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Improving ore sorting efficiency and eco-friendliness through X-ray technologies

Written by KrASIA Connection Published on   3 mins read

The current minimum particle size that Honest’s equipment can process is 5 mm, enabling intelligent ore sorting for a large range of particle sizes.

Beijing Honest Technology, hereafter referred to as Honest, is a provider of advanced mineral sorting equipment. It recently secured significant funding in a Series B investment round led by China State-owned Capital VC Fund. These funds will fuel the development of new equipment, expansion of product offerings and operations, and the growth of their market team.

Driven by China’s dual-carbon policy, industries like clean energy and electric vehicles are thriving, resulting in increased demand for minerals like lithium, cobalt, and nickel used in new energy sources. However, coal remains a major contributor to China’s energy supply, accounting for 56% of the nation’s energy production. This sustained utilization of coal, coupled with the increasing demand for new energy minerals, has driven growth in the ore sorting equipment market.

Traditional ore sorting methods involve complex, costly, and environmentally challenging processes. Honest offers an intelligent sorting solution that simplifies processes, reduces costs, and enhances eco-friendliness. This solution employs smart algorithms to replace manual labor, enabling ore sorting facilities to operate around the clock unmanned, easing operational pressures on mining companies.

Manual ore sorting entails processing both ore and waste rock together in ball mills, leading to high wear and energy consumption. Honest’s intelligent ore sorting equipment employs X-ray transmission and visual algorithms to pre-sort ores, maximizing ore extraction and reducing waste rock content that enters the machinery.

Tailings, which are waste materials or byproducts generated during the extraction and processing of minerals or ores in mining operations, are typically composed of finely ground rock particles, water, and various chemicals used in mining and further refinement or extraction processes of ore. By reducing tailings production, Honest’s equipment reduces costs and extends the operational lifespan of tailings facilities.

Honest’s equipment also operates without the need for water, making it more environmentally friendly and further lowering mining expenses, especially in the treatment of coal slurry water, which is a mixture of finely ground coal particles and water.

Guo Jin, chairman of Honest, shared that the mining industry can be divided into five major categories: non-ferrous minerals, coal, non-metallic minerals, radioactive minerals, and coal mines. Honest is the only domestic ore sorting equipment manufacturer that covers all five major categories of minerals.

Different mineral categories have unique characteristics, requiring tailored equipment. For example, coal mining places a greater emphasis on equipment explosion protection. China’s mineral resources are widely distributed across different regions with varying geographical conditions such as climate and terrain. For instance, the Tibet region experiences low temperatures throughout the year. Honest adjusts equipment hardware conditions and algorithm parameters based on factors such as mineral type and region, making it adaptable to various ore sorting scenarios.

Honest’s in-house developed X-ray detectors offer cost-effective advantages. Unlike traditional ore sorting equipment with a typical three-year return on investment, Honest’s products achieve an average payback period of one year. More importantly, the company’s innovations, including its detection hardware platform and intelligent algorithm capabilities, do not rely on high-power X-ray devices, resulting in longer-lasting and safer X-ray sources.

The ore sorting equipment market is highly concentrated, with a few leading manufacturers dominating the market. Honest ranks among the top two manufacturers in non-ferrous minerals and coal mining equipment and holds an overall market share exceeding 30%.

Serving a diverse customer base, including state-owned and private enterprises, Honest has expanded into overseas markets such as Russia, with plans for further global expansion.  Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, Honest has demonstrated robust growth, with performance increasing nearly 100% year-on-year for several consecutive years.

Honest’s core team possesses strong backgrounds in ore X-ray spectroscopy, intelligent recognition algorithms, and weak signal detection, with over a decade of research experience from affiliations with Tsinghua University research laboratories.

KrASIA Connection features translated and adapted content that was originally published by 36Kr. This article was written by Yu Jinglin for 36Kr.


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