In 2016, a TOMRA XRT sorter was installed as a stand-alone plant on site. “It was a trial that management at the time got very excited about: they could see that this could be the future moving forward,” says Josh Dawson. “It was a success story: we could now process very high calcium content material that we couldn’t do as effectively with the DMS or laser sorting equipment. This gave the ability to produce much lower calcium content magnesite grades suitable for our customers,” adds Alex Padya, Process Engineer.
In view of these results, in 2018 the XRT machine was moved into the sorting plant, where it replaced the remaining Ultrasort that had reached the end of its life, and the DMS drum was decommissioned: “With this decision, we halved our heavy media usage in that part of the circuit and went to a standalone XRT circuit,” says Josh Dawson. As a result, the XRT circuit has delivered significant savings in energy and water usage, and increased the plant’s efficiency.
The TOMRA XRT sorter has exceeded expectations, as Josh Dawson explains: “When we originally made the business case, we thought that it would be used to upgrade the lower quality magnesite ores to produce grades suitable for agricultural purposes, while the heavy media cyclones would make our lower silica materials for other applications. However, by collaborating with TOMRA to optimize the performance of the XRT unit, we can now turn agricultural products into much higher grades required by the Parkhurst processing plant.”
TOMRA’s XRT sorter has also extended the life of QMAG’s deposit: “We were at the point where we thought that a lot of our ore body wasn’t going to achieve the grade for some of our lower end products. The TOMRA XRT machine proved that we could now mine those deposits and turn them into useful product for the higher end applications”