Alluvial diamond mining is proving increasingly profitable in the mining sector, especially with groundbreaking innovations that are making previously un-minable areas minable.
Imilingo Mineral Processing, leaders in sensor-based sorting integration and dredging solutions have been instrumental in changing the alluvial mining game and unlocking mineral wealth.
Imilingo is headed up by mechanical engineer, Jaco Prinsloo, who has extensive knowledge in diamond processing through his work as lead engineer for DRA on several large diamond mining projects.
Through their fit-for-purpose consulting, Imilingo identified a need in the market for a safe dredging solution and together with his team conceptualised, designed and fabricated the iDredgeTM
The vessel consists of a floating platform sitting on top of two pontoons. An important feature of the iDredgeTM is that it is collapsible for transport. A Dragflow 60Kw submersible pump with high-depth compensators provides suction and allows particles up to 60mm in size to be pumped through the 150 NB pipe. An onboard rotatable crane submerges the pump and is there to make the pump accessible for maintenance purposes.
A 150KVA diesel generator supplies power for the iDredgeTM and the mined material is fed into a double-deck vibrating screen. Both generator and screen remain on the riverbank.
“The benefit of this machine is that it removes divers from the equation, making it safer and also a viable option to diversify the staff that operates it,” says Prinsloo.
The processing of the mined material is done using TOMRA X-Ray Transmission Technology (XRT), which enables materials to be recognised and separated based on their specific atomic density.
“TOMRA Sorting diamond recovery solutions replace the conventional concentration and recovery stages such as Dense Media Separation (DMS) and X-Ray Luminescence (XRL) sorting in a diamond recovery process. Advanced XRT technology reliably detects all diamonds including coated, low-luminescent and Type II diamonds.
“Being integrated at the earliest stage, TOMRA Sorting´s advanced XRT equipment considerably simplifies the flow sheet thereby reducing the risk of diamond damage.”
The use of XRT technology ensures a compact footprint, Lower operating costs, High diamond recovery rates and Extremely low concentrate yields.
The integration of automated sorting allows the overall complexity of recovery plants to be reduced, resulting in lower capital and operating costs. There is no need to further process a sorter’s concentrate before final hand sorting. The technology makes it possible to obtain a high-purity level in sorting materials irrespective of size, moisture or surface pollution level.
Through consulting with the owners of Monthe Real LDA in Angola, Imilingo has taken this XRT technology to new heights by incorporating it onboard their iDredgeTM. Their latest innovation, the iDredgeXRTTM sees XRT sorting onboard the dredge which enables the solution to be much simpler and more cost effective and therefore within reach of smaller miners.
The iDredgeXRTTM consisting of a dredge housing, two Tomra XRT sorting machines, a submersible pump with excavators, a clamshell, a sizing screen and a diesel-electric generator to power the system. The dredge also includes three-dimensional sonar for viewing the pumping operations and global positioning system to track the locations where mining has been done.
“The fact that only one processing step is required when utilising the XRT technology makes this solution a huge win in saving time during mineral processing. In other words – the material is mined and then processed through the XRT Machine (one processing step) to achieve a hand sortable product (material quantity is small enough that no other mechanised step is required), “ comments Prinsloo.
“We believe we are able to capture the opportunities within the mining industry to innovate and execute cutting edge technology. We are excited about the prospects of this latest innovation in drastically changing the way alluvial mining is executed. Any opportunity to actively contribute to the sustainable transformation of the mining industry is a massive driving force for us,” concludes Prinsloo.