X-ray analysis for greener and more… – Information Centre – Research & Innovation

An EU-funded consortium is building advanced X-ray and 3D imaging systems to empower European miners to extract critical metal and mineral means far more successfully and sustainably.


© Orexplore, 2018

The EU-funded X-MINE project’s answers will empower mining companies to make improved use of deposits of metals these types of as copper and gold, thereby helping to handle Europe’s resource needs with less waste and reduced environmental impression. The systems are now being tested at pilot websites in Sweden and Greece, with even more trials planned in Bulgaria and Cyprus.

‘EU nations account for around 20 % of the worldwide usage of metals and minerals but deliver only around 3 % of complete offer. The X-MINE project’s sensing and 3D modelling systems will assistance handle this offer-and-desire hole by enabling far more effective ore exploration and extraction,’ claims task coordinator Janne Paaso at VTT Complex Study Centre of Finland. ‘This will guide to enhanced extraction of current mineral deposits, aid the discovery of new deposits and make the mining of reduced quantity, reduced quality and complicated deposits economically possible.’

Developing on cutting-edge innovations in X-ray examination and 3D imaging technology that by now have essential purposes in the health care field, the X-MINE crew has produced a device referred to as X-Analyzer to scan and analyse rock samples. The tomographic technology enables a drill main sample to be analysed in less than 30 minutes at the drill web page. This suggests geologists can peer deep inside of the rock to quickly and precisely assess the structural location and the geochemical and mineralogical composition of the ore, doing away with the need to have for samples to be transported off-web page for examination.

The program is being tested at mines extracting a range of metals these types of as zinc, silver, guide, copper and gold. It can also detect metals these types of as indium, gallium, germanium, platinum team metals and scarce-earth components, which are in high desire from contemporary high-tech industries.

Modelling mineral deposits

‘The to start with two drill main scanners have been running at the Lovisagruvan mine in Sweden and at the Hellas Gold mine in Greece for more than a yr,’ Paaso claims. ‘A ton of exciting measurements have been taken and exploration is ongoing about how these final results can be exploited for the broader 3D geomodelling of mineral deposits.’

In the longer phrase, the new examination solutions produced in X-MINE could guide to a revolution in the exploration and characterisation of current and new mineral deposits, enabling whole mining functions to be optimised dependent on enhanced insights into mineral grain dimensions, distribution and other structural, geological, geochemical and mineralogical facts.
This would not only make mining far more effective but would decrease its environmental impression in many means, for instance by minimising waste by the far more exact collection of blasting and excavation websites, which in convert would reduced power use, transport expenditures and CO2 emissions.

An additional pilot program being tested in the task, X-AnalySorters, works by using X-ray and 3D imaging technology to automatically recognize and type ore with high precision. The to start with sorting prototype is being tested at Lovisagruvan, Sweden, with other trials due to be conducted at Hellas Gold mine in Greece, and at the Assarel-Medet JSC Mining and Processing Advanced, an open pit copper mine in Bulgaria.

‘The to start with final results are extremely promising: waste rock can be proficiently divided from ore, ensuing in considerable price savings in transportation expenditures and CO2 emissions. We have also acquired the to start with positive final results from turning outdated piles of waste rock into useful ore,’ the task coordinator claims.

In the end, by combining and deploying the two systems at mining websites, X-MINE is aiming to attain a 20 % reduction in transportation expenditures by far more effective ore and waste separation, a 7 % reduction in waste rock, and a ten to 30 % reduction in power usage and CO2 emissions.

‘In addition to these environmental gains, diminished emissions, power use and waste can also add to improved social acceptance of mining functions,’ Paaso claims.

The X-MINE crew is organising a sequence of industrial workshops through 2020 to emphasize their perform and achievements to date, ahead of designs by some of the task partners to start off internet marketing commercial solutions and solutions for the mining market dependent on these systems.