In order to overcome production issues, Steinert Elektromagnetbau GmbH, Cologne Germany, has designed the ingenious XSS ® X-Ray sorting plant. Thanks to this manufacturing plant the quarried valuable Tungsten Concentrate of the Wolfram Camp mine may be separated from the gangue, which provides for up to 85% (!) of the production flow.
The centre of the entire system is the section where by means of X-ray beams and highly sensitive cameras the desired material within the ore is detected.
During the development of the plant Steinert GmbH called in the help of Fiktech B.V. to find a feasible solution to protect the X-Ray section against extreme Australian production conditions; large temperature differences and negative influences of dust and moisture. Fiktech engineered for this purpose a dedicated system based on the use of AFECO Vortex Coolers in order to keep the housing of the X-Ray section at a slight overpressure, along with cooling the electronics and preventing condensation. The Wolfram Camp Mine now produces in an operationally reliable manner ore concentrates of very high quality without the use of water and with minimal production of waste.
In Australia, the term "outback" is used to designate the areas which are located far away from the inhabited world. Wolfram Camp is a mine in Queensland where Tungsten and Molybdenum ores are extracted. The company is a wholly owned subsidiary of Deutsche Rohstoff AG. Wolfram Camp has a long history of mining dating back to the 19th century and is today one of the few operational mines outside of China.
Tungsten is one of the metals, as well as rare earth metals, that are classified by the EU Commission as being one of the strategic commodities. Approximately 80% of the global production originates from China that has introduced export quotas in 1999. Tungsten has numerous operating purposes, from the tip of a ballpoint pen and use in light bulbs up to many high-tech applications in modern electrical products and medical technology segments. Most tungsten ores contain less than 1.5% WO3. Ore concentrates however are traded internationally with of required concentrations up to 65-75% WO3! Therefore, a large quantity of gangue needs to be separated from the excavated ore. Until a few years ago, this used to be a very time-consuming and costly activity.