[Job Story] South African Diamond Producer Relies on TOMRA’s XRT Sorting Technology for Recovery Ops

Diamond producer Lucapa Diamonds owns 70% of Mothae Diamonds, an open-pit mine located in the diamond-rich Maluti Mountains of Lesotho, South Africa, which started commercial operation in 2019 following the commissioning of its kimberlite processing plant. The company relies on TOMRA’s XRT sorting technology and digital solutions – the TOMRA Insight platform and TOMRA ACT user interface – to recover large unbroken diamonds from the mine.

The mine is known to produce large, high-quality diamonds, and has had significant gem-quality recoveries including a 215 carat D-colour Type IIa, a 204 carat Type IIa, and rare pink, blue and yellow fancy-colored diamonds. When planning the recovery plant, Mothae turned to TOMRA Mining for a solution.

The recovery plant operates two TOMRA COM Tertiary XRT 1200 sorters: one for fines from 10mm to 20mm, and the other for coarse materials from 20mm to 45mm. The ore extracted from the mine is treated through primary crushing, scrubbing and screening, then transferred to the recovery area.

“That’s where the TOMRA sorters separate diamonds from the ore. TOMRA sorters are the best of the best. With them, we are able to recover large diamonds prior to secondary and tertiary crushing, hugely reducing the risk of breakages, and our throughput is high, with 98% efficiency guaranteed.”

said Kothalo Matoli, Recovery Mechanician.

TOMRA Insight with TOMRA ACT

The two TOMRA XRT sorters at Mothae are connected to the TOMRA Insight cloud-based data platform that turns the machines into connected devices that generate valuable data and puts operators in control of the sorting process. They also feature the TOMRA ACT user interface, which facilitates the optimization of the workflow and improves productivity.

“We wanted a portal that is user-friendly so our operators can easily interact with the sorters. TOMRA ACT now provides clear visualization of events and alarms, and captures the images of the belt occupancy. It also shows the ejection activity.”

said Macobone Semelane, Recovery Superintendent.

“TOMRA Insight has changed the way we are running our production because we can monitor our sorters remotely and we can access reports from both machines in one interface. All the alarms and events are logged on the sorter in real time, enabling me to troubleshoot very fast. My troubleshooting skill has improved a lot.”

said Kothalo Matoli.

TOMRA Insight also stores and backs up all the data generated by the sorters so that the operator can analyze the complete history of each machine. TOMRA Insight captures and compiles all the data in one interface, generating reports and data analyses, improving data management and analytics for better decision-making.