Authors: Nadolski, S; Klein, B; Hart, CJR; Moss, A; Elmo, D

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Nadolski, S, Klein, B, Hart, CJR, Moss, A & Elmo, D 2018, 'An approach to evaluating block and panel cave projects for sensor-based sorting applications', in Y Potvin & J Jakubec (eds), Caving 2018: Proceedings of the Fourth International Symposium on Block and Sublevel Caving, Australian Centre for Geomechanics, Perth, pp. 133-140,

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Advances in sensor-based sorting technologies in mineral applications have resulted in increased interest in the implementation of sorting systems at mining operations. Ore sorting holds significant potential to improve the productivity at block and panel caving operations, where the lack of selectivity and potential for dilution entry associated with the cave mining methods results in many operations mining and processing material that is below cutoff grade at certain stages of production. A sensor-based ore-sorting study, incorporating bulk and particle sorting systems, was carried out using material from the New Afton block cave operation. Results from the study were used to develop a method for evaluating future lifts where sensor-based sorting systems are in place. A case study is presented for a conceptual cave where both bulk and particle sorting systems are implemented. The method provides a means to nominate a cave footprint and elevation that maximises project value in the case where sensor-based sorting systems are installed. Through use of production scheduling software, the proposed method can be used to determine the economic footprint, reduction in milling requirements and associated metal recovery for a cave.

Keywords: block caving, sensor-based sorting, PCBC, cave-to-mill, cave evaluation

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