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Title:
IMPROVED DENSITY TRACER
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2019/119035
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
The present invention relates to a density tracer assembly, the density tracer assembly includes a density tracer including a high-density component having a density of about 7g/cc or higher. A radio frequency (RF) transmitter is borne by the density tracer. Preferably, the high-density component provides higher density with minimal transmitter interference when compared with alternative high-density components that impede transmitter performance.

Inventors:
WOOD, Christopher John (90 Botticelli Street, Fig Tree Pocket, 4069, 4069, AU)
Application Number:
AU2018/051356
Publication Date:
June 27, 2019
Filing Date:
December 19, 2018
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
WOOD, Christopher John (90 Botticelli Street, Fig Tree Pocket, 4069, 4069, AU)
International Classes:
H01Q1/42; B03B13/00; E21C47/00; G01N9/30; G06K7/08
Domestic Patent References:
WO2014056019A12014-04-17
Foreign References:
US4857172A1989-08-15
Other References:
RABE, J. ET AL.: "Development of a RF tracer for use in the mining and minerals processing industry", THE THIRD SOUTHERN AFRICAN CONFERENCE ON BASE METALS, 2005, pages 107 - 125, XP055620671
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
SPRUSON & FERGUSON (GPO BOX 3898, New South Wales 2001, 2001, AU)
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Claims:
The claims defining the invention are as follows:

1. A density tracer assembly, the density tracer assembly including:

a density tracer including a high-density component having a density of about 7g/cc or higher; and

a radio frequency (RF) transmitter borne by the density tracer.

2. A density tracer assembly as claimed in claim 1 , wherein the high-density component provides higher density with minimal transmitter interference when compared with alternative high-density components that impede transmitter performance.

3. A density tracer assembly as claimed in claim 1 wherein:

the high-density component includes a metal, metallic compound or alloy; and/or. the high-density compound is bismuth based, tantalum based, tungsten based or a metallic silicide and/or carbide, preferably included in TABLE I herein.

4. A density tracer assembly as claimed in claim 1 , wherein the high-density component includes a bismuth compound, the bismuth compound preferably being bismuth trioxide (Bi203).

5. A density tracer assembly as claimed in claim 1 , wherein the high-density component includes a tungsten compound and/or a carbide compound, preferably tungsten carbide (WC).

6. A density tracer assembly as claimed in claim 1 , wherein the density tracer is engraved, or colored using a dye or pigment to advantageously provide a visual indication of the density.

7. A density tracer assembly as claimed in claim 1 , wherein the density tracer is a mineral processing density tracer, and includes a radio frequency identification (RFID) transponder including the RF transmitter.

8. A density tracer assembly as claimed in claim 1 , wherein the density tracer further includes a plastic in which the high-density component is encased or dispersed.

9. A density tracer assembly as claimed in claim 8, wherein the high-density component having a density of about 7g/cc or higher is in the form of embedded powder or granules.

10. A density tracer assembly as claimed in claim 1 , wherein the high-density component is embedded in or attached to the density tracer.

1 1. A method for forming a density tracer, the method involving mixing a high-density component having a density of about 7g/cc or higher throughout a liquid polymer followed by casting, moulding, injection moulding or extrusion.

12. A method as claimed in claim 11 , wherein the high-density component is in powdered form or in the form of one or more granules.

13. A method as claimed in claim 1 1 , further involving mixing pigment or dye powders throughout the polymer.

14. A method as claimed in claim 1 1 , further involving mixing a catalyst throughout the polymer.

15. A method as claimed in claim 1 1 , further involving pouring the mixed polymer into molds in which respective transponders are located.

16. A method as claimed in claim 1 1 , further involving electronically writing density or testing details to each transponder.

17. A density tracer assembly, the density tracer assembly including:

a density tracer including material having a density of about 7g/cc or; and a radio frequency (RF) transmitter borne by the body.

18. A density tracer, the density tracer including any one or more of: a bismuth compound; a tungsten compound; a carbide compound; and a compound included in TABLE I herein.

Description:
IMPROVED DENSITY TRACER

TECHNICAL FIELD

[0001] The present invention generally relates to density tracers. The present invention has particular, although not exclusive application to density tracers used in mineral processing and separating minerals.

BACKGROUND

[0002] The reference to any prior art in this specification is not, and should not be taken as an acknowledgement or any form of suggestion that the prior art forms part of the common general knowledge.

[0003] Turning to Figure 1 , a mining separator or group of separators 100 receives supplied raw mining material 102 and separates useful material (e.g. coal) 104 from other waste material 106 using a known separation process. Colored visual density tracers, which are in essence blocks of known densities, may be added to the raw material 102.

[0004] Visual auditing of the density tracers in the separated material 104 and/or 106 was conducted to generate density information including a density tracer partition curve 200 shown in Figure 2. In turn, the density information is used by an operator as a guide to adjustment of the separation process of the separator 100. Other streams from the separator may be similarly monitored.

[0005] In more recent times, density tracers of lower densities for the coal industry have been fitted with electronic transponders as described for example in Applicant’s patent AU 2013 330 201 . Raw materials commonly used in density tracers of higher densities, including density tracers for use in the diamond industry, interfere with radio transmissions.

[0006] The preferred embodiment provides an improved higher-density density- tracer for use in mineral processing or separating minerals.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION [0007] According to one aspect of the present invention, there is provided a density tracer assembly, the density tracer assembly including:

a density tracer including a high-density component having a density of about 7g/cc or higher; and

a radio frequency (RF) transmitter borne by the density tracer.

[0008] Preferably, the high-density component of the density tracer provides higher density with minimal transmitter interference when compared with alternative high- density components that impede transmitter performance. The high-density component may include a metal, metallic compound or alloy. The high-density compound may be bismuth based, tantalum based, tungsten based or a metallic silicide and/or carbide.

[0009] The high-density component may include a bismuth compound. Preferably, the bismuth compound is bismuth trioxide (B12O3) . Alternatively, the high-density component may include a tungsten compound. The high-density component may include a carbide compound. Preferably, the tungsten compound is tungsten carbide (WC). The density tracer may be engraved, or colored using a dye or pigment to advantageously provide a visual indication of the density.

[00010] Preferably, the density tracer is a mineral processing density tracer.

[00011] The density tracer may include a radio frequency identification (RFID) transponder including the RF transmitter.

[00012] The density tracer may further include a plastic in which the high-density component is encased or dispersed. The high-density component having a density of about 7g/cc or higher may be in the form of embedded powder or granules.

Alternatively, the high-density component may be embedded or attached to the density tracer.

[00013] According to another aspect of the present invention, there is provided a method for forming a density tracer, method involving mixing a high-density component having a density of about 7g/cc or higher throughout a liquid polymer followed by casting, moulding, injection moulding or extrusion. [00014] The high-density component may be in powdered form or in the form of one or more granules. The method may involve mixing pigment or dye powders throughout the polymer.

[00015] The method may involve mixing a catalyst throughout the polymer.

[00016] The method may involve pouring the mixed polymer into molds in which respective transponders are located. The method may involve electronically writing density or testing details to each transponder.

[00017] According to another aspect of the present invention, there is provided a density tracer assembly, the density tracer assembly including:

a density tracer including material having a density of about 7g/cc or higher; and a radio frequency (RF) transmitter borne by the body.

[00018] The material may include a metallic compound.

[00019] According to another aspect of the present invention, there is provided a density tracer, the density tracer including any one or more of: a bismuth compound; a tungsten compound; a carbide compound; and a compound in TABLE I herein.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[00020] Preferred features, embodiments and variations of the invention may be discerned from the following Detailed Description which provides sufficient information for those skilled in the art to perform the invention. The Detailed Description is not to be regarded as limiting the scope of the preceding Summary of the Invention in any way. The Detailed Description will make reference to a number of drawings as follows:

[00021] Figure 1 is a schematic diagram of a known separator;

[00022] Figure 2 is a density information audit sheet including a density tracer partition curve; and

[00023] Figure 3 is a schematic drawing of a mineral processing density tracer in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention. DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

[00024] A mineral processing density tracer assembly 500 for being carried by the separated useful material 104 is shown in Figure 5. Usually, but not necessarily, an operator retrieves or detects density tracers after separation and in path 104 and/or path 106.

[00025] The density tracer assembly 500 includes a cube shaped density tracer 502 of known density. An elongate radio frequency identification (RFID) transponder 504, including a transmitter, extends along a space diagonal of the density tracer 502.

Advantageously, placing the transponder 504 along the diagonal allows smaller blocks to be used for a given transponder size. The transponder 504 is borne by the density tracer 502 in separated mineral material.

[00026] The transponder 504 includes an exposed wound coil antenna 506 at one end. Advantageously, the exposed antenna 506 reduces the displacement of body material which would otherwise occur if a cover encapsulated the antenna 506, thereby facilitating the manufacture of density tracers with accurate densities.

[00027] The tracer can be detected using an antenna such as that described in AU 2013 330 201.

[00028] According to an embodiment of the present invention, the density tracer 502 includes a bismuth compound, the bismuth compound being bismuth trioxide (B12O3). Advantageously, the bismuth compound provides higher density with minimal transmitter interference. Other high density compounds are available although undesirably impede transmitter electromagnetic and RF transmission performance so as to provide unreliability in reading with the antenna.

[00029] Unlike many other compounds, bismuth trioxide is not a deep or dark color, and so the density tracer 502 can be colored using a dye or pigment to advantageously provide a visual indication of the density (e.g. red for one density and blue for another density). Likewise, the density tracer 502 can be engraved with identifying markings.

[00030] The powdered bismuth compound has a density of about 8.9g/cc. In one embodiment, powdered tungsten carbide (WC) having a density of about 16.5g/cc can instead be used to form the density tracer 502. These high-density components provide higher density with minimal transmitter interference.

[00031] A method of manufacturing the density tracer assembly 500 is now briefly described.

[00032] Initially, a plastic or polymer resin is provided in liquid form. The powdered high-density components (bismuth trioxide, tungsten carbide, etc) are then added in precise doses so that the density tracer 502 has a desired overall density. The powder is mixed throughout the polymer for even dispersion. Fine pigment or dye powders may also be added and mixed to impart specific colours.

[00033] Next, a small amount of catalyst is mixed throughout the polymer. The resultant mixture is poured into multiple moulds in which respective transponders 506 are located, the moulds usually in the form of multiple cubic cavities with open tops. The density tracers 502 set in the moulds and are then broken out and quality control tested for density and other properties.

[00034] Next, the density and other testing details are electronically written to the memory chip on each transponder 506.

[00035] The bismuth compound powdered tungsten carbide (WC) described above have a high density of about 7g/cc or greater, and do not have a severe impact, when incorporated in appropriate concentrations in the density tracer assembly 500, on the strength of radio transmissions from an RFID device 504 incorporated in or attached to the density tracer 502.

[00036] Suitablitly criteria are varied and include measuring the RFID read range of a density tracer:

a. of specified size and shape

b. including the high-density component in question in appropriate concentration or concentrations

c. incorporating a specific RFID chip

d. with a defined capacitor/internal antenna combination

e. using a specified reader and reader antenna

f. with reader, antenna and tracer in optimum relative orientation. [00037] Trials have confirmed that bismuth trioxide (Bi203) and tungsten carbide WC) are suitable considering the foregoing criteria, and more suitable than other trialed materials and they have failed on one criterion or the other.

[00038] Some alternative compounds which may have suitable properties are indicated in TABLE 1 below:

[00039] TABLE I - suitable compounds

Name Density Composition

Bismuthinite 7 Bi2S3

Bismoclite 7.72 BiOCl

Koechlinite 8.26 Bi2Mo06

Zavaritskite 8.44 BiOF

Bismuth trioxide 8.9 Bi203

Chrombismite 9.8 Bil6Cr027

Irtyshite 7.03 Na2Ta40l l

Ixiolite 7.09 (Ta,Mn,Nb)02

Wodginite 7.28 MnSnTa208

Tantalite-Fe 7.33 FeTa206

Calciotantite 7.46 CaTa40l l

Bismutocolumbite 7.56 Bi(Nb,Ta)04

Natrotantite 7.71 Na2Ta40l l

Tapiolite-(Mn) 7.72 Mn(Nb,Ta)206

Thoreaulite 7.75 SnTa206

Tapiolite-(Fe) 7.82 Fe(Nb,Ta)206

Behierite 7.86 TaB04

Tantalum pentoxide 8.2 Ta205

Stannomicrolite 8.34 SnTa207

Kusachiite 8.5 CuBi204

Bismutotantalite 8.68 BiTa04

Wolframite 7.3 FeW04

Tungstenite 7.4 WS2

Ferberite 7.45 FeW04

ie 8.9 Mo2C

9.2 MoB Tungsten boride 10.77 WB

Tungsten carbide 15.6 WC

Tungsten carbide 17.1 W2C

Tungsten nitride 17.8 W3N2

Suessite 7.08 Fe3Si

Gupeiite 7.15 Fe3Si

Haxonite 7.7 (Fe,Ni)23C6

Cohenite 7.43 Fe3C

Khamrabaevite 10.01 TiC

Niobocarbide 10.25 NbC

Tantalcarbide 14.5 TaC

[00040] A person skilled in the art will appreciate that many embodiments and variations can be made without departing from the ambit of the present invention.

[00041] In one embodiment, the density tracer 502 may include Ferrosillicon (FeSi) with a density up to about 7g/cc (or higher), which is sufficient to make tracers 502 of overall density of about 3.53g/cc which is suitable for diamond processing.

[00042] In one embodiment, the density tracer assembly 500 need not include a transmitter 504, and can instead be engraved, or colored using a dye or pigment to advantageously provide a visual indication of the density.

[00043] The density tracer assembly 500 is suitable for use in assessing efficiency in processing of diamond ore, iron ore, and lead ore. The density tracer assembly 500 can be used in other industries where high-density density-tracers are required.

[00044] In addition, tracer assemblies 500 could be placed in various parts of a mine and later detected at some point downstream - like when they enter a processing plant, so that the origin of ore bearing the assemblies 500 can be determined. In fact, if a number of mining companies or divisions have their ore processed, in turns, through a single plant, tracking the assemblies 500 can be used to ascertain whose ore is being processed and when.

[00045] Similarly, products of differing specifications or from different plants may be loaded onto a truck, rail wagon or ship, and it may be necessary to identify the sources. There are many tracking scenarios, and some may not involve a processing plant. [00046] The density tracer 502 of the preferred embodiment was cube shaped, but any shape could be used. For example, a cylindrical shaped tracer could also house a cylindrical transponder in a very compact manner, with the tracer occupying only slightly more volume than the transponder.

[00047] In one embodiment, the high-density component may be in the form of one or more granules. Alternatively, the high-density component can be embedded or attached to the density tracer 502.

[00048] In compliance with the statute, the invention has been described in language more or less specific to structural or methodical features. It is to be understood that the invention is not limited to specific features shown or described since the means herein described comprises preferred forms of putting the invention into effect.