Technology is at the forefront of investment in the mining industry. Corné de Jager, Area Sales Manager for Diamonds at TOMRA Mining, discusses the latest the company has to offer in the sector.
OLD INDUSTRY, NEW METHODS
Mining is an industry as ancient as civilisation itself.
Whether miners have delved for copper and tin to forge bronze weapons of war, gold and silver with which to mint coins in the likeness of their monarchs, or recovered precious gems revered across the many regions of the known world, the act of sourcing valuable minerals for function or desire has always held an important place in society.
Yet today, with ever more complex and large-scale mining operations, there are multiple facets to the process that are necessary to help improve efficiency and maximise mineral yield, and the true enabler of the day is technology. One such facilitator of these kinds of pan-industry solutions is Norwegian giant TOMRA.
“TOMRA sorting systems are already contributing to more energy-efficient and cost-effective pre-concentrations, and to material recovery worldwide,” begins Corné de Jager, Area Sales Manager for Diamonds at TOMRA Mining. “Our sensor-based solutions help to extend the life of mining operations and increase the overall value of the deposit.”
TOMRA consists of two main business streams, TOMRA Collection (material recovery and the world’s leading provider of reverse vending solutions) and TOMRA Sorting, consisting of TOMRA Food, TOMRA Recycling and TOMRA Mining.
“With advanced collection and sensor-based sorting solutions, TOMRA has over 100,000 installations in over 80 markets worldwide and had total revenues of about 9.9 billion Norwegian kroner (NOK) in 2020,” Jager tells us. “The TOMRA group employs roughly 4,300 people globally, and TOMRA Mining itself consists of 80 people, based at our locations in Hamburg and Mülheim-Kärlich (Germany), Johannesburg (South Africa), Denver (America) and Sydney (Australia).”
TOMRA Mining offers a complete product range for efficient material and waste separation for various minerals and segments such as industrial minerals, diamonds, ferrous and non-ferrous, and metal recovery from slag. Its flagship commodities include, but are not limited to, diamonds, gold, tungsten, tin, lithium, limestone, phosphate, magnesite and quartz.
With approximately 177 installations worldwide, TOMRA Sorting’s mining business contributes to more energy-efficient and cost-effective material recovery.
“TOMRA Act, the ground-breaking new sorter computing user interface, together with a new image processing pipeline and additional process data for TOMRA Insight, improves the overall sorting process for greater productivity and profitability,” Jager explains.
“For the diamond industry, a premium range of sorter products is available for mainly four types of applications within the diamond recovery process. For the primary applications of concentration, final recovery and sort house, market leading X-ray transmission (XRT) sensing technology is used to differentiate between product and waste based on atomic density. The waste sorting application uses near infra-red (NIR) colour technology to remove non-product containing ores upstream of the processing plant.”
INVESTING IN THE FUTURE
Altogether, TOMRA Mining’s products, latest additions and services, together with cloud computing, form a unique offering for the diamond industry: a complete partnered diamond recovery ecosystem from two millimetre to 100-millimetre particles. Moving ahead, the company aims to keep this market edge through tech-heavy investments.
“One such investment is our compact new COM XRT 300 /FR sorter, that completes TOMRA Mining’s partnered diamond recovery ecosystem,” Jager elaborates. “Coupled with all the benefits of cloud computing (TOMRA Insight), the COM XRT 300 /FR is the last piece within our recovery process, covering the final recovery (FR), sort house and small capacity exploration applications to produce an ultra-high diamond by weight concentrate, with less human interference and less security risks.”
According to Jager, the sorter offers a 100 percent diamond detection rate within the specified size fraction and a 99 percent diamond recovery rate, guaranteed with sufficient feed material preparation.
“It is possible to replace multiple sorting stages with a single COM XRT 300 /FR sorter all the way down to hand sorting,” Jager continues. “Therefore, it offers higher efficiency, as well as better grade and security with fewer sorting stages and a smaller carbon footprint. The first COM XRT 300 /FR sorter was installed at Letseng Mine in Lesotho, in May 2021. Our customer confirmed that the sorter performed well, with consistent recovery and according to their expectations.”
TOMRA Mining also strengthened its online capabilities through investing in a new microsite within the company’s website.
“The new TOMRA Mining microsite, specifically developed for the diamond industry, was time and money worth spending!” Jager assures us. “Feedback from our customers is that the site is user friendly with minimal clicks needed to quickly access and download product information, brochures, applications, typical flowsheets, videos, testimonials, case studies, as well as general arrangement (GA) drawings and 3D Models!
“Various customers have shown their interest in our recent investments, and our priority is therefore to continue supporting our customers by looking for opportunities to improve our services for mining in the years to come.