Ore Sorting – Current Technology and Potential
Ore sorting has been around for a while but when people think ore sorting, they may think only diamonds and gemstones. While it is true that most modern successes in ore sorting are found in this area, there have been similar successes or potential in coal, iron ore, precious metals, and base metals. The whole concept of pre-concentration, where unwanted waste is removed from the mill feed, is one that the mining industry should consider. In a world where energy and water management is increasingly important and where mineral deposits of ever decreasing grade are being processed, pre-concentration through sorting can be a real game changer. This paper presents the multiple technologies and vendors who are operating in this space along with their capabilities and limitations. From mineral sensing technology to physical separation processes, we will explore what is available. Guidance in assessing the viability – both technical and economic – of applying ore sorting to a given deposit will also be shared.