Quality Control and Risk Management

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Australian headquartered online technology company Real Time Instruments (RTI) believes that strong demand for their AllScan Online PGNAA Analyser reflects a renewed focus on quality and processing efficiency by the mining and mineral processing sector. The AllScan is a new-generation online elemental analyser that uses PGNAA (prompt gamma neutron activation analysis) technology to accurately measure the chemical composition of most bulk materials. The analyser combines practical operational features with sophisticated hardware and software resulting in an analyser that is easy to install, calibrate, and maintain, and above all, is extremely accurate.

CEO James Asbury said that “over the last few years demand for the AllScan has escalated, particularly in the coal, iron ore, bauxite, cement and copper industries. We’ve sold, installed and commissioned analysers in many countries including Australia, Mozambique, Guinea, USA, DRC, India, Brazil, Kenya, China, and Chile.”

According to the World Economic Forum (2017), more and more industries are searching for ways to use resources more responsibly through careful control and monitoring of ore grade quality. Some initiatives focussing on optimising resource utilisation and social responsibility as a key drivers and others due to stricter ore quality requirements. Reason being, poor ore quality has a negative impact on emissions when it is converted for example iron ore into steel or coal into electricity, etc.

More than 20 analysers have been purchased by the iron ore industry for a variety of quality control and processing efficiency purposes. For example, analysers have been installed on the ROM belt to monitor the iron content and overall quality of the ore direct from the mine.  Others have been installed after the de-sanding circuit primarily to monitor the performance of the de-sanding modules in filtering and removing gangue material.  The majority, however, have been installed on belts feeding stockpiles to facilitate sorting and blending and to provide an accurate determination of iron content in the final product.

The cement industry has also purchased many analysers recently.  There are two main applications for PGNAA technology in cement production.   The AllScan is used in stockpile management to improve pre-blending performance through better utilisation of quarry materials.  The AllScan is typically installed on the conveyor between the crusher and the stockpile. The AllScan continuously reports the elemental composition of the material on the conveyor belt. This information is used to keep track of the pile build-up and may optionally be used to direct haul trucks to different sections of the quarry in order to best exploit the quarry.   The online data from the AllScan is used to build homogenous stockpiles with a lower variation in chemistry.   Another application for the AllScan in cement is to optimize the feed to the Raw Mill.  The analyser is used in conjunction with raw mill quality control software and placed on the conveyor downstream of the feeders and upstream of the raw mill.  Data from the AllScan is used to reduce the variability in the raw mix product, and ultimately the kiln feed.

Over 40 AllScan analysers have recently been utilised in the coal and power industries in various countries.  RTI has installed the AllScan at various locations along the coal value-chain from at the mine, at the preparation plant, transhipment points, and at the end-user including coal fired power stations.  Collectively, the analysers are used for various purposes including monitoring ROM coal so as to direct extraction operations, monitoring the quality of feed coal to the wash plant to allow operators to better control of washability parameters, and measuring the quality of product coal from the wash plant.

In all industries, product quality is ensured by operators responding to minute-by-minute results and mine life increased by the use of more near-spec material. The risk of out of spec shipments is reduced. The AllScan analysers are maintained by a network of local agents, who are supported remotely by RTI’s engineers. A range of customed service and maintenance agreements ensure that each analyser’s performance is optimised at all times and any downtime is minimised. Please contact RTI’s African Sales Manager, Mr Michael Edwards, michaele@rtiaustralia.com., for more details.

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