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Moving Towards Sustainable Mining With ROCS Real-Time Ore Composition Monitoring

Project description

Real-time ore composition analysis for more sustainable mining cost-effectively

In mining, up to 10 % of the material excavated and transported is waste material. Currently, there are no state-of-the-art methods used to analyse ore composition in real time at the conveyor belt, only in the lab. The EU-funded ROCS project aims to make mining financially and environmentally sustainable by enabling ore composition analysis at the start of the production phase. A special sensor added to the conveyor belt will detect a variety of minerals, metals and other raw materials. The technology will optimise production and help mines save more than 30 % of the energy needed to transport, crush and grind mined rocks.


In mining, 5-10% of the material excavated and transported is waste material or so-called gangue. This % might seem low but mining dilution is one of the most important factors affecting the economy of mining projects. There are four main state-of-the-art approaches to analyzing ore composition but all of them take place at the lab and none in real time at the conveyor belt.
ROCS will help make mining financially and environmentally sustainable by allowing mining companies to understand the ore composition right at the start of the production phase. A LIBS sensor is added to the conveyor belt in order to optimize production through modern mining and processing techniques. This technology can be used to detect all kinds of minerals and metals including critical raw materials, featuring better signal-to-noise-ratios than leading competitors.
The raw materials sector is crucial to Europe’s economy. With the increasing population, securing reliable and unhindered access to certain raw materials is a growing concern within the EU. However, the EU is strongly dependent on imports as mining is becoming increasingly unsustainable. The global mining industry produces around €3 trillion of minerals (excluding diamonds). The ROCS system will be a product for innovative and sustainable mines.
Assuming that ROCS can improve the ore pre-concentration process in order to detect the dilution and decrease the gangue percentage by 4 points (from 14-17% to 10-12%), the mine can save over 30% of the energy required for transportation, crushing and grinding these rocks. This translates into 25,000 to 30,000 MWh annually, i.e. €2.5-3M of costs and 22,500-27,000M tons of CO2, not including other savings (water, chemicals, man-hours).
SPECTRAL is a high-tech start-up from Delft. We have a fruitful relation to TNO that has a strong pedigree in designing and building spectroscopic instruments for applications including medical diagnostics, semiconductors and space.

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Net EU contribution
€ 50 000,00
2627 AN Delft

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The organization defined itself as SME (small and medium-sized enterprise) at the time the Grant Agreement was signed.

West-Nederland Zuid-Holland Delft en Westland
Activity type
Private for-profit entities (excluding Higher or Secondary Education Establishments)
Total cost
€ 71 429,00