Sensor-based particle sorting: technical and economic evaluation of the applicability in a zinc ore mine

Souto, Bechir, Esteves, Galery, Senna

Presented at the Preconcentration Digital Conference November 2020

ABSTRACT

The current moment experienced by the mineral industry is marked by a series of economic, social and environmental challenges. Among the main challenges, it is important to highlight the decreasing in ore grades with the gradual depletion of the existing deposits, the high volatility in international commodity prices and the operational inefficiencies in the mine, beneficiation, and metallurgical plants. In this context, mining companies are continuously looking for alternatives that minimize production costs and maximize overall production. In addition, recent tragedies involving tailings dam collapses in Brazil, reinforced the need for a more responsible, sustainable, and conscious mining, such as aiming the preservation and rehabilitation of the land environment. In this scenario, the Sensor-Based Sorting (SBS) technology is currently getting more space into the mining market. This separation technology aims the removal of gangue material in coarse particle size fractions, prior to comminution and concentration stages. As a consequence, the technology allows a smaller consumption of energy, water, chemical reagents and other inputs. Moreover, the sensor-based sorting is a dry processing technology and favors the reduction of fine material to be sent to the tailings. The aim of this paper is to provide information regarding the technical and economical evaluation of SBS technology applicability to a zinc silicate mining in Brazil. The project evaluation was performed in two stages: laboratory test work and the execution of a pilot plant. The execution of a pilot plant allowed the technology optimization, quantification of downstream process effects, such as a proper economic evaluation about the technology benefits.

Keywords

Sensor-Based Sorting; Particle Sorting; Ore Sorting; Preconcentration; capital expenditure (CAPEX); operating expenditure (OPEX); zinc; comminution; dry processing.

AUTHORS

V Souto1, J L Bechir2, P Esteves3, R Galery4 and C Senna5

1. Managing Director, Steinert Latinoamericana, Brazil, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

2. Technology Manager, Nexa Resources, Brazil, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

3. Head of the Lab, Steinert Latinoamericana, Brazil. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

4. Professor, Federal University of Minas Gerais, Brazil, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

5. Internal Sales, Steinert Latinoamericana, Brazil, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

The authors would like to thank Steinert Latinoamericana for the provision of the laboratorial test-work reports and to the management of Nexa Resources for their permission to present the information detailed in this paper.

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