescoal’s Executive Director, Thivha Tshithavhane, said: “This sorting technology solution will enable us to impact on ESG, while creating shareholder value from optimising our coal resources at no capital investment.”

Sean Browne, ASC’s Chairman and Group Founder, added: “Partnering with Wescoal underlines our commitment to driving sustainable innovations that reduce the environmental impact of mining.”

TOMRA completes the diamond recovery loop with new XRT solution

TOMRA Sorting Mining says it is breaking new ground with a “unique” X-ray Transmission (XRT) Final Recovery solution that guarantees 99% diamond recovery.

With the new introduction, TOMRA is the first company in the industry able to supply a full diamond recovery solution using XRT technology from 2-100 mm, coupled with all the benefits of cloud computing for monitoring and managing the entire process, it said.

The new TOMRA COM XRT 300/FR final recovery sorter delivers concentration factors of up to one million with limited stages and is the only solution on the market that guarantees more than 99% diamond recovery, according to the company.

“The new sorter stands out for the high sorting efficiencies, the high diamond-by-weight concentrate, and the benefits deriving from its focus on a single consistent detection principal, diamonds,” the company said. “With this new introduction, TOMRA offers a complete partnered diamond recovery ecosystem with a flowsheet covering the entire process – from concentration to final recovery and sort house – and includes custom development with the end-user all the way to installation, then continued management of the asset and support with specialised services and training.”

The TOMRA COM XRT 300/FR is the latest step in TOMRA’s long-term diamond sector strategy, Geoffrey Madderson, Diamond Segment Manager for TOMRA Sorting Mining.

“We always had this clear objective, but the technology just didn’t exist,” he said. “We knew that to achieve our goal, we would need extremely advanced sensor technology. We have been working in-house on the development the new ultra-high resolution sensor more than five years, and now we are able to close the loop: the COM XRT 300/FR is the last piece within our recovery process, covering the final recovery and sort house applications to produce an ultra-high diamond-by-weight concentrate.”

TOMRA says its holistic approach and unique offering has earned a strong market trust in its XRT technology. As a result, the first three TOMRA COM XRT 300/FR sorters produced have already been sold to customers, all of whom purchased the machines on the back of their experience of previous TOMRA sorters.

The makeup of the TOMRA COM XRT 300/FR sorters sees input material evenly fed via a vibration feeder onto a conveyor belt. An electric X-ray tube creates a broad-band radiation, which penetrates the material and provides spectral absorption information. This is measured with an X-ray camera using DUOLINE® sensor technology, which focuses on a single, constant property of the material, density, it explained.

The advanced ultra-high resolution sensor information is processed and analysed by our TOMRA’s new Image Processing Pipeline to provide a detailed “density image” of the material, allowing it to be separated into high- and low-density fractions. If diamonds are detected, it commands the control unit to open the appropriate valves of the ejection module at the end of the conveyor belt. The detected diamonds are separated from the material flow by jets of compressed air. The sorted material is divided into two fractions in the separation chamber.

The tight tolerances and accurate alignment of the new ultra-high resolution sensor results in a high-quality picture that ensures a clear discrimination between diamonds and low-density materials down to 2 mm, according to TOMRA. The sorter features high-speed valves with a fine nozzle pitch, which significantly reduces non-diamond material in the concentrate. The result is ultra-high diamond-by-weight concentrate with a guaranteed recovery of more than 99%, the company claims.

It is possible to replace multiple sorting stages with a single TOMRA COM XRT 300/FR sorter all the way down to hand sorting, according to the company. In the final recovery application, the sorter targets the highest tonnage through the sorter that can be achieved with the highest recovery efficiency, which ranges from five tonnes to one tonne. As a result, the operation benefits from a smaller footprint and achieves much better grade.

It is also possible to replace hand sorting with a TOMRA COM XRT 300/FR. In a sort house application, it targets the highest diamond-by-weight concentrate possible, with about half the tonnage than final recovery, bringing multiple benefits. It removes the traditional bottlenecks around hand sorting efficiencies and eliminates the human error factor, the company says. In addition, it provides a high level of security by protecting the product from human intervention.

TOMRA’s partnered diamond recovery ecosystem includes consultation services during the development of the system and throughout the lifecycle of the equipment, support running the sorters, and help with specialised services and training. The company has also leveraged digital technologies to provide effective support, through its Virtual Demonstration and Test Solution and features such as the TOMRA Visual Assist Augmented Reality tool for remote assistance.

“With TOMRA, the customer’s entire recovery system falls into one ecosystem,” explains Madderson. “This allows for better compatibility and interconnectivity between the different applications of the recovery process. It gives our customers the full benefit of using cloud computing through our TOMRA Insight platform, which turns our sorters into connected machines. This enables customers to monitor and manage their recovery process in one easy-to-access place for both on-site and off-site management teams.”

TOMRA has set up a showroom dedicated to demonstrations of the TOMRA COM XRT 300/FR sorter at its Test Center in Wedel, Germany. Later in the year, TOMRA will also offer virtual demonstrations for those unable to travel to the Test Center.

Vast Resources to leverage new equipment and XRT ore sorting at Baita Plai

Vast Resources has devised a new mechanised mine plan for its Baita Plai polymetallic mine in Romania that will see mining capacity increase by 65% and ore sorting employed to increase mill feed grades.

The new mine plan includes the acquisition of three LHDs (including at least one narrow-vein electric LHD), an Aramine face jumbo drill rig, two Resemin Muki 22 long hole drilling rigs and a TOMRA X-ray Transmission (XRT) ore sorter.

Execution risk is expected to be significantly reduced compared with the old labour-intensive plan through the employment of senior international staff; the use of increased mechanisation; and the fact that shortly, with the expediated development plan now possible through the new equipment, the mining areas will be in areas newly drilled by the company and not in less stable old mining areas, the company said.

The company, in co-operation with TOMRA Mining, has concluded an initial investigation on ore from Baita Plai as part of the development of the new mining and processing plan. The objective of the work was to determine the amenability of ore from Baita Plai to be pre-concentrated using TOMRA sensor-based sorting technologies to produce a high-grade pre-concentrate, pre-milling feed.

“The study showed a clear amenability for the ore to be separated using TOMRA’s advanced XRT technology to identify both massive mineralisations, as well as fine mineral inclusions, using its proprietary combination detection algorithms to produce a high-grade pre-concentrate and eliminate non-grade containing waste material,” the company said.

The XRT implementation and processing plant upgrades are set to be completed by December 2021, the company said, with mill feed grades expected to be concentrated by 1.25-1.75 times. This would see the sensor-based sorter shift 60% of tonnage into the accept stream for the mill and 40% into the reject stream, with a 92% yield in the accept tonnage.

The new mine plan presents a cost reduction of 21% in dollars per mined tonne with an operational efficiency of 63 tonnes per total employee costed (TEC) at steady state, versus the previous plan efficiency metric of 43 tonnes per TEC, Vast Resources said. It also sees mining capacity rise to 22,000 t/mth, from 13,300 t/mth.

Andrew Prelea, Chief Executive Officer of Vast Resources, said: “This is a robust and comprehensive mine plan which has been developed using rigorous technical parameters. On behalf of the board, I believe the plan set out to shareholders today represents a benchmark for us to deliver on over the coming years in tandem with our broader expansion plans at Baita Plai and across our wider portfolio.”

TOMRA boosts sensor-based ore sorting process with key updates

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

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

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

Ines Hartwig, TOMRA Product Manager

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

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

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

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

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

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

Peel Mining’s South Cobar preliminary flowsheet to factor in ore sorting

Peel Mining says positive results from ore sorting test work at the Southern Nights and Mallee Bull deposits, part of its 100%-owned South Cobar Project, in western New South Wales, Australia, provide encouragement for the inclusion of this pre-concentration technology into future process plant design.

So encouraged by this testing is Peel that it has engaged GR Engineering to integrate ore sorting technology into an updated processing plant technical report for the project.

At the same time as this, Peel announced that GR Engineering had recently completed a preliminary process plant technical report for South Cobar that considers crushing, grinding, gravity, flotation and cyanidation process stages for the recovery of gold, silver, copper, lead and zinc from the various mineralisation styles within Peel’s deposits.

Meanwhile, the recently received positive preliminary ore sorting test work results from work undertaken on diamond drilling samples shows there is potential for improvements in the flowsheet.

The ore sorting test work, completed in conjunction with ongoing metallurgical studies, was undertaken by Steinert and TOMRA.

Steinert ’s test work on Southern Nights mineralisation demonstrated strong recovery and upgrade potential with two size range samples returning, on average, circa-93% Zn, circa-91% Pb, circa-91% Ag, circa-87% Cu and circa-82% Au recoveries to an average of circa-54% of the feed mass (circa-46% of feed mass rejection) increasing the lead and zinc grades by 61% and 64%, respectively.

TOMRA’s test work on Mallee Bull mineralisation achieved significant waste mass reductions while maintaining very high copper recoveries (≥95% for the higher-grade breccia copper and massive sulphide copper samples), the company said. A lower grade breccia copper sample upgraded from 0.59% Cu to 1.05% Cu with 77% Cu recovery and 56% mass rejection, it noted.

“Positive results from ore sorting at Southern Nights and Mallee Bull deposits provide encouragement for the inclusion of this pre-concentration technology into future process plant design and, as a result, Peel has engaged GR Engineering to integrate ore sorting technology into an updated processing plant technical report,” the company said.

Peel’s Executive Director of Mining, Jim Simpson, said: “The completion of the processing plant technical report by mineral processing solutions experts GR Engineering is a critical first step in understanding the potential composition of the milling infrastructure required for the company’s development plans.

“The detail presented in the report by GR is impressive and the report will form the basis for ongoing preliminary studies for the refinement and improvement of the processing plant design as new information comes to hand.

“We are also very pleased with the potential of ore sorting as part of any future South Cobar project hub’s processing route with initial test work pointing to the amenability of both Southern Nights and Mallee Bull mineralisation to separation using 3D-XRT ore-sorting technology, allowing for the simultaneous rejection of barren or waste material whilst retaining the bulk of contained metal, and in the process, upgrading the value of the ore.”

Simpson added: “Apart from reducing the overall feed mass by the rejection of waste at early stage, other benefits of ore sorting include potentially upgrading lower-grade mineralisation and reducing the size of the processing plant offering potentially reduced capital, power, water and tailings storage needs.”