The London Mines & Money 2022 conference finished last week, concluding two weeks (following on from the 121 conference the previous week) of heightened focus on mining. It will be no surprise that decarbonisation and other ESG issues were to the fore of most conversations and presentations, not only the mining industry’s role in providing the metals required for decarbonisation but also the focus on lowering its own environmental footprint.
Although we try and make the Comment variable and broad in its content, there is an element of déjà vu about this week’s. I’m afraid it’s another award.
This time it is for the second of our collaborations with CSIRO (Chrysos Corporation was the first).
We are delighted that NextOre won the “Mines & Money Awards for Outstanding Achievement – Technology Company of the Year 2022”.
Thirty-three entries were submitted and 6 made it to the short list. The award was simply for “The best technology solutions provider of the year”.
Currently commercially deployed at several copper operations globally, in June this year NextOre announced the installation and full commissioning of a unit at First Quantum’s Kansanshi mine.
Operating at 2800 tph, making it the highest capacity ore sorting plant in the world.
The award is a great recognition of NextOre’s success.
Ore sorting has been spoken about by many as the ‘Holy Grail’ of a mining industry facing up to the challenge of extracting minerals from ore bodies with ever declining grade profiles and constraints on water and energy use.
Transportation, crushing and processing of increasing volumes of ore is expensive and energy intensive. Clearly processing material that costs more than the value contained within it isn’t good for margins or the planet but practically it hasn’t been easy to avoid.
So, the ability to pre-concentrate ore by removing gangue materials prior to processing, with the potential to significantly reduce energy consumption, processing and transport costs, water and reagent use makes inherent sense. Good for margins and the planet.
There are several sensor-based technologies available that are applicable for various mining operations but nearly all are constrained by lengthy sensing times, can only run at relatively low capacity and therefore have limited scope to be used on large mines where ore sorting can have the most impact.
NextOre, originally formed in 2017 as a joint venture between the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), RFC Ambrian and Worley, with its MR technology represents a leap forward in bulk ore sorting that provides accurate, whole-of-sample grade measurements at high speeds. It is the culmination of decades of research and development by CSIRO.
Less waste, less energy, less reagent, less tailings, better economics.
In brief, NextOre’s technology is a fundamentally new sensing technique similar to magnetic resonance imaging, designed to provide near instantaneous whole-of-ore grade estimates. It can do this very accurately and at high speeds when fitted over industry standard conveyors by measuring specific elements at molecular level. It delivers Run of Mine grade readings in seconds and, in combination with a diverter on the belt, the equipment can identify waste parcels of ore (cut-off grade can be programmed) and remove them, effectively increasing the grade of the ore stream and decreasing the tonnes being delivered to the plant.
The fact that it works at high speed (ie large tonnages), measures all of the material (not just the surface expression), is accurate, gives instantaneous results and requires a single calibration makes it unique vs the competitor technologies.
As we write the newest NextOre installation is progressing at a large copper operation in South America. Designed to operate at 6,000 tph, twice the speed of the unit at Kansanshi. Translated that’s potentially processing over 30 mtpa.
Not quite “Moore’s law” perhaps, but the current trajectory is pretty clear. NextOre is already providing a 21st century solution to the mining industry.
NextOre is a private company. More information can be found at www.nextore.com.au
Head of RFC Ambrian London
+44 (0)20 3440 6834