Real-time ore analysis set for African market

An image of a large red tracked front loader at the mine face with bucket full of ore ready to be graded by a ShovelSense system

Caption: GRADE EXPECTATIONS The new ShovelSense ore grading technology is expected to reach African shores before the end of the year

27th August 2021

By: Halima Frost

Senior Writer


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Digital mining solutions provider MineSense is establishing offices in Africa and Europe to introduce its real-time ore analysis technologies to the African Copperbelt by the fourth quarter.

“Once we have successfully introduced the technology to the upper Africa region, we intend on filtering our services down to South Africa and its mines,” enthused MineSense Europe, Middle East and Africa regional manager Brett O’Leary.

He discussed the company’s plans for the future, as well as the MineSense ShovelSense real-time ore analysis technologies, during the Siemens Smart Mining Forum 2021 Expo, which was held virtually earlier this month.

The ShovelSense technology allows for real-time grading of ore as it is moved from the face to the mine’s processing facility, optimising ore and waste routing and maximising vehicle and processing efficiency.

The technology entails the installation of three laser X-ray emitters, or detection systems, on the mine’s cable shovels, front-end loaders, excavators, scoops and/or load, haul and dump loaders.

These emitters can detect photons in the material by sending waves through the material every 100 milliseconds.

The information is relayed in real time to an on-board grade processing unit, after which the collected data is converted into a range of either high, medium or low grade.

This unit shares the ore-grade information with the operator through an on-board monitor, as well as with mine operators or managers at the mine’s offices.

“The wireless technology requires only a decent input network, and a power supply that is generally achieved through the power source on the bucket,” he added.

O’Leary also explained that the technology was relatively agnostic and could be installed on most original-equipment manufacturers machinery.

Work in Progress

Although the technology is predominantly suited to base metals, such as copper, zinc and manganese, with a smaller scope of accuracy for metals, such a rubidium, strontium and zirconium, the research into better analysis is ongoing.

O’Leary added that the ShovelSense technology could also be used for the long-term analysis of a site.

“The ShovelSense technology has the capacity to divert high-grade and waste trucks when the grades being tested deviate from the mine plan, filtering out deleterious materials.”

He said that, over time, the data aggregation would be able to identify trends in the data associated with the ore properties, which could be used to improve mill performance.

Further, data visualisation and modelling with the bucket position paired with the ShovelSense grades will optimise short- and long-term mine planning.

“Subsequently, the life-of-mine can be expanded and new orebodies can be targeted.”

O’Leary said MineSense – a partner of Siemens – successfully introduced these technologies to mines in various environments in North and South America.

Edited by Nadine James
Features Deputy Editor



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