New ore sorter installed at Blesberg ahead of schedule

13th December 2023 By: Darren Parker - Creamer Media Contributing Editor Online

Mining and development company Marula Mining has confirmed the full installation of the Rados SRF100-8 X-ray fluorescence (XRF) ore sorter, associated conveyors and support equipment at the Blesberg lithium and tantalum mine ahead of schedule and within 72 hours of its early arrival, which was announced a week ago. 

Marula said on December 12 that the plant was expected to receive its first startup material later this week as part of the commissioning and optimisation of the sorting process. 

The Rados SRF100-8 XRF ore sorter is one of the key parts of the company’s plan to expand its ore processing capacity at Blesberg to increase production to up to 5 000 t a month of a high-grade lithium spodumene saleable product in the first quarter of next year. 

Initial commissioning of the Rados SRF100-8 XRF ore sorter is scheduled to start this week, ahead of schedule, and with trial processing of prescreened stockpiled 55 mm to 80 mm material. 

The testing and commissioning process will be managed by representatives from Malta company Rados International Technologies and overseen by the company’s on-site management team and consultants, including recently appointed South African metallurgical and mineral processing group Erudite Strategies. 

As part of the testing and commissioning process, a minimum 50 t of material will be sorted. The initial testing and commissioning of the Rados SRF100-8 XRF ore sorter will be focused on optimisation of the process flowsheet and sorting of the spodumene. 

A high-recovery and high-grade sorting algorithm will be run over two separate days of testing as part of the optimisation process and prior to the mine closing over the Christmas period. 

Operation of the Rados SRF100-8 XRF ore sorter will restart in the New Year on a standalone basis and target production of a saleable high-grade spodumene product ahead of the installation of the additional processing equipment, which includes an additional crushing and screening circuit, and the second XRF ore sorter, the Tomra COM XRT 1200 ore sorter, which remains on track to arrive at Blesberg early in the first quarter of 2024. Commissioning will follow shortly thereafter. 

“This . . . marks a major step forward for us at Blesberg and our aims to deliver significant volumes of a saleable high-grade lithium spodumene product in quarter one of 2024 . . . We have embraced . . . cutting-edge and artificial intelligence algorithm-based solutions at Blesberg and are working with experienced contractors and consultants to achieve that,” Marula CEO Jason Brewer said.