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News Article

Data to Optimize Mining Operations

By Paloma Duran | Thu, 02/11/2021 - 16:19

In an effort to help companies optimize mining operations, Alexis Perrusquía, Regional Marketing Supervisor for LATAM at Thermo Fisher Scientific, presented the panel, "Advanced Control of Mining Operations: From Data to Knowledge," during Mexico Mining Forum 2021 on Thursday, Feb. 11, which focused on the company’s products and services and the many technologies involved in providing reliable and accurate data.

Thermo Fisher Scientific assists  customers by improving recovery, reducing costs and achieving  environmental compliance. “Thermo Scientific™ Mineral Sampling Systems provides essential, and accurate information for the metallurgical processing control system, which optimizes processes, generates considerable savings and improves profitability,” reported the company.

“Thermo Fisher Scientific has a portfolio full of tools, allowing for the immediate analysis of geological samples,” said Juan Carlos Cruz, FSI Product Specialist at Thermo Fisher Scientific. Cruz explained that the company is the perfect ally for the mining sector, considering that it has vast experience providing accurate analytical instruments, which allow mining companies to increase their profitability.

Rodrigo Rosales, PA Product Specialist at Thermo Fisher Scientific said the company has 35 years of experience with Bulk Ore Sorting-Clasification and that “it has more than 1,200 cross belt elemental analyzers installed, which bring great benefits regarding mineral analysis, which leads to higher mining rates.” Thermo Scientific weightbelt feeders and belt conveyor scales help ensure the accurate feeding of process materials to maintain product quality. In addition, they also improve profitability, increase metal recovery, eliminate processing costs, reduce water and energy consumption and enable marginal deposit exploitation.  

Marcial Hernández, Thermo Fisher Scientific Field Service Supervisor, explained that the dynamic weighing system can simplify various processes in mining, since it has a wide variety of uses, such as inventory control, material mixing and transfer. Hernández explained that the precision of the instrument depends on the process it will perform. For instance, for monitoring, it requires an accuracy of 3 to 4 percent. For more information on the instrument, click here.

Yazmin Sánchez, Manager of the Environmental Monitoring Channel at Thermo Fisher Scientific, explained that COVID-19 has driven the company's vision toward safety and environmental protection. "Currently we have environmental services and products to monitor gaseous pollutants and atmospheric emissions, which allow greater optimized efficiency, process controls and regulatory compliance." Sánchez explained that the main risk in terms of particles and gases is respiratory problems. Thermo Fisher offers analytical instruments, such as environmental particle monitors, personal monitors, gas analyzers and continuous emission monitoring systems, to ensure better gas control.

Ivan Sanhueza, PA Minerals Manager at Thermo Fisher Scientific, said "elemental analyzers provide mining companies with real-time sampling and analysis to help them address process variations and improve their operations." Thermo Fisher Scientific’s sampling and analysis systems can determine the elemental composition of all raw materials transported by the conveyor and eliminate many errors and costs associated with the sampling process. For base metals, the company offers AnStat 330 sampling for metallurgical analysis. There is also an organized multiple flow sampling (msa mk 330) for when a business requires many studies. Sanhueza reported there are some instances when the metal is difficult to sample. However, the company offers GS-Omni pulp that activates the nucleus of atoms. To their natural state metals must emit energy and since elements have a unique energy signal, they can be measured.

For the elaboration of an online analysis, the company offers CB Omni, which uses the same technology as gamma analysis. “However, there is a portal around the conveyor that helps with a full analysis of what is going on,” Sanhueza said. Currently, the  company is trying to introduce this type of instrument in the mining sector, since it is essential to have an optimal separation of minerals and residues, he said.  

Leonardo Salazar, Applications Specialist at Thermo Fisher Scientific, explained the benefits that mining companies can obtain by implementing mineralogical analysis, which can maximize plant efficiency and reduce energy consumption. He added that these samples allow efficient planning for exploration to know which minerals are in the area, their size and geological context. "Thermo Fisher Scientific has laboratory imaging and analysis equipment that uses Micro-CT, SEM, DualBeam and TEM to ensure versatility in different contexts," said Salazar. He added that many problems can be solved by using automated minerology. Salazar explained that minerals can be identified with X-ray that works as a fingerprint to get a correct sample of all the minerals. “We help mineral processing engineers to obtain high-quality data to track processing plant issues more efficiently in less time.”

Eduardo Alcántara, Channel Manager BEA at Thermo Fisher Scientific, explained that the main analysis techniques in the mining industry are: Optical Emission Spectrometry (OES) and X-Ray Fluorescence. However, the company recommends the use of OES as it provides a quick and easy analysis of metal samples, helping to determine the rate of more than 30 elements in less than 1 minute with high accuracy. Alcántara said the company's OES portfolio includes ARL easy Spark, ARL iSpark 8820, ARL iSpark 8860, ARL iSpark 8860 with advanced analysis and ARL iSpark 8860 with an automation system for sample handling. Alcántara said that all the equipment is highly reliable and the only thing that changes is the number of samples it can analyze.

Paloma Duran Paloma Duran Junior Journalist and Industry Analyst