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Research on X-Ray Sorting Technology to be Presented at SME 2022

Woods Cross, Utah, USA - 6 December, 2021 A research paper on applying an X-ray sorting technology to copper sulfide ore processing will be presented at the SME Annual Conference & Expo 2022, which will be held in Salt Lake City, Utah from February 27 through March 2, 2022.

The paper, titled “X‑ray Computed Tomography Evaluation of Crushed Copper Sulfide Ore for Pre‑concentration by Ore Sorting”, discusses the major findings from a research project conducted by Dr. Jan Miller and Dr. Jiaqi Jin at the University of Utah, which was sponsored by Tianjin Meiteng Technology, a DADI affiliate and developer of the TDS X-ray sensor based dry sorter. This study has been published in “Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration”, a peer reviewed flagship journal of the Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration (SME) Inc. The publication is also available online at (account required to access the full article). The following is the abstract of the paper:

A large portion of the energy consumed in copper concentrators is used to reduce the particle size of the feed by crushing and grinding. The cost of metal production could be reduced if low-grade particles of cm size were removed prior to further processing. Two copper sulfide ore samples (3 × 1 cm) from Arizona were analyzed by micro X-ray computed tomography (Micro-XCT) to determine the grade of copper sulfide in each particle. For copper ore sample A, a significant number of particles contained very low amounts of copper, while some particles had copper sulfide grains of mm size. Based on Micro-XCT, it was expected that 85% of the copper for sample A could be recovered at 65% of mass rejection during pre-concentration by sorting. However, in sample B (a different copper ore), distribution of copper sulfide was dispersed primarily in each ore particle, so for the particle size class of 3 × 1 cm, liberation of copper sulfide and gangue minerals was not significant. In view of the XCT results, dual energy (DE) X-ray radiography was used as a basis for sorting. Previous DE X-ray radiography of a drill core sample demonstrated that this rapid detection method can be used to identify rich or poor Cu-bearing coarse particles. Pilot scale X-ray sorting of sample A (10 × 1 cm) showed 31% rejection of a 0.08% Cu gangue product with a corresponding recovery of 90% copper.

The figure below shows Cu-bearing particles of different grades identified by the TDS sorter.

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