We’re collaborating through CRC ORE to develop a solution for bulk gold ore sorting. We have plans to build a pilot plant in Kalgoorlie, Western Australia to trial the technique on Australian gold ores.

The challenge

Improving the economics of mining low grade deposits

As mining companies mine lower grade resources, significantly more tonnes of waste rock (gangue) are being mined and entering the processing plant for processing.

Sorting even a fraction of that waste rock out, leaving higher value ore for processing, would equate to substantial productivity gains for the mining industry.

It could help turn low grade, uneconomic mines into production, while helping other mines maintain their production rates despite the changing nature of their orebody.

Our response

Gamma activation analysis for bulk gold sorting

Model of our gamma activation analysis-based (shielded) conveyor system.

In collaboration with CRC ORE, we are developing sensing techniques based on gamma activation analysis (GAA) to enable bulk sorting of gold metals directly on a mine conveyor belt.

GAA is an X-ray technique, which measures gold with high accuracy down to low levels and could enable bulk sorting of the ore feed based on gold grade.

GAA has been applied to other commercial analysis solutions such as Chrysos’ PhotonAssay (also developed by CSIRO) for use in laboratory analysis services, yet a number of technical challenges need to be overcome before it can be applied directly on a high-speed conveyor.

The results

A pilot plant to scale the solution in Kalgoorlie

Bulk sorting of gold ore would enable huge productivity gains for miners, as well as energy and water savings on downstream processing.

Through CRC ORE, we have established a partnership with the Kalgoorlie-Boulder Mining Innovation Hub to pilot GAA ore sorting of gold ores from the region and other parts of Australia.

We’re currently seeking industry funding for the project, which will develop and build a 60 tonne per hour, pilot-scale facility.

The ultimate aim of the research will be to develop bulk ore sorters capable of operating at 500 to 1000 tonnes per hour.

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