Heterogeneity of Low-Grade Ores and Amenability to Sensor-Based Sorting

Although ore sorting in mining is not a new concept, sensor-based sorting has failed to gain broad acceptance due to perceived challenges with the technology. In order to gain wider applications, this research focuses on treating waste rock and low-grade ore to identify and test appropriate sensors and to evaluate the response. Results showed that amenability of rocks to sensor-based ore sorting is both sensor and ore specific. It was also observed that the efficiency (recovery) of sorting is directly influenced by the degree of heterogeneity of the rocks. The overall outcome showed that with the right sensor, several of the materials tested are amenable to sensor-based ore sorting. Mining companies could benefit from multiple economic and design impacts, such as lower energy cost, lower transportation costs, higher metal recoveries and smaller footprints that lead to more sustainable mining. This paper will focus on the effects of heterogeneity of rocks on sorting potential and efficiency.