CRC ORE said the operation has been examining bulk ore sensing and sorting opportunities, and BHP engaged the company to assist. The technologies being examined already exist within CRC ORE's Grade Engineering suite, which matches technologies to an ore's characteristics.
"[It] compares the net value of rejecting low value components in current feed streams to existing mine plans as part of a system-view," it said of its innovation.
BHP has received a high-level bulk ore sorting deployment strategy from CRC ORE for Olympic Dam, along with a framework and calculator for quantification and to rank bulk ore sorting strategies.
"CRC ORE also identified the critical work and data required to strengthen the evaluation of bulk ore sorting with the Olympic Dam Project team," it said.
According to CRC ORE chief operating officer Luke Keeney, there were several options from which to choose and to assess.
"We explored sublevel open stoping under the current mining environment, along with block caving as part of future-state mining options," he said. "As part of the assessment, BHP received a high-level estimate of value from these deployment options."
He also noted that CRC ORE's work at Olympic Dam is an example of the commitment of big miners to apply innovation to their processes.
The Olympic Dam copper-gold-silver-uranium complex is located 560 km north of Adelaide and has both underground and surface operations.