BHP is working with an Australian research consortium to examine deployment of cutting-edge preconcentration techniques.
Olympic Dam in South Australia is one of the locations where BHP is actively examining bulk ore sensing and sorting opportunities – techniques within the Grade Engineering suite of technologies.
Grade Engineering is a key innovation of the Cooperative Research Centre for Optimising Resource Extraction (CRC ORE).
BHP received a high-level bulk ore sorting deployment strategy from CRC ORE for Olympic Dam, along with a framework and calculator for the quantification and ranking of bulk ore sorting strategies at the operation.
CRC ORE also identified the critical work and data required to strengthen the evaluation of bulk ore sorting with the Olympic Dam Project team.
CRC ORE chief operating officer Dr Luke Keeney said there were several deployment options among the opportunities assessed.
“We explored sublevel open stoping under the current mining environment, along with block caving as part of future-state mining options,” Dr Keeney said.
As part of the assessment, BHP received a high-level estimate of value from these deployment options.
Dr Keeney said the engagement of CRC ORE at Olympic Dam demonstrated the commitment of big miners to apply innovation to their processes.
“With the need for valuable minerals continuing to grow and mining these minerals becoming ever more difficult, mine operators need to think differently,” Dr Keeney said.
“Bulk ore sorting, and other Grade Engineering opportunities become increasingly competitive and complementary solutions where mined grades decline and mining dilution increases.”
More information on Grade Engineering can be found at crcore.org.au/gradeengineering.