Kumba Iron Ore is on the verge of advancing a year-long final study of technology that will unlock valuable ore from millions of tonnes of low-grade waste it generates every year, giving it options that could extend the life of its flagship Sishen mine. The technology, which was refined by Exxaro Resources, the 20% partner in the Sishen Iron Ore Company, entails using a specially created form of minuscule globules of ferro-silicon that enables Kumba to upgrade ore with a 40% to 48% iron content to the sought-after 64%-65% iron content that Kumba sells. Low-grade ore has been stockpiled — estimated at hundreds of millions of tonnes — waiting for a technical solution that can unlock the iron economically. This already-mined material is not the focus of the technology, rather the low-grade material coming from daily mining operations, said Glen McGavigan, executive head of technical projects. There is a 200-million tonne resource of this low-grade ore. "We are integrating this project ...

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