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Mount Carbine owner EQ Resources has moved to double its high-tech ore-sorting capacity at the tungsten operation with the acquisition of a second Tomra XRT sorter.

The additional investment is part of the early works program the company is advancing ahead of the release of the bankable feasibility study for a major expansion and rebirth of the historical Mount Carbine mine.

The planned expansion includes a ramp-up of operations to extract tungsten from the site’s 12M-tonne low-grade ore stockpile and the restart of open-pit mining at Mount Carbine.

New estimates show EQ Resources is sitting on a $3 billion tungsten resource at the site, with total metal contained estimated at about 6.7 million mtu (metric ton unit, equal 10 kg).

EQ Resources last month announced that it would be boosting its mining fleet with $1.7 million worth of machinery, and announced plans for power and plant upgrades by the end of the year to make the most of soaring tungsten prices.

The operation has recently achieved daily production levels of up to 2.5 tonnes of tungsten concentrate through Tomra XRT sorting ramp-ups and debottlenecking of the gravity plant.

Chief executive officer Kevin MacNeill said the sorter expansion was a key element for the overall production expansion from the low grade stockpile.

“Our good relationship with Tomra led to this opportunity to mobilise an additional unit for EQR, where Tomra will ensure that the machine is brought up to Tomra’s latest technology features,” he said.

The unit comes as part of a fully operational system including all electrical and utility supply units.

The ‘COM Tertiary XRT’ type machine has been operational at a site in Queensland and will be dismantled and transported to Mount Carbine within the coming six weeks.

Full commissioning of the unit, with a throughput capacity of up to 80 tonnes per hour, is scheduled for the first quarter of 2022.

In the past year the company has completed a METS Ignited co-funded XRT pilot program, which achieved an up to 28-times upgrade of material from the site’s low-grade stockpile to produce a sorter concentrate fed to Mount Carbine’s gravity plant.

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