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Mining Indaba: TOMRA initiates new era in sensor-based sorting

TOMRA launched its new solution at Mining Indaba in Cape Town. (Image source: TOMRA)

TOMRA Mining, a designer and manufacturer of sorting technologies for the global mineral processing and mining industries, has unveiled TOMRA Deep Learning solution at Mining Indaba, running in Cape Town from 5-8 February

The latest innovation, OBTAIN, is targeted at high-capacity ore sorting and leverages deep learning to bring single-particle precision to high-throughput particle sorting. It has been delivered by the company to take capacity, quality and recovery to a new level and unlock value through a wealth of extremely detailed and accurate data for enhanced decision-making. 

AI, with its ability to mimic human thought and decision-making to perform tasks, has played a role in TOMRA's sensor-based sorting solutions for decades, automating the process and improving the accurate of the company's sorters. First introduced when its predecessor CommoDaS developed sensor-based sorters using AI in their image processing systems to identify particle properties, TOMRA has been using Machine Learning in its X-Ray Transmission (XRT) and Near-Infrared (NIR) sorters for the last ten years. Machine Learning recognises patterns, learns from data and improves without being programmed and is an important aspect of AI alongside Deep Learning which is a type of Machine Learning that uses artificial neural networks to analyse data and solve complex problems. 

Together, they can improve the sorting process for mining operations that are already using sensor-based sorting but also open new opportunities by enabling the processing of very low-grade materials that previously would have been discarded. Another advantage of AI is the amount of data it generates and processes, providing mining operations with valuable insights into the sorter's performance and for predictive maintenance. 

A game-changer for sorting

With its long-standing expertise and extensive R&D in the field of AI, TOMRA has now set its sights on breaking new ground in its field through the release of OBTAIN. This software leverages Deep Learning to introduce an industry-first: single-particle precision in high-throughput ore sorting. This uses a Neuronal Network to identify the properties of each particle accurately and independently of the sorter's capacity to achieved enhanced precision and reliability in detection and ejection. Mining operations also are given the flexibility to either enhance the throughput of the sorter while maintaining consistent sorting efficiency or improve sorting precision without compromising the existing throughput, depending on their requirements. 

With OBTAIN, fully operational mines are able to enhance recovery rates and elevate product quality within the existing throughput. Meanwhile, in mines with additional capacity, the solution facilitates increased throughput without compromising product quality. As a result, this innovative technology has the capability to unlock untapped value from low-grade ore, waste dumps or materials previously deemed uneconomical for processing. 

TOMRA has stated that OBTAIN will also add value to a mining operation through detailed and accurate data such as precise online particle-size distribution of the feed. When used in combination with TOMRA Insight, this can provide the customer with detailed reporting on the performance of the sorter and its components, helping to optimise the process as well as enabling them to plan for predictive maintenance. 

Developed for TOMRA XRT sorters, OBTAIN will be available on new models but an upgrade package is ready for existing machines. Certainly, the decision to launch the solution on African soil is a firm indication of the importance of the market for the company. 

“Mining Indaba, one of the most important events in the mining industry, is the perfect platform for us to unveil our revolutionary OBTAIN," remarked Albert du Preez, head of TOMRA Mining. "This is an exciting innovation that marks the beginning of a new era in sensor-based sorting and will enable mining operations to unlock untapped value and extend the life of their mine.”

Discover more at the company's website at:

TOMRA Second Image Mining Indaba


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