Special Report: Magnetite Mines is doubling down on its belief that ore sorting will improve the economics of its 4 billion tonne Razorback iron ore mine in South Australia.

It has now signed an agreement with NextOre for the supply of a mobile bulk ore sorting plant using the CSIRO-developed magnetic resonance (MR) technology that promises to make it simpler to sort low-grade material from the high-grade stuff.

Magnetite Mines (ASX:MGT) will pay NextOre a non-refundable deposit of $100,000 and further staged payments of $700,000 for the supply of the plant at Razorback for sorting magnetite ore during the trial period for mine feasibility analysis.

The equipment is expected to be dispatched from the CSIRO Lucas Heights facility in 2021.

The company previously signed an agreement with NextOre that gives it the exclusive right to use the technology in Australia.

Chairman Peter Schubert says that ore sorting technology has the potential to significantly enhance the competitiveness and value of the Razorback project.

“We have been working with NextOre using advanced orebody modelling, giving us insight into the potential application of this technology,” he said.

“We are pleased to have exclusive access to this technology for application to magnetite in Australia.

“The bulk trial is the appropriate next step in a carefully planned and staged commercialisation pathway to build up our knowledge base and demonstrate its application at our Razorback high-grade iron ore project.”


Higher grades the end game

NextOre’s MR sorting technology seeks to improve mining grades by pre-concentrating ore before it is subject to processing.

It does this by rejecting significant tonnages of low-grade material to tailings via a diversion method such as a chute flop gate or dead box diverter.

Magnetite mines ore sorting analyser
NextOre’s Magnetic Resonance Analyser (MR) apparatus Pic: Supplied

This is expected to produce a reduced volume of upgrade ore that performs better in the processing plant while reducing processing costs as low value material is rejected early on.

Unlike X-ray or infra-red based methods, NextOre’s on-belt MR ore sorting solution is expected to allow for the measurement of high throughput ore at industry-leading accuracies and speeds.

The system is said to be capable of performing the analysis, computation and physical diversion of waste ores down to 1 second intervals allowing for fast diversion or high-resolution sorting.

Previous lab tests have delivered grades of nearly 70 per cent iron ore, a level that even heavyweights BHP (ASX:BHP) and Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) are incapable of achieving.

This article was developed in collaboration with Magnetite Mines, a Stockhead advertiser at the time of publishing.

This article does not constitute financial product advice. You should consider obtaining independent advice before making any financial decisions.