Durban, South Africa — In the world of lithium mining, prices can swing wildly, making it tough for hard rock mining projects to stay afloat. Whether you're a big player or a smaller outfit trying to make it big, you're facing a tough market. Getting funding and dealing with day-to-day challenges is harder than ever. The stagnant DSO market, compounded by low lithium prices, penalises producers for off-spec concentrate shipments while off-takers clamour for higher grades. Moreover, the variability in run-of-mine (RoM) ore destabilises processing techniques like DMS and flotation, impeding operational efficiency.

Lise Oertel
 Communications Specialist

However, amidst these challenges lies an opportunity for transformation. Whether you are currently completing a DFS study or constructing a full scale production plant or demo plant, by embracing pre-concentration solutions within a swift six-month timeframe, projects can breathe new life into their operations. Through a strategic blend of ore sorting technologies, modular DMS systems, and hybrid approaches, the path to profitability becomes clearer. With a focus on optimising product quality, reducing operational costs, and managing feed variability, the hybrid solution emerges as a beacon of promise, offering increased efficiency and flexibility.

As we delve into the specifics, uncovering the benefits and test results of UV ore sorting, the pathway to revitalising hard rock lithium mining operations becomes all the more tangible.

  • DSO market stagnated due to low Lithium prices.
  • Producers being penalised for off-spec concentrate shipments.
  • Off-takers demanding higher grades.
  • RoM variability destabilising DMS and flotation, reducing efficiency.
  • Low grade feed to DMS and float not reaching target product grade.

Future proof your flowsheet and generate near-term cash flow*

Hybrid Flowsheet Solution (Ore Sorting and DMS)

Hybrid Flowsheet Solution (Ore Sorting and DMS

Produce DSO+ now and increase performance on DMS and flotation.​

*Time frame dependant on project requirements.


UV ore sorting test results* – DMS preconcentration

Implications of sorting technology** for a Hybrid Lithium Flowsheet:

  • Dry, coarse sorting (10-75mm):
  • High throughput >65tph per UV sorter​.
  • Less CAPEX – potentially replace primary concentration i.e. XRT + Primary DMS with UV sorting + Secondary DMS​.
  • Less OPEX – Less water, energy & footprint.​
  • High product recovery – Lithium loss to waste <10%.
  • Environmental impacts: remove waste without changing it (e.g. tertiary crushing, milling etc.).​
  • Internal dilution separation – The only sorting technology able to separate spodumene from other pegmatites e.g. quarts, feldspar, lepidolite, etc.​

**Given the exceptional results further testwork is required. White paper including full results from UV product and waste sorting, coming soon.

XRT ore sorting test results* – DMS feed polishing

*Onsite/installed production performance with average feed rate 53tph.

UV ore sorting test results* – Saleable DSO+ production

*Bulk performance test with the aim to produce a DSO+ product (upgraded RoM).

Flowsheet solutions

Hybrid (Ore Sorting & DMS)

  • Best of both worlds: Preconcentrate spodumene ore in the coarse size fraction.
  • Recover fine mineral with DMS to generate high-grade concentrate – at low cost, efficiently.
  • Polish off-spec product.
  • Utilise freed-up capacities through waste removal and increase your production.
  • Minimise ore variability to avoid operational problems and associated costs at DMS and flotation level.
  • Reduce OPEX through increased efficiency and decreased water and energy consumption.
  • Decrease downstream equipment size.​

UV Ore Sorting Specific

  • Selectively target spodumene in the coarse size fractions (5-75mm).
  • Choice to eject waste or eject product/concentrate.
  • Generate a dry higher-grade product (SC3-SC5) instead of standard DSO.

XRT Ore Sorting Specific

  • Target waste sorting minerals to be rejected (iron/mafic/basalt).
  • High capacities and minimal product loss.
  • Increase DMS and flotation performance.

STARK’s Modular DMS

  • Relocate your modular DMS between deposits.
  • Use for pre-concentration to generate a higher-grade product instead of standard DSO.
  • DMS optimisation and stability controls using RFID.

Key benefits of a hybrid solution

1 Increase product quality and volume on both DSO and SC5+.

2 Quick time to market, reconfigure and redeploy.

3 Manage ROM feed variability – reduce mining costs and complexity.

4 Reduce operational costs.

STARK’S approach to project execution

Test work

We determine suitable technologies and parameters for your project by managing ore characterisation, amenability and bulk testing for comminution, as well as ore sorting, hydro metallurgical gravity and magnetic separation.

Engineering Studies

The application of test work findings to create mechanical and electrical systems that enhance the extraction of valuable minerals. These studies consider the balance between time spent, financial investment, and the minimisation of technical and commercial risks. Our clients’ preferences guide this balance.


Fast-track your project execution to minimise the period between capital investment and revenue generation. We recognise that every mining project is unique, our agile approach to execution allows us to adapt and respond swiftly to evolving circumstances.


We specialise in identifying processing challenges within mining operations and providing comprehensive solutions and implementing next-generation technologies to optimise inefficiencies. Our goal is to ensure operational efficiency and enhance overall performance.

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