REWO-SORT

In recent years, the mining industry has been faced with numerous challenges across Europe and worldwide. Among these is the need to process ore with successively lower grades due to the continuous depletion of high-grade deposits. This increases the consumption of energy and water and, thus, the operational costs at a mine site. Various approaches to solve this issue have been evaluated, but so far none of these could be validated as a satisfactory solution. The implementation of multimodal sorting techniques represents a promising approach by achieving a pre-concentration of valuable minerals already at an early stage in the metallurgical process.

In this project we propose to develop a fusion technology including laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) and multi energy X-ray transmission (ME-XRT), which will be able to classify crushed mineral particles on a conveyor belt with the aid of deep learning technology. The combination of LIBS and ME-XRT is promising, as these sensors complement each other with regards to their analytical capabilities: LIBS can provide an elemental analysis of the sample surface, while ME-XRT produces volumetric data with lower accuracy. The technological fusion of both sensors will allow for the extrapolation of accurate surface data to the entire volume of the sample and therefore create representative data for the entire ore. In addition, the implementation of neural network technology will enable allow for automatic self-adjustments to varying ore types and geological parameters.

The developed sensor fusion technology will enable constant and accurate monitoring of the mineralogy of the mined rock volume and will allow for on-line and in-situ measurement of geological, mineralogical, rock-mechanical and metallurgical properties of the ore. The development of an on-line feed of these data into 3D geological models of the ore bodies is envisaged, the accuracy and objectivity of which are crucial for successful mine planning.

Project partners

Fraunhofer EZRT is an internationally leading research and development center in the area of non-destructive monitoring along the entire materials value chain of the product life cycle, ranging from raw materials via production towards recycling. Fraunhofer EZRT is defining and advancing the state of the art in this area, especially by applying imaging X-Ray and magnetic resonance techniques as well as optical inspection technologies. The research areas include sensor systems, simulation for data acquisition, image processing for data enhancement and evaluation (metadata acquisition), system development, metrology as well as applications and training.

 

Luleå University of Technology (LTU) is Scandinavia’s northernmost technical university. Through the geographical proximity and close collaborative ties with the Nordic mining industry, LTU has succeeded in establishing a world-class expertise spanning the entire value chain of mining. Mining-related research at LTU has the aim to provide new and improved solutions for securing a sustainable raw material supply which is crucial for the development of the modern society. The ore geology research group at LTU contributes to the geological understanding of ore deposits by integrating multi-scale 3D geological and geophysical subsurface modelling with ore formation studies and micro-analytical resource characterization. This approach and the resulting increased scientific knowledge about ore deposits continues to contribute greatly to the improvement of exploration and mining efficiency.

Laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) is one of the fastest and advanced optical spectroscopic techniques for atomic characterization of material. Being a highly innovative German company; SECOPTA analytics GmbH unites the latest state-of-the-art photonic technologies with the newest development in LIBS spectroscopy. For more than 10 years, it is providing the most advanced spectroscopic measurement system in the field of industrial quality control and process analysis. With key product line namely FiberLIBS lab, FiberLIBS Inline, MopaLIBS  and Mineral LIBS; SECOPTA conducts PMI (positive material identification),fast recycling application( identification of low and high alloy Al,Steel, Ti scrap), investigation of surface coating and surface ablation, refractory bricks and liquid metal analysis, onsite construction material analysis as well as quantitative and qualitative analysis of bulk material flow containing minerals. Specifically for mining applications, the new and highly developed multielement analyzer ‘MineralLIBS’ system simultaneously characterizes different atomic composition of moving (conveyor belt speed up to 3m/s) raw minerals as well as monitors individual ingredient element (Cu, C, Si, Al, Fe, Ca, Na, K, S, Mg, Pb, H, Zn, Ti, N, P, Mn) content on site with acute analytical precision and up to the lowest concentration limit of 100 ppm.

 

Founded in 1842, the University of Chile is the oldest institution of education in Chile. Although the career of Mining Engineering has been imparted since 1853, the Department of Mining Engineering was formally created in 1964. According the QS world university rankings the University of Chile is among the top 10 institutions in the field of mineral engineering.  The Minerals and Metals Characterisation and Separation (M2CS) research group founded in 2012 by Dr. G. Montes-Atenas aims at producing solutions for the mining industry in the fields of minerals processing and extractive metallurgy.  Dr. Montes-Atenas research group is currently acting as the Chilean counterpart of the REWO-SORT project which is expected to lead the development of sorting technologies reducing largely the energy costs in concentrators worldwide. The focus of the project is devoted not only to increasing the separation efficiency of valuable material at early stages of the mineral processing, but also to improving the treatment capacity of sorting technologies.