Rapid ore sorting

The world’s first sensor system for large-scale ore sorting rapidly determines ore grade to cost-effectively sort minerals of value from waste. The technology can significantly boost productivity for mining companies.

The Challenge

Minerals are increasingly lower in grade

The world’s high-grade mineral ore deposits are depleting and new mineral ores are increasingly lower in quality. These lower-grade ores, particularly in large quantities, are considered uneconomic to mine and process. As demand for resources increases, this is a significant challenge for the industry’s productivity into the future.

New tools to selectively mine ore and to identify and sort high value ore from waste can make low-grade ore deposits economically viable.  While some sorting technologies for relatively low tonnage rates have been successful, effective sorting rates of thousands of tonnes per hour have not been achieved.

While there are significant technical challenges to overcome in sensing and sorting the required large tonnage rates, the benefits from this would be enormous.

Our Response

Technology to sort high value from low-grade ore

We have developed a new cost-effective and sustainable sensor system for large-scale ore sorting. The sensor blasts batches of the ore with short pulses of radio waves, assessing ore grade and enabling high rate sorting.

Our ore sensor has the ability to rapidly measure the grade of selected ore minerals along short, consecutive sections of a production conveyor. Each section carrying about a tonne can then quickly be sent for processing or be rejected because of low quality.

The ore sorter sensor blasts batches of the ore with short pulses of radio waves to rapidly assess ore grade for high rate sorting.

The Results

Boosted productivity plus water and energy savings

By assessing the grade of ore, previously uneconomic sites can become viable, leading to greater use of the natural resource and enormous energy and cost savings.

We successfully completed a trial of the technology with Newcrest Mining, where ore sensor technology demonstrated rapid detection of ore grade on a primary conveyor.

In future, if coupled with ore diversion equipment at a large mine, this approach could improve productivity by more than 20 per cent, decrease operational annual carbon dioxide emissions by more than 33,000 tonnes and reduce water consumption by 15 per cent.

We're now partnering with WorleyParsons to bring our ore sorting technology to market.

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