Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) has developed an ore-sorting analyser that could be used by miners to reduce copper processing costs by up to 20%.
The copper analyser uses magnetic resonance technology to identify ore grade and reject waste rock prior to its entry into the plant.
As a result, miners will be able to significantly reduce energy and water consumption during processing.
CSIRO created a new company, known as NextOre, in partnership with RFC Ambrian and Advisian Digital to supply the analyser to the international copper market.
CSIRO research director Nick Cutmore said: “Bringing the analyser to market through NextOre opens up the opportunity to transform the global copper industry and reduce its environmental footprint.
“The solution could also enable undeveloped, low grade mines to be brought into production, so the economic benefits are huge.”
The analyser illuminates batches of ore with short pulses of radio waves, enabling magnetic resonance to penetrate through copper ores to accurately detect ore grade.
CSIRO noted that the sorting analyser goes beyond the surface of ore, offering better results than other such devices.
NextOre CEO Chris Beal said: “Contracts have been secured to provide magnetic resonance analysers to three companies, including two top-tier producers, in the coming financial year.
“We are providing full ore sorting solutions, including technical and engineering advice, to move from concept to site trials and final implementation.”
Set to be initially made available to the South American and Canadian markets, the analyser can also be applied to gold and iron-bearing ores.