As high grade ore deposits are depleted, remaining deposits are generally lower grade and require the mining and processing of larger volumes of material per tonne of product. These low grade deposits often contain a large proportion of barren gangue. Pre-concentration aims to remove this barren material at as coarse a particle size and as early in the process as possible. This has the potential to reduce processing costs, energy and water consumption, increase production and improve resource utilisation.
There are several technologies that may be applicable for pre-concentration. This paper looks specifically at bulk ore sorting and how it can be integrated into existing or new mining operations to improve profitability and reduce environmental impact. Bulk ore sorting is the separation of barren gangue from a fully loaded conveyor belt based on the grade as measured or inferred from a sensor measurement. It may be used to increase the production rate through fixed plant capacity, or increase production and/or reduce the size of downstream processing equipment in Greenfield operations. Marginal ore sub-economic reserves may be upgraded, making them economic to treat and improving the resource utilization. Bulk ore sorting could also be used to reduce dilution and ore loss in mining operations by improving grade control, or to separate ore types to treat via different process routes. Various applications of bulk ore sorting are discussed in this paper, and three cases are investigated considering the impact on the overall operation and the associated benefits.
Published in: 2015
Volume Title: MetPlant 2015
Duffy, K, Valery, W, Jankovic, A and Holtham, P, 2015. Integrating bulk ore sorting into a mining operation to maximise profitability, in Proceedings MetPlant 2015, pp 273–287 (The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy: Melbourne).