At this point we are well aware that mine operation is directly involved with extracting, processing, producing and transporting mineral deposits. Furthering this today we will look at the processing of minerals. So what exactly is mineral processing? It is the process of splitting commercially valuable minerals from their ores.
When mining companies move in and start with the operational phase, the ore is dug up and directed to the mill for processing and reclamation procedures. Because safety is number one, a mine strictly requires highly specialized and trained crew members to run, maintain and repair mining operations and activities. Specific job roles include mineral process engineers, mining technologists, welders, electricians, plumbers, pipe fitters metal fabricators, and others.
Mine employees are constantly involved with researching to achieve quicker and more cost-effective processing techniques. Mineral processing can involve several methods namely comminution, sizing, concentration, dewatering, magnet separation, flotation and MORE. The most critical factor to consider regarding ALL processing methods is how profitable the process is, which is determined by the grade as well as recovery of the concluding product.
Comminution is particle size reduction of materials which may be passed out on either dry materials or slurries. 2 main comminution methods are crushing and grinding.
Sizing is when particles are separated according to their size. Screening is the simplest sizing process and makes use of equipment such as grizzlies bar screens, radial sieves, wedge wire screens, banana screens, multi-deck screens, vibratory screen, fine screens, flip flop screens and lastly, wire mesh screens. Sizing operations that exploit the differences in settling velocities exhibited by particles of different size is called classification. Such equipment may include ore sorters, gas cyclones, hydro-cyclones, rotating trommels, rake classifiers or fluidized classifiers.
Concentration is the third type mentioned and the goal here is to increase the concentration of the wanted minerals. Light hearted fact no.1: Gravity concentration was the earliest method used and was based on that particles can be classified according to their precise gravity.
Dewatering (solid/liquid separation) is critical and the purpose here is the removal of water within particles. The result in doing so enables easy transportation of ore handling and concentrates, further processing and disposal of gangue. Dewatering screens, sedimentation, filtering, and thermal drying are all examples of dewatering systems.
Magnetic separation is highly utilized in processing minerals. With the use of a magnetic force, susceptible material can be extracted from a mixture. Because iron is attracted to magnets, this popular technique can be useful in mining iron as it is attracted to a magnet.
Flotation allows for any 2 varied particles to be separated due to the flotation mechanism. Bubbles are introduced into a pulp within the flotation process which then rises. Hydrophobic particles become bound to the surface of the rising bubbles. The flotation mechanism generates the ultimate conditions to get the most out of flotation performance for all roughing, cleaning and scavenging responsibilities.
Automated Ore Sorting is the last one we will look at and is rather modern. This method applies visual sensors, which can be combined with electrical conductivity and magnetic vulnerability sensors in order to regulate the mechanical parting of ore into 2 or more categories on an individual rock.
Efficiency is gold! SOURCE