Galaxy Resources has put its ore sorters into operation at the Mt Cattlin spodumene project in Western Australia.
The site resumed activity in February following a planned summer outage over the Christmas period.
Galaxy stated in a recent media release it would be prioritising “value over volume” to improve resource life and control over unit costs.
The ore sorters will be used to detect and reject basalt content before it is presented at the plant.
With ore sorters in operation at the process plant’s front end, Galaxy now aims to upgrade and process Mt Cattlin’s stockpiles of low-grade ore.
Galaxy ran a pilot program last year for the ore sorters, which showed that 70 per cent of basalt in stockpiled ore could be rejected, with only 10–24 per cent of the ore containing basalt.
The ore is considered low-grade due to its basalt content, but its underlying head grade is similar to the material that was mined and processed last year.
It is estimated that stockpiled ore will contribute to 40 per cent of Galaxy’s 2020 throughput, reducing mining volumes.
Galaxy delivered 33,000 dry metric tonnes of lithium concentrate in March amid disruptions to China’s processing facilities.
Mt Cattlin’s ore sorters detect basalt rocks through cameras and reject them using high pressure air jets.
The ore and mined material are crushed and ordered into three size fractions, allowing only coarse material to be sent to the ore sorter.
Reducing fine material is expected to help improve performance of the sorter’s dense medium separation circuit that will improve recoveries.