TOMRA Sorting Mining has secured a contract to supply a sensor-based sorting system consisting of nine sorters for the greenfield plant at Umm Wu’al, Saudia Arabia. The plant is part of the Waad Al Shamal phosphate project, a joint venture of mining company Ma’aden (which owns 60%), The Mosaic Co. (25%) and Saudi petrochemical firm SABIC (15%). TOMRA Sorting Mining’s contract partner is the Chinese engineering, procurement and construction provider, Huanqiu Contracting & Engineering Corp. (HQCEC).

TOMRA Sorting Mining designs and manufactures sensor-based sorting technologies for the global mining industry. The company’s systems provide dry material separation of various ores and minerals, including diamonds and other gemstones, in addition to enabling metal recovery from slag. It is owned by Norwegian company TOMRA Systems ASA.

According to TOMRA, after extensive test work, Ma’aden decided that COM series XRT sorters would be the most beneficial solution for its new $560 million processing plant at Umm Wu’al. The plant is scheduled to be operational at the beginning of 2016 and will be capable of processing 13.5 million tons of raw material per year.

The COM series machines are general-purpose belt sorters covering applications with inhomogeneous feed or critical moisture content. The XRT (X-ray transmission) technology enables materials to be recognized and separated based on their average specific atomic density. This makes it possible to obtain a high purity level in sorted materials irrespectively of size, moisture or contamination.

When installed at Umm Wu’al, the systems will sort more than 70% of the run-of-mine material by removing flint stones from the phosphate in order to reduce silicon content. By this removal of waste material, the downstream process can be significantly downsized. The advantages gained, according to TOMRA, include a smaller plant footprint and reduced consumption of energy, water and chemicals per ton of final product.

TOMRA Sorting Mining’s COM Series XRT sorters have an operational width of 2.4 m, which allows processing of large tonnages with a relatively small number of sorters.

The Umm Wu’al phosphate project is part of the development of a new industrial city in the north of the country. Overall, the project will see $5.6 billion invested in the area.