TOMRA Mining has provided effective solution for the extreme conditions at the Bluestone Mines Tasmania JV (BMTJV) Renison tin mine in Tasmania, with its XRT sensor-based sorting technology unlocking significant value and delivering environmental benefits.
- The Renison mine is 50% owned by Metals X through the Bluestone Mines Tasmania Joint Venture (BMTJV). It is the only major tin project in production in Australia with a mining rate of close to 1Mtpa, although the concentrator is restricted at 750,000tpa. The extreme humidity, with an annual rainfall of over 3,000 mm, and the highly acidic processing water with pH around 4.5, creates unique challenges for the sorting process, the equipment, and waste management, which BMTJV resolved with TOMRA’s help.
- BMTJV approached TOMRA to address two key requirements.
- The first was the need to upgrade their tin feed to the plant: “The Renison Tin operation wanted to achieve economies of scale, putting more tons through the front end of the plant without upgrading the back end downstream – we wanted to do more with less,” explains Ben Wraith, Principal Project Metallurgist at BMTJV.
- The second requirement was to address the environmental issue of removing acid-forming sulphides from the waste.
- A team from BMTJV visited the TOMRA Test Center in Sydney, where they observed what the XRT sorter operating at capacity is capable of and experienced first-hand the exceptional accuracy of TOMRA’s XRT sensor. “Our XRT stands out for the high spatial and density resolution and its ability to do contrast sorting, identifying fine high-density tin inclusions in the ore with an accuracy that has no equal on the market,” says Gavin Rech, Technical Manager at TOMRA.
- TOMRA’s XRT sorters have proved to be a sound investment that is delivering significant returns: “operating the sorting circuit has slightly increased our overall processing cost, but this is more than offset by the large increase in ROM throughput by 15 to 20%, and thus tin production, so the unit cost per ton of tin produced is reduced by almost 10%,” says Ben Wraith.
- Ben Wraith is particularly looking forward to TOMRA Insight cloud-based platform: “It will enhance everybody’s understanding and experience of the machines. It will be more of an analytical platform for our metallurgy and maintenance staff, providing ample opportunity to gain valuable information that can be analyzed and optimized over time. The one feature I am personally interested in the particle size monitoring through the machines, which will enhance our overall circuit performance, because we have an integrated circuit with the crushing and screening plant. Feed preparation is key to maintain a consistent performance – knowing how well you’re preparing your feed in a live fashion can only end up with a better result.”