XRT sorting can be adapted for Copperbelt mining

4th December 2020 By: Cameron Mackay - Journalist

XRT sorting can be adapted for Copperbelt mining

CHRISTIAN KORSTEN Test results have shown that senor-based ore sorters in copper mining can work as a pre-concentration, and remove a significant mass of waste material

Ore-processing equipment supplier TOMRA Sorting Mining’s experience in copper ore sorting globally came to the fore with its X-ray transmission (XRT) technology, with which the company has attained “ideal” results in the recovery of material and waste removal.

TOMRA Sorting Mining area sales manager Christian Korsten, a former test centre manager, says XRT technology can be adapted to copper ore sorting, particularly for miners active on the African Copperbelt.

“We are not active in this region yet. XRT sorting technology needs to be tested for use in specific mining projects, as every project is a bit different. The XRT ore sorter can be used in copper for sorting mine dumps, pebble circuit, and run-of-mine material. This is proven in many copper projects,” he explains.

TOMRA’s XRT sorters separate dry material of various ores and minerals based on their atomic density, regardless of surface properties and thickness, consequently

removing the need to crush or grind every rock into smaller particles and resulting in energy, water and associated cost savings.

Developed in Germany, the XRT technology uses proprietary image-processing to determine the aspects of material input that need to be separated.

Image processing and mathematical algorithms can then be used to make a binary sorting decision on a rock-by-rock basis.

Korsten explains that the expected difference in the atomic densities of targeted copper minerals and waste materials found in copper deposits, makes XRT technology appropriate for copper operations.

“Sensor-based ore sorters in copper mining can work as a pre-concentration method and can remove a significant amount of waste material. The processing plant size can be reduced and throughput can also be increased.”

Additional benefits include the removal of water in the beneficiation circuit, the dry stacking of waste, the processing of low-grade ore, the reprocessing of waste dumps, an increased life-of-mine and reduced power consumption in ore beneficiation, Korsten adds.

He stresses that thatno water or chemicals are needed for this technology, which uses air pressure.

The operating expenses of the sorters are far less than $0.5 per sorted ton, Korsten adds.

Further, TOMRA offers 24-hour and weekend service support, with an office in Johannesburg that supports clients based in Africa. It also offers training for customers and regular inspections on site. If customers allow TOMRA remote control access, technicians, such as Korsten, can offer remote assistance.