The ITERAMS project develops new holistic water and waste concepts and a procedure to assess the overall sustainability of mine operations with the ultimate aim to develop a water recycling testing protocol for the mining industry.
Ore has a crucial effect on water and tailings quality. Ore sorting targets to remove the non-valuable material in the beginning to avoid the processing of barren material below the cut-off grade, where the processing would cost more than the value of the metal.
Sorting subsequently reduces the amount of material to be milled and thus the energy costs. Ore sorting results in higher-grade feed material sent to flotation and in minimization of waste reduce the water consumption at the beneficiation plant enables selective beneficiation and produces coarse dry waste.
When the head grade of the feed increases, energy, water and reagent consumption decrease. Water consumption per ton of product decreases when fewer tons of ore at a higher grade are processed. This results also in the decreased production of wet tailings. The understanding of the implementation and economic impact of ore sorters is lacking.
Fig. 1. a) Study on metal content (%) during 24 h period showing 1 min (light blue) and 60 min (dark blue) floating average from primary crushed ore. b) During six morning hours 3 truckloads could have been sorted out, representing about 10% of total feed (1 load high grade HG, 3 loads low grade LG). Arrow in the figure shows approximately the time in which one of those truckloads is processed in the Primary Gyratory crusher. (For interpretation of the references to colour in this figure legend, the reader is referred to the Web version of this article.)