There’s plenty of value to be had in low grade mineral processing, that was the message to MineX from industry consultant Jonathan Loraine.
Mr Loraine, Executive Director, Core Group told a pre MineX breakfast forum (organised by the Department of State Development) they were identifying future low grade minerals projects in the North West including waste materials (tailings) and abandoned mines.
Mr Loraine said there were substantial resources still untapped in the region with low metal per tonne of material and reprocessing could reduce environmental footprint and clean-up liability but the question was how to enable these projects.
He talked about different processes such as the tailings retreatment by on-site leach extraction of metals, roasting of high cobalt pyrite tailings and site-based ore sorting.
He said grade engineering extracted metal efficiently by separating ore.
“There’s no longer the economies of scale to grind everything down to 20 microns,” he said.