After conducting laboratory ore sorting testwork on samples of a low grade nickel ore stockpile at Western Areas’ Flying Fox nickel mine, a mobile crushing, screening and ore sorting plant was located adjacent to the stockpile. An initial two month trial of the ore sorter program proved successful and was extended to process the entire Flying Fox low grade stockpile in a further four month campaign. A total of 167 660 t of low grade ore was processed, providing highly upgraded feed trucked 26 km to the Cosmic Boy concentrator. A more than three-fold grade increase was achieved on ore sorter accepts. The moderately upgraded fines that by-passed the mobile ore sorter were also subsequently blended into plant feed.
This paper describes the mineralogy of the Flying Fox low grade ore, the mobile ore sorting campaign and provides some commentary on the economic and environmental benefits achieved in the ore sorting campaign. The ore sorting campaign demonstrated the benefits of being able to utilise mobile ore sorting equipment temporarily located adjacent to sub-economic low grade stockpiles in order to effectively treat these stockpiles and produce viable plant feed.
Parry, A and Fitzmaurice, C, 2018. The upgrading of low-grade nickel ore stockpiles at Western Areas Ltd Forrestania operations, using a mobile ore sorting plant, in Proceedings 14th AusIMM Mill Operators' Conference 2018, pp 541–550 (The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy: Melbourne).