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What will crushing plants of the future look like? Mineral Resources Ltd and Metso Outotec have pondered that question and have since gone on to answer it with the delivery of a modular, scalable and relocatable plant at an iron ore operation owned by one of the worlds biggest miners.
Called NextGen II, the solution represents a ground-breaking approach to delivering safe and reliable production to the hard-rock crushing industry, Mike Grey, Chief Executive of Mining Services for Mineral Resources, says.
We were sitting around the boardroom table with David De Haas, one of our key engineers on this project, and gave him the challenge to come up with a crushing plant that we could literally relocate anywhere very quickly, build on a very small footprint, and have it plug and play, Grey told IM in a recent IM Insight Interview.
A provider of world-class tailored crushing, screening and processing solutions for some of the worlds largest mining companies, CSI specialises in build, own, operate (BOO) projects where it provides both the capital infrastructure and the operational expertise to ensure these crushing plants operate to their potential on site.
Having initially commenced discussions with the global OEM in early 2019 (when it was still Metso), Mineral Resources, later that year, agreed with Metso on the design and delivery of a new type of crushing solution.
The largest bulk commodity operations in the world are made up of multiple pits that get mined over time. As these operations expand, miners are left with a dilemma: extend the haulage time from the pit to the plant or build another plant.
De Haas, collaborating with Metso Outotec, has delivered on the boards brief with the design for a crushing plant able to produce 15 Mt/y using a modular design made up of several stations. The plant can move with the mining, being erected and taken down quickly without the type of in-ground services that can scupper such moves.
The NextGen II is a crushing and screening plant to crush iron ore and produce lump and fine products, he said in the IM Insight Interview. The process starts with a primary station made up of a Metso Outotec apron feeder (below left), followed by a vibrating grizzly scalper. Then starts the size reduction process with a Nordberg C150 jaw crusher (below middle).
The screen was designed specifically for the project offering the compact dimensions that could fit inside the stations footprint. Other customised add-ons included specialised cooling rooms for the lubrication units and extensive steel fabrication works.
Lambert added: Really, the tailoring of design is around the modularity of the different stations. Each station is made up of several modules. All those modules can be pre-assembled and tested in a factory and transported by road to the site. This has been established to enable a fast erection process.
Despite a timeline setback caused by the global pandemic, the 1,500 t of steel needed for the plant construction was built in 16 weeks, starting in March 2020 and ready by July 25 of that year. It was shipped to CSIs Kwinana facility in Western Australia for pre-assembly before delivery to site.
A distinctive blue colour, the plant reflects Mineral Resources commitment to mental health awareness and support, carrying the phone number and colour of Lifeline, a Western Australia-based charity formed to prevent suicide, support people in crisis and reduce the stigmas which can be a barrier to seeking help.
It is really important for us to promote mental health; our fly-in fly-out workforce has matured over some years, but the challenges around working remotely remain, Grey said. It is important that we demonstrate we have the support mechanisms in place to support our workers and their families.
The NextGen II plant is at the forefront of that it is the first thing people see when they come to work and the last thing they see when going home. They can always reflect and make sure their work mates are OK.
The plants operating success has been helped by a local service and support network from both companies, with Metso Outotec providing critical spares and all large rotable refurbishments serviced by CSIs Kwinana facility.
Understanding the challenges and potential delays for parts deliveries due to MRLs remote location, the companies agreed to a specific consignment inventory close to the site to ensure parts availability and exclusivity for MRL to better support the operation.
Working with Metso Outotec on this project has allowed us to define the scope together, rather than remotely, Grey reflected. That allows us to ensure we deliver to the timelines and then make any necessary changes on the run, hand-in-hand. We deliver the solution together.
Lambert added: Metso Outotec is an indisputable leader in crushing and screening technology, as well as plant. However, working with MRL, we learned a lot about improving the design of our station to maximise safety and improve accessibility in a very, very compact environment for high-capacity plant.
The NextGen II plant is very flexible, he said. Each station is individually plugged into the solution, and we can easily upgrade the crusher, the screen, etc throughout the year depending on capacity needs.
Adding or removing some stations could see the throughput reduced or increased, with Lambert even talking about the ability to construct a 30 Mt/y plant that can be built, erected and relocated in the same way as the first 15 Mt/y plant.
In addition, NextGen II, today, is designed for iron ore applications with lump and fine products, he said. If we want, we can add a tertiary crushing stage in order to produce only fines for iron ore. This can match with copper and gold operations also.
There are plenty of gold miners extracting ore from multiple pits that could provide a strong business case for the installation of such a plant. Similarly, there is potential for this working at major open-pit copper mines.
Lambert concluded: There is, for sure, global demand for modular crushing plants. Today, having a fast and safe erection process is a must in many countries and locations. In addition, we have more and more short-term operations emerging in very remote locations, so having the possibility to minimise civil works is key for a lot of our customers.
Roll crushers are generally not used as primary crushers for hard ores. Even for softer ores, like chalcocite and chalcopyrite they have been used as secondary crushers. Choke feeding is not advisable as it tends to produce particles of irregular size. Both open and closed circuit crushing are employed. For close circuit the product is screened with a mesh size much less than the set.
Fig. 6.4 is a typical set up where ore crushed in primary and secondary crushers are further reduced in size by a rough roll crusher in open circuit followed by finer size reduction in a closed circuit by roll crusher. Such circuits are chosen as the feed size to standard roll crushers normally do not exceed 50mm.
Cone crushers were originally designed and developed by Symons around 1920 and therefore are often described as Symons cone crushers. As the mechanism of crushing in these crushers are similar to gyratory crushers their designs are similar, but in this case the spindle is supported at the bottom of the gyrating cone instead of being suspended as in larger gyratory crushers. Fig. 5.3 is a schematic diagram of a cone crusher. The breaking head gyrates inside an inverted truncated cone. These crushers are designed so that the head to depth ratio is larger than the standard gyratory crusher and the cone angles are much flatter and the slope of the mantle and the concaves are parallel to each other. The flatter cone angles helps to retain the particles longer between the crushing surfaces and therefore produce much finer particles. To prevent damage to the crushing surfaces, the concave or shell of the crushers are held in place by strong springs or hydraulics which yield to permit uncrushable tramp material to pass through.
The secondary crushers are designated as Standard cone crushers having stepped liners and tertiary Short Head cone crushers, which have smoother crushing faces and steeper cone angles of the breaking head. The approximate distance of the annular space at the discharge end designates the size of the cone crushers. A brief summary of the design characteristics is given in Table 5.4 for crusher operation in open circuit and closed circuit situations.
The Standard cone crushers are for normal use. The Short Head cone crushers are designed for tertiary or quaternary crushing where finer product is required. These crushers are invariably operated in closed circuit. The final product sizes are fine, medium or coarse depending on the closed set spacing, the configuration of the crushing chamber and classifier performance, which is always installed in parallel.
For finer product sizes, i.e. less than 6mm, special cone crushers known as Gyradisc crushers are available. The operation is similar to the standard cone crushers except that the size reduction is caused more by attrition than by impact, . The reduction ratio is around 8:1 and as the product size is relatively small the feed size is limited to less than 50mm with a nip angle between 25 and 30. The Gyradisc crushers have head diameters from around 900-2100mm. These crushers are always operated in choke feed conditions. The feed size is less than 50mm and therefore the product size is usually less than 6-9mm.
Crushing is accomplished by compression of the ore against a rigid surface or by impact against a surface in a rigidly constrained motion path. Crushing is usually a dry process and carried out on ROM ore in succession of two or three stages, namely, by (1) primary, (2) secondary, and (3) tertiary crushers.
Primary crushers are heavy-duty rugged machines used to crush ROM ore of () 1.5m size. These large-sized ores are reduced at the primary crushing stage for an output product dimension of 1020cm. The common primary crushers are of jaw and gyratory types.
The jaw crusher reduces the size of large rocks by dropping them into a V-shaped mouth at the top of the crusher chamber. This is created between one fixed rigid jaw and a pivoting swing jaw set at acute angles to each other. Compression is created by forcing the rock against the stationary plate in the crushing chamber as shown in Fig.13.9. The opening at the bottom of the jaw plates is adjustable to the desired aperture for product size. The rocks remain in between the jaws until they are small enough to be set free through this opening for further size reduction by feeding to the secondary crusher.
The type of jaw crusher depends on input feed and output product size, rock/ore strength, volume of operation, cost, and other related parameters. Heavy-duty primary jaw crushers are installed underground for uniform size reduction before transferring the ore to the main centralized hoisting system. Medium-duty jaw crushers are useful in underground mines with low production (Fig.13.10) and in process plants. Small-sized jaw crushers (refer to Fig.7.32) are installed in laboratories for the preparation of representative samples for chemical analysis.
The gyratory crusher consists of a long, conical, hard steel crushing element suspended from the top. It rotates and sweeps out in a conical path within the round, hard, fixed crushing chamber (Fig.13.11). The maximum crushing action is created by closing the gap between the hard crushing surface attached to the spindle and the concave fixed liners mounted on the main frame of the crusher. The gap opens and closes by an eccentric drive on the bottom of the spindle that causes the central vertical spindle to gyrate.
The secondary crusher is mainly used to reclaim the primary crusher product. The crushed material, which is around 15cm in diameter obtained from the ore storage, is disposed as the final crusher product. The size is usually between 0.5 and 2cm in diameter so that it is suitable for grinding. Secondary crushers are comparatively lighter in weight and smaller in size. They generally operate with dry clean feed devoid of harmful elements like metal splinters, wood, clay, etc. separated during primary crushing. The common secondary crushers are cone, roll, and impact types.
The cone crusher (Fig.13.12) is very similar to the gyratory type, except that it has a much shorter spindle with a larger-diameter crushing surface relative to its vertical dimension. The spindle is not suspended as in the gyratory crusher. The eccentric motion of the inner crushing cone is similar to that of the gyratory crusher.
The roll crusher consists of a pair of horizontal cylindrical manganese steel spring rolls (Fig.13.14), which rotate in opposite directions. The falling feed material is squeezed and crushed between the rollers. The final product passes through the discharge point. This type of crusher is used in secondary or tertiary crushing applications. Advanced roll crushers are designed with one rotating cylinder that rotates toward a fix plate or rollers with differing diameters and speeds. It improves the liberation of minerals in the crushed product. Roll crushers are very often used in limestone, coal, phosphate, chalk, and other friable soft ores.
The impact crusher (Fig.13.15) employs high-speed impact or sharp blows to the free-falling feed rather than compression or abrasion. It utilizes hinged or fixed heavy metal hammers (hammer mill) or bars attached to the edges of horizontal rotating discs. The hammers, bars, and discs are made of manganese steel or cast iron containing chromium carbide. The hammers repeatedly strike the material to be crushed against a rugged solid surface of the crushing chamber breaking the particles to uniform size. The final fine products drop down through the discharge grate, while the oversized particles are swept around for another crushing cycle until they are fine enough to fall through the discharge gate. Impact crushers are widely used in stone quarrying industry for making chips as road and building material. These crushers are normally employed for secondary or tertiary crushing.
If size reduction is not completed after secondary crushing because of extra-hard ore or in special cases where it is important to minimize the production of fines, tertiary recrushing is recommended using secondary crushers in a close circuit. The screen overflow of the secondary crusher is collected in a bin (Fig.13.16) and transferred to the tertiary crusher through a conveyer belt in close circuit.
Primary jaw crushers typically operate in open circuit under dry conditions. Depending on the size reduction required, the primary jaw crushers are followed by secondary and tertiary crushing. The last crusher in the line of operation operates in closed circuit. That is, the crushed product is screened and the oversize returned to the crusher for further size reduction while the undersize is accepted as the product. Flow sheets showing two such set-ups are shown in Figs. 3.1 and 3.2.
Jaw crushers are installed underground in mines as well as on the surface. When used underground, jaw crushers are commonly used in open circuit. This is followed by further size reduction in crushers located on the surface.
When the run of mine product is conveyed directly from the mine to the crusher, the feed to the primary crusher passes under a magnet to remove tramp steel collected during the mining operation. A grizzly screen is placed between the magnet and the receiving hopper of the crusher to scalp (remove) boulders larger than the size of the gape. Some mines deliver product direct to storage bins or stockpiles, which then feed the crushers mechanically by apron feeders, Ross feeders or similar devices to regulate the feed rate to the crusher. Alternately haulage trucks, front-end loaders, bottom discharge railroad cars or tipping wagons are used. In such cases, the feed rate to the crusher is intermittent which is a situation generally avoided. In such cases of intermittent feed, storage areas are installed and the feed rate regulated by bulldozers, front loaders or bin or stockpile hoppers and feeders. It is necessary that the feed to jaw crushers be carefully designed to balance with the throughput rate of the crusher. When the feed rate is regulated to keep the receiving hopper of the crusher full at all times so that the volume rate of rock entering any point in the crusher is greater than the rate of rock leaving, it is referred to as choke feeding. During choke feeding the crushing action takes place between the jaw plates and particles as well as by inter-particle compression. Choke feeding necessarily produces more fines and requires careful feed control. For mineral liberation, choked feeding is desirable.
When installed above ground, the object of the crushing circuit is to crush the ore to achieve the required size for down stream use. In some industries, for example, iron ore or coal, where a specific product size is required (iron ore 30+6mm), careful choice of jaw settings and screen sizes are required to produce the minimum amount of fines (i.e. 6mm) and maximum the amount of lump ore within the specified size range. For hard mineral bearing rocks like gold or nickel ores where liberation of minerals from the host rock is the main objective, further stages of size reduction are required.
A gold ore was crushed in a secondary crusher and screened dry on an 1180micron square aperture screen. The screen was constructed with 0.12mm diameter uniform stainless steel wire. The size analysis of the feed, oversize and undersize streams are given in the following table. The gold content in the feed, undersize and oversize streams were; 5ppm, 1.5ppm and 7ppm respectively. Calculate:
The self tuning control algorithm has been developed and applied on crusher circuits and flotation circuits [22-24] where PID controllers seem to be less effective due to immeasurable change in parameters like the hardness of the ore and wear in crusher linings. STC is applicable to non-linear time varying systems. It however permits the inclusion of feed forward compensation when a disturbance can be measured at different times. The STC control system is therefore attractive. The basis of the system is:
The disadvantage of the set up is that it is not very stable and therefore in the control model a balance has to be selected between stability and performance. A control law is adopted. It includes a cost function CF, and penalty on control action. The control law has been defined as:
A block diagram showing the self tuning set-up is illustrated in Fig. 18.27. The disadvantage of STC controllers is that they are less stable and therefore in its application a balance has to be derived between stability and performance.
Bone recycling is a simple process where useful products can be extracted. Minerals such as calcium powder for animal; feed are extracted from the bone itself. The base material for cosmetics and some detergent manufacturing needs are extracted from the bone marrow.
The bone recycling process passes through seven stages starting from crushing and ending with packing. Figure 13.14 gives a schematic diagram showing the bone recycling process which goes through the following steps:
Following the standard procedures in the Beijing SHRIMP Center, zircons were separated using a jaw crusher, disc mill, panning, and a magnetic separator, followed by handpicking using a binocular microscope. The grains were mounted together with the standard zircon TEM (417Ma, Black etal., 2003) and then polished to expose the internal structure of the zircons. Cathodoluminescence (CL) imaging was conducted using a Hitachi SEM S-3000N equipped with a Gatan Chroma CL detector in the Beijing SHRIMP Center. The zircon analysis was performed using the SHRIMP II also in the Beijing SHRIMP Centre. The analytical procedures and conditions were similar to those described by Williams (1998). Analytical spots with 25m diameter were bombarded by a 3nA, 10kV O2 primary ion beam to sputter secondary ions. Five scans were performed on every analysis, and the mass resolution was 5000 (at 1%). M257 standard zircon (561.3Ma, U=840ppm) was used as the reference value for the U concentration, and TEM standard zircons were used for Pb/U ratio correction (Black etal., 2003). Common Pb was corrected using the measured 204Pb. Data processing was performed using the SQUID/Isoplot programs (Ludwig, 2001a,b). Errors for individual analyses are at 1, but the errors for weighted average ages are at 2.
A stockpile can be used to blend ore from different sources. This is useful for flotation circuits where fluctuations ingrade can change the mass balance and circulating loads around the plant. Blending can also be done on the ROMpad.
The lowest cost alternative is to have no surge at all, but rather to have a crushing plant on line. This is workable for small-scale plant with single-stage jaw crushers as the availability of these simple plant is very high provided control over ROM size is maintained.
The second alternative is to use a small live surge bin after the primary crusher with a secondary reclaim feeder. Crushed ore feeds this bin continuously and the bin overflows to a small conveyor feeding a dead stockpile. In the event of a primary crusher failure, the crusher loader is used to reclaim the stockpile via the surge bin, which doubles as an emergency hopper.
For coarse ore, the next alternative is a coarse ore stockpile. Stockpiles of this type are generally 1525% live and require a tunnel (concrete or Armco) and a number of reclaim feeders to feed the milling circuit.
Multi-stage crushing circuits usually require surge capacity as the availability of each unit process is cumulative. A fine-ore bin is usually required. Smaller bins are usually fabricated from steel as this is cheaper. Live capacity of bins is higher than stockpiles but they also require a reclaim tunnel and feeders.
After crushing, grinding, magnetic separation, flotation, and gravity separation, etc., iron is gradually selected from the natural iron ore. The beneficiation process should be as efficient and simple as possible, such as the development of energy-saving equipment, and the best possible results with the most suitable process. In the iron ore beneficiation factory, the equipment investment, production cost, power consumption and steel consumption of crushing and grinding operations often account for the largest proportion. Therefore, the calculation and selection of crushing and grinding equipment and the quality of operation management are to a large extent determine the economic benefits of the beneficiation factory.
There are many types of iron ore, but mainly magnetite (Fe3O4) and hematite (Fe2O3) are used for iron production because magnetite and hematite have higher content of iron and easy to be upgraded to high grade for steel factories.
Due to the deformation of the geological properties, there would be some changes of the characteristics of the raw ore and sometimes magnetite, hematite, limonite as well as other types iron ore and veins are in symbiosis form. So mineralogy study on the forms, characteristics as well as liberation size are necessary before getting into the study of beneficiation technology.
1. Magnetite ore stage grinding-magnetic separation process The stage grinding-magnetic separation process mainly utilizes the characteristics of magnetite that can be enriched under coarse grinding conditions, and at the same time, it can discharge the characteristics of single gangue, reducing the amount of grinding in the next stage. In the process of continuous development and improvement, the process adopts high-efficiency magnetic separation equipment to achieve energy saving and consumption reduction. At present, almost all magnetic separation plants in China use a large-diameter (medium 1 050 mm, medium 1 200 mm, medium 1 500 mm, etc.) permanent magnet magnetic separator to carry out the stage tailing removing process after one stage grinding. The characteristic of permanent magnet large-diameter magnetic separator is that it can effectively separate 3~0mm or 6~0mm, or even 10-0mm coarse-grained magnetite ore, and the yield of removed tails is generally 30.00%~50.00%. The grade is below 8.00%, which creates good conditions for the magnetic separation plant to save energy and increase production.
2.Magnetic separation-fine screen process Gangue conjoined bodies such as magnetite and quartz can be enriched when the particle size and magnetic properties reach a certain range. However, it is easy to form a coarse concatenated mixture in the iron concentrate, which reduces the grade of the iron concentrate. This kind of concentrate is sieved by a fine sieve with corresponding sieve holes, and high-quality iron concentrate can be obtained under the sieve.
There are two methods for gravity separation of hematite. One is coarse-grained gravity separation. The geological grade of the ore deposit is relatively high (about 50%), but the ore body is thinner or has more interlayers. The waste rock is mixed in during mining to dilute the ore. For this kind of ore, only crushing and no-grinding can be used so coarse-grained tailings are discarded through re-election to recover the geological grade.
The other one is fine-grain gravity separation, which mostly deals with the hematite with finer grain size and high magnetic content. After crushing, the ore is ground to separate the mineral monomers, and the fine-grained high-grade concentrate is obtained by gravity separation. However, since most of the weak magnetic iron ore concentrates with strong magnetic separation are not high in grade, and the unit processing capacity of the gravity separation process is relatively low, the combined process of strong magnetic separation and gravity separation is often used, that is, the strong magnetic separation process is used to discard a large amount of unqualified tailings, and then use the gravity separation process to further process the strong magnetic concentrate to improve the concentrate grade.
Due to the complexity, large-scale mixed iron ore and hematite ore adopt stage grinding or continuous grinding, coarse subdivision separation, gravity separation-weak magnetic separation-high gradient magnetic separation-anion reverse flotation process. The characteristics of such process are as follows:
(1) Coarse subdivision separation: For the coarse part, use gravity separation to take out most of the coarse-grained iron concentrate after a stage of grinding. The SLon type high gradient medium magnetic machine removes part of the tailings; the fine part uses the SLon type high gradient strong magnetic separator to further remove the tailings and mud to create good operating conditions for reverse flotation. Due to the superior performance of the SLon-type high-gradient magnetic separator, a higher recovery rate in the whole process is ensured, and the reverse flotation guarantees a higher fine-grained concentrate grade.
(2) A reasonable process for narrow-level selection is realized. In the process of mineral separation, the degree of separation of minerals is not only related to the characteristics of the mineral itself, but also to the specific surface area of the mineral particles. This effect is more prominent in the flotation process. Because in the flotation process, the minimum value of the force between the flotation agent and the mineral and the agent and the bubble is related to the specific surface area of the mineral, and the ratio of the agent to the mineral action area. This makes the factors double affecting the floatability of minerals easily causing minerals with a large specific surface area and relatively difficult to float and minerals with a small specific surface area and relatively easy to float have relatively consistent floatability, and sometimes the former has even better floatability. The realization of the narrow-level beneficiation process can prevent the occurrence of the above-mentioned phenomenon that easily leads to the chaos of the flotation process to a large extent, and improve the beneficiation efficiency.
(3) The combined application of high-gradient strong magnetic separation and anion reverse flotation process achieves the best combination of processes. At present, the weak magnetic iron ore beneficiation plants in China all adopt high-gradient strong magnetic separation-anion reverse flotation process in their technological process. This combination is particularly effective in the beneficiation of weak magnetic iron ore. For high-gradient strong magnetic separation, the effect of improving the grade of concentrate is not obvious. However, it is very effective to rely on high-gradient and strong magnetic separation to provide ideal raw materials for reverse flotation. At the same time, anion reverse flotation is affected by its own process characteristics and is particularly effective for the separation of fine-grained and relatively high-grade materials. The advantages of high-gradient strong magnetic separation and anion reverse flotation technology complement each other, and realize the delicate combination of the beneficiation process.
The key technology innovation of the integrated dry grinding and magnetic separation system is to "replace ball mill grinding with HPGR grinding", and the target is to reduce the cost of ball mill grinding and wet magnetic separation.
HPGRs orhigh-pressure grinding rollshave made broad advances into mining industries. The technology is now widely viewed as a primary milling alternative, and there are several large installations commissioned in recent years. After these developments, anHPGRsbased circuit configuration would often be the base case for certain ore types, such as very hard, abrasive ores.
The wear on a rolls surface is a function of the ores abrasivity. Increasing roll speed or pressure increases wear with a given material. Studs allowing the formation of an autogenous wear layer, edge blocks, and cheek plates. Development in these areas continues, with examples including profiling of stud hardness to minimize the bathtub effect (wear of the center of the rolls more rapidly than the outer areas), low-profile edge blocks for installation on worn tires, and improvements in both design and wear materials for cheek plates.
With Strip Surface, HPGRs improve observed downstream comminution efficiency. This is attributable to both increased fines generation, but also due to what appears to be weakening of the ore which many researchers attribute to micro-cracking.
As we tested , the average yield of 3mm-0 and 0.15mm-0 size fraction with Strip Surface was 78.3% and 46.2%, comparatively, the average yield of 3mm-0 and 0.3mm-0 with studs surface was 58.36% and 21.7%.
These intelligently engineered units are ideal for classifying coarser cuts ranging from 50 to 200 mesh. The feed material is dropped into the top of the classifier. It falls into a continuous feed curtain in front of the vanes, passing through low velocity air entering the side of the unit. The air flow direction is changed by the vanes from horizontal to angularly upward, resulting in separation and classification of the particulate. Coarse particles dropps directly to the product and fine particles are efficiently discharged through a valve beneath the unit. The micro fines are conveyed by air to a fabric filter for final recovery.
Air Magnetic Separation Cluster is a special equipment developed for dry magnetic separation of fine size (-3mm) and micro fine size(-0.1mm) magnetite. The air magnetic separation system can be combined according to the characteristic of magnetic minerals to achieve effective recovery of magnetite.
After rough grinding, adopt appropriate separation method, discard part of tailings and sort out part of qualified concentrate, and re-grind and re-separate the middling, is called stage grinding and stage separation process.
According to the characteristics of the raw ore, the use of stage grinding and stage separation technology is an effective measure for energy conservation in iron ore concentrators. At the coarser one-stage grinding fineness, high-efficiency beneficiation equipment is used to advance the tailings, which greatly reduces the processing volume of the second-stage grinding.
If the crystal grain size is relatively coarse, the stage grinding, stage magnetic separation-fine sieve self-circulation process is adopted. Generally, the product on the fine sieve is given to the second stage grinding and re-grinding. The process flow is relatively simple.
If the crystal grain size is too fine, the process of stage grinding, stage magnetic separation and fine sieve regrind is adopted. This process is the third stage of grinding and fine grinding after the products on the first and second stages of fine sieve are concentrated and magnetically separated. Then it is processed by magnetic separation and fine sieve, the process is relatively complicated.
At present, the operation of magnetic separation (including weak magnetic separation and strong magnetic separation) is one of the effective means of throwing tails in advance; anion reverse flotation and cation reverse flotation are one of the effective means to improve the grade of iron ore.
In particular, in the process of beneficiation, both of them basically take the selected feed minerals containing less gangue minerals as the sorting object, and both use the biggest difference in mineral selectivity, which makes the two in the whole process both play a good role in the process.
Based on the iron ore processing experience and necessary processing tests, Prominer can supply complete processing plant combined with various processing technologies, such as gravity separation, magnetic separation, flotation, etc., to improve the grade of TFe of the concentrate and get the best yield. Magnetic separation is commonly used for magnetite. Gravity separation is commonly used for hematite. Flotation is mainly used to process limonite and other kinds of iron ores
Through detailed mineralogy study and lab processing test, a most suitable processing plant parameters will be acquired. Based on those parameters Prominer can design a processing plant for mine owners and supply EPC services till the plant operating.
Prominer has been devoted to mineral processing industry for decades and specializes in mineral upgrading and deep processing. With expertise in the fields of mineral project development, mining, test study, engineering, technological processing.
Increasing demand for metals and minerals coupled with declining ore grades mean that, in order to maintain their output, mines must process ever larger amounts of material and expend an increasing amount of energy to do so.
In tandem, global energy costs are rising, very quickly in the case of some countries, and so to ensure profitability and keep their operations economically viable, miners are looking at different ways to optimize energy consumption throughout the mining process.
According to the Coalition for Eco-Efficient Comminution, comminution the process of crushing and grinding ore is by far the most energy consuming step in the mining process. It accounts for around 53% of mine energy consumption which equates to at least 10% of production costs. In comparison, leaching and absorption, the next biggest energy consumers, take up 22% followed by excavation and hauling at 10% and drilling and blasting at 2%. And comminution isnt just a major energy sink within the mining process; it accounts for 3% of the total amount of electrical energy consumed globally.
In 2012, the world generated about 21,600TWh of electricity, he said. Three percent of this is 648TWh. Based on the current fuel mix in the US, this equates to nearly 400,000kt of CO2 every year, and at 10 cents per kilowatt-hour, the total cost of comminution power in the global mining industry is about US$65 billion per year. This is more than twice BHPs gross revenue in 2016.
Improving the energy efficiency of comminution is therefore key for miners that wish to remain competitive on the global stage and, given the potential scale of impact, reducing their energy intensity is also a big factor in allowing miners to maintain their social license to operate.
However, rather than looking at this purely as a challenge that must be overcome, smart miners are also viewing it as an opportunity; energy costs may pose a significant danger to their bottom lines, but the potential monetary savings that can be created by employing eco-efficient processes and technologies can run to millions of dollars a year.
One way of tackling this is to design energy efficiency into the mining process from day one using techniques such as in-pit crushing and conveying or sorting, smart blasting, preconcentration and better screening to reject gangue early on and reduce the energy needs of downstream processes, including comminution.
While this may make sense for some new projects and where operational conditions are favourable, it is not always an option, particularly for mines that have been running for some time. In these cases, another, less capital-intensive option is to select crushing and grinding technologies that naturally consume less energy, and to couple these with an intelligent control system that optimizes operating conditions according to ore characteristics and rate of throughput.
Next-generation grinding technologies in particular offer vast scope for improvement, and machines such as high-pressure grinding rolls (HPGRs) and vertical stirred mills that were introduced 30+ years ago are now slowly gaining more traction as miners look to tighten their balance sheets and improve their environmental stewardship.
Products such as Metso VertimillTM and Stirred Media Detritor (SMD) can offer significant energy savings over traditional balls mills in grinding applications and, thanks to a lower capital cost, less media consumption and lower maintenance requirements, they can also provide a lower total cost of ownership.
Gravity-induced stirred mills such as Vertimill initiate a ball charge motion using rotational movement of a screw to provide a reduction in material size, while fluidized stirred mills like the SMD use a rotational movement to fluidize a media-slurry mixture, resulting in particle size reduction. The type of mill and circuit configuration used are essential factors in maximizing the grade and recovery profile of an ore, and so are selected on a case-by-case basis.
Vertimills are one of the best-known vertical milling technologies. They were originally introduced in the 1950s for industrial applications, and Metso completed its first large-scale installation for metallic ore grinding in 1980. The company has gone on to sell nearly 450 units worldwide, and Metsos CEO, Pekka Vauramo, told journalists at the Bauma 2019 tradeshow in Munich, Germany, earlier this year that these units generated a collective saving of 625,000t of CO2 during 2018 the equivalent to around 20% of what a small airline produces in a year.
The Vertimill product line features standard mill sizes from 11kW (15hp) to 3352kW (4,500hp) and can handle feed sizes up to 6mm and grinding products smaller than 20 m. Vertimills can operate with a minimum energy consumption of 20%, making them useful for regrinding and other applications with variable flows and, on average, they offer a 25-30% reduction in energy consumption compared to ball mills.
An excellent example of this can be seen at Anglo Americans Minas Rio iron-ore operation in Brazil. The mine was able to cut its electrical power consumption by 30% by applying vertical mills instead of ball mills in its regrind circuit. The mine opted to install 16 Vertimill VTM-1500-WB grinding mills to create a circuit with two regrinding lines. Each comprises eight mills, each with an installed power rating of 1.1MW, and four cyclone batteries for grading iron ore.
Rodrigo Vilela, director of operations at the Minas-Rio system, part of Anglo Americans Iron Ore Business Unit, explained: Minas-Rio uses 17.9MW of power in its regrinding process while the application with ball mills would be 25.6MW; this represents a significant reduction of 7.7MW.
This energy saving equates to a financial gain of 5.5 million (R$23 million) per year for Anglo American (excluding taxes) including energy costs, demand and charges related to the use of the regrinding circuit.
SMDs meanwhile are best suited to fine and ultra-fine grinding applications with feed sizes from 250m. They use rotational energy created by impeller arms to impart a high-energy motion to the media/slurry mixture inside the mill. This results in particle-to-particle shear and compressive forces which produce a grinding mechanism. The power intensity of SMDs (kW/m3) is relatively high compared with other mill types, but this is necessary to generate a vortex within the slurry during operation and to bring the particles into contact for efficient grinding.
In general, the finer the product required, the more efficiency stirred mills exhibit over ball mills. The grinding action (attrition), vertical arrangement, and finer media size distribution means that Vertimills offer an average energy saving of 30-50% compared with ball mills, while SMDs offer savings of more than 50% in very fine grinds.
Another benefit that comes with less energy use is a reduction in media consumption. One concentrator in Mexico experienced a 48% drop in media consumption from 821g/t to 429g/t using Vertimills, which equated to a significant reduction in consumable costs and also in carbon footprint.
At the coarser end of the feed spectrum, HPGRs, a technology that also originated outside of the mining industry in cement applications, offer energy efficiency opportunities when employed as part of quaternary, tertiary or pebble-crushing circuits.
HPGRs are best suited to high-tonnage, hard-rock operations where the material has a relatively low moisture content. They use two counter-rotating tires one fixed and one floating studded with tungsten carbide nodules to instantaneously crush ore. Hydraulic cylinders apply very high pressure to the system, causing inter-particle comminution as the feed travels between the two tires.
The basic operating principle behind HPGRs makes them very energy efficient: the feed is introduced to the crushing zone, where high pressure is applied to the bed of material in a controlled manner. This creates microcracks within the ore which weaken the particles
Metsos product, the HRCTM, features a patented Arch-frame that provides an even gap setting across the width of the tires and prevents skewing. This helps to extend the wear life of the roller bearings and the tire surface. The frame also eliminates the need for spring-loaded cheek plates, which are replaced by flanges in the HRC. These keep the bed of material within the HRCs crushing zone and ensures a more even pressure profile across the length of the bed to maximize the amount of ore that is crushed.
A high-profile example of HPGR efficiency is the Metcalf Concentrator at Freeport-McMoRans Morenci site in Arizona, US, which began operating in May 2014. The team at Metso worked alongside Freeport to install an HRC 3000 at the new 63,500t/d facility. Weighing in at 816t (900 short tons) and featuring two 3.0m x 2.0m tires capable of crushing 5,400t/h of ore, this is still one of the largest HPGRs ever installed.
Due to diminishing ore grades and rising energy costs, Freeport was looking for a more energy-efficient way to process its ore, and HPGR provided a flexible and economic alternative to a traditional semi-autogenous grinding (SAG) mill-based circuit.
At Metcalf, the HRC is fed by a secondary cone crushing circuit and is followed by two ball mills for secondary grinding. The the speed and pressure can be adjusted to reduce energy consumption further during periods of low throughput or with less competent ore types.
There are many options open to both new and existing mines when it comes to reducing the energy intensity of their operations, and particularly comminution circuits. As demonstrated above, the potential return on investment associated with new technologies can be significant, and reputable OEMs can tailor or build solutions to fit specific needs.
Grinding circuits are fed at a controlled rate from the stockpile or bins holding the crusher plant product. There may be a number of grinding circuits in parallel, each circuit taking a definite fraction of the feed. An example is the Highland Valley Cu/Mo plant with five parallel grinding lines (Chapter 12). Parallel mill circuits increase circuit flexibility, since individual units can be shut down or the feed rate can be changed, with a manageable effect on production. Fewer mills are, however, easier to control and capital and installation costs are lower, so the number of mills must be decided at the design stage.
The high unit capacity SAG mill/ball mill circuit is dominant today and has contributed toward substantial savings in capital and operating costs, which has in turn made many low-grade, high-tonnage operations such as copper and gold ores feasible. Future circuits may see increasing use of high pressure grinding rolls (Rosas et al., 2012).
Autogenous grinding or semi-autogenous grinding mills can be operated in open or closed circuit. However, even in open circuit, a coarse classifier such as a trommel attached to the mill, or a vibrating screen can be used. The oversize material is recycled either externally or internally. In internal recycling, the coarse material is conveyed by a reverse spiral or water jet back down the center of the trommel into the mill. External recycling can be continuous, achieved by conveyor belt, or is batch where the material is stockpiled and periodically fed back into the mill by front-end loader.
In Figure 7.35 shows the SAG mill closed with a crusher (recycle or pebble crusher). In SAG mill operation, the grinding rate passes through a minimum at a critical size (Chapter 5), which represents material too large to be broken by the steel grinding media, but has a low self-breakage rate. If the critical size material, typically 2550mm, is accumulated the mill energy efficiency will deteriorate, and the mill feed rate decreases. As a solution, additional large holes, or pebble ports (e.g., 40100mm), are cut into the mill grate, allowing coarse material to exit the mill. The crusher in closed circuit is then used to reduce the size of the critical size material and return it to the mill. As the pebble ports also allow steel balls to exit, a steel removal system (such as a guard magnet, Chapters 2 and 13Chapter 2Chapter 13) must be installed to prevent them from entering the crusher. (Because of this requirement, closing a SAG mill with a crusher is not used in magnetic iron ore grinding circuits.) This circuit configuration is common as it usually produces a significant increase in throughput and energy efficiency due to the removal of the critical size material.
An example SABC-A circuit is the Cadia Hill Gold Mine, New South Wales, Australia (Dunne et al., 2001). The project economics study indicated a single grinding line. The circuit comprises a SAG mill, 12m diameter by 6.1m length (belly inside liners, the effective grinding volume), two pebble crushers, and two ball mills in parallel closed with cyclones. The SAG mill is fitted with a 20MW gearless drive motor with bi-directional rotational capacity. (Reversing direction evens out wear on liners with symmetrical profile and prolongs operating time.) The SAG mill was designed to treat 2,065t h1 of ore at a ball charge of 8% volume, total filling of 25% volume, and an operating mill speed of 74% of critical. The mill is fitted with 80mm grates with total grate open area of 7.66m2 (Hart et al., 2001). A 4.5m diameter by 5.2m long trommel screens the discharge product at a cut size of ca. 12mm. Material less than 12mm falls into a cyclone feed sump, where it is combined with discharge from the ball mills. Oversize pebbles from the trommel are conveyed to a surge bin of 735t capacity, adjacent to the pebble crushers. Two cone crushers with a closed side set of 1216mm are used to crush the pebbles with a designed product P80 of 12mm and an expected total recycle pebble rate of 725t h1. The crushed pebbles fall directly onto the SAG mill feed belt and return to the SAG mill.
SAG mill product feeds two parallel ball mills of 6.6m11.1m (internal diameterlength), each with a 9.7MW twin pinion drive. The ball mills are operated at a ball charge volume of 3032% and 78.5% critical speed. The SAG mill trommel undersize is combined with the ball mills discharge and pumped to two parallel packs (clusters) of twelve 660mm diameter cyclones. The cyclone underflow from each line reports to a ball mill, while the cyclone overflow is directed to the flotation circuit. The designed ball milling circuit product is 80% passing 150m.
Several large tonnage copper porphyry plants in Chile use an open-circuit SAG configuration where the pebble crusher product is directed to the ball mills (SABC-B circuit). The original grinding circuit at Los Bronces is an example: the pebbles generated in the two SAG mills are crushed in a satellite pebble crushing plant, and then are conveyed to the three ball mills (Mogla and Grunwald, 2008).
Hydrocyclones have come to dominate classification when dealing with fine particle sizes in closed grinding circuits (<200m). However, recent developments in screen technology (Chapter 8) have renewed interest in using screens in grinding circuits. Screens separate on the basis of size and are not directly influenced by the density spread in the feed minerals. This can be an advantage. Screens also do not have a bypass fraction, and as Example 9.2 has shown, bypass can be quite large (over 30% in that case). Figure 9.8 shows an example of the difference in partition curve for cyclones and screens. The data is from the El Brocal concentrator in Peru with evaluations before and after the hydrocyclones were replaced with a Derrick Stack Sizer (see Chapter 8) in the grinding circuit (Dndar et al., 2014). Consistent with expectation, compared to the cyclone the screen had a sharper separation (slope of curve is higher) and little bypass. An increase in grinding circuit capacity was reported due to higher breakage rates after implementing the screen. This was attributed to the elimination of the bypass, reducing the amount of fine material sent back to the grinding mills which tends to cushion particleparticle impacts.
Circulation of material occurs in several parts of a mineral processing flowsheet, in grinding and flotation circuits, for example, as well as the crushing stage. In the present context, the circulating load (C) is the mass of coarse material returned from the screen to the crusher relative to the circuit final product (or fresh feed to the circuit), often quoted as a percentage. Figure 8.2 shows two closed circuit arrangements. Circuit (a) was considered in Chapter 6 (Example 6.1), and circuit (b) is an alternative. The symbols have the same meaning as before. The relationship of circulating load to screen efficiency for circuit (a) was derived in Example 6.1, namely (where all factors are as fractions):
The circulating load as a function of screen efficiency for the two circuits is shown in Figure 8.3. The circulating load increases with decreasing screen efficiency and as crusher product coarsens (f or r decreases), which is related to the crusher set (specifically the closed side setting, c.s.s.). For circuit (a) C also increases as the fresh feed coarsens (n decreases), which is likely coming from another crusher. In this manner, the circulating load can be related to crusher settings.
In industrial grinding process, in addition to goal of productivity maximization, other purposes of deterministic grinding circuit optimization have to satisfy the upper bound constraints on the control variables. We know that there lies a tradeoff between the throughput (TP) and the percent passing of midsize classes (MS) from the previous work of Mitra and Gopinath,2004. In deterministic optimization formulation, there are certain parameters which we will assume them as constant. But, in real life that may not be case. There are such six parameters in our industrial grinding process which are R, B, R, B are the grindability indices and grindability exponents for the rod mill (RMGI) and the ball mill (BMGI); and P, S are the sharpness indices for the primary (PCSI) and secondary cyclones (SCSI). These parameters are treated as constant in deterministic formulation. As they are going to be treated as uncertain parameters in the OUU formulation. These parameters are assumed uncertain because most of them are obtained from the regression of experimental data and thus are subject to uncertainty due to experimental and regression errors. In the next part of the section, we consider them as fuzzy numbers and solve the OUU problem by FEVM. In FEVM formulation, the uncertain parameters are considered as fuzzy numbers and the uncertain formulation is transformed into the deterministic formulation by expectation calculations for both objective function and constraints. So, the converted deterministic multi-objective optimization problem is expressed as:
Another spinning batch concentrator (Figure 10.27), it is designed principally for the recovery of free gold in grinding circuit classifier underflows where, again, a very small (<1%) mass pull to concentrate is required. The feed first flows up the sides of a cone-shaped bowl, where it stratifies according to particle density before passing over a concentrate bed fluidized from behind by back-pressure (process) water. The bed retains dense particles such as gold, and lighter gangue particles are washed over the top. Periodically the feed is stopped, the bed rinsed to remove any remaining lights and is then flushed out as the heavy product. Rinsing/flushing frequency, which is under automatic control, is determined from grade and recovery requirements.
The units come in several designs, the Semi-Batch (SB), Ultrafine (UF), and i-Con, designed for small scale and artisanal miners. The first installation was at the Blackdome Gold Mine, British Columbia, Canada, in 1986 (Nesset, 2011).
These two batch centrifugal concentrators have been widely applied in the recovery of gold, platinum, silver, mercury, and native copper; continuous versions are also operational, the Knelson Continuous Variable Discharge (CVD) and the Falcon Continuous (C) (Klein et al., 2010; Nesset, 2011).
To liberate minerals from sparsely distributed and depleting the ore bodies finer grinding than generally obtained by the conventional Rod Mill Ball Mill grinding circuits is needed. Longer grinding periods in the conventional milling processes prove too expensive mainly due to large power consumption. Stirrer mills have been tried in mineral industry with considerable success and have therefore been increasingly used. In this chapter, the theories involved in the design and operation of these mills, as established till now, are explained. Further theoretical studies and designs of the mills are still in progress for a better understanding and improved operation. Presently, the mills have been proved to be economically viable and the mineral of interest conducive to improved recovery and grade.
IMP Technologies Pty. Ltd. has recently tested a pilot-scale super fine crusher that operates on dry ore and is envisaged as a possible alternative to fine or ultra-fine grinding circuits (Kelsey and Kelly, 2014). The unit includes a rotating compression chamber and an internal gyrating mandrel (Figure 6.13). Material is fed into the compression chamber and builds until the gyratory motion of the mandrel is engaged. Axial displacement of the compression chamber and the gyratory motion of the mandrel result in fine grinding of the feed material. In one example, a feed F80 of 300m was reduced to P80 of 8m, estimated to be the equivalent to two stages of grinding. This development is the latest in a resurgence in crushing technology resulting from the competition of AG/SAG milling and the demands for increased comminution energy efficiency.
The iron oxide crystal grains in most iron ores are not evenly distributed in size. Spiral separators can therefore be used to take out the coarser iron oxide grains in the primary grinding circuit to save grinding energy and help achieve a higher iron recovery. Figure 9.14 presents a typical flow sheet for processing an oxidized ore containing about 30% Fe using a combination of spiral and SLon magnetite separators and reverse flotation. This ore is mainly composed of hematite, magnetite, and quartz, and the iron oxide crystals range in size from 0.005 to 1.0mm with an average size of about 0.05mm. The average size of the quartz crystals is approximately 0.085mm.
In the primary grinding stage of the flow sheet in Figure 9.14, the ore is first ground down to about 60% -75m and then classified into two size fractions, a coarse size fraction and a fine size fraction. The coarse size fraction is treated with spiral separators to recover part of the final iron ore concentrate. Then, drum LIMS and SLon magnetic separators are used to reject some of the coarse gangue minerals as final tailings. The magnetic products from the LIMS and SLon are sent back to the secondary ball mill for regrinding, and the milled product returns to the primary cyclone classifier.
The fine size fraction is about 90% -75m and is processed using drum LIMS separators and SLon magnetic separators in series to take out the magnetite and hematite, respectively. The magnetic products from the magnetic separators are mixed to generate the feed for reverse flotation to produce another component of the final iron ore concentrate.
The key advantage of this flow sheet lies in the fact that the spirals and SLon magnetic separators take out about 20% of the mass of the final iron concentrate and about 20% of the mass of the final tailings, respectively, from the coarse size fraction. This greatly reduces the masses being fed to the secondary ball mill and reverse flotation, thereby greatly reducing the total processing cost. From the plant results for this flow sheet, an iron concentrate containing 67.5% Fe could be produced from a run-of-mine ore containing 30.1% Fe, at a mass yield to the iron concentrate of 34.9%, an iron recovery of 78.0%, and a tailings grade of 10.2% Fe.
The first step of physical beneficiation is crushing and grinding the iron ore to its liberation size, the maximum size where individual particles of gangue are separated from the iron minerals. A flow sheet of a typical iron ore crushing and grinding circuit is shown in Figure 1.2.2 (based on Ref. ). This type of flow sheet is usually followed when the crude ore contains below 30% iron. The number of steps involved in crushing and grinding depends on various factors such as the hardness of the ore and the level of impurities present .
Jaw and gyratory crushers are used for initial size reduction to convert big rocks into small stones. This is generally followed by a cone crusher. A combination of rod mill and ball mills are then used if the ore must be ground below 325 mesh (45m). Instead of grinding the ore dry, slurry is used as feed for rod or ball mills, to avoid dusting. Oversize and undersize materials are separated using a screen; oversize material goes back for further grinding.
Typically, silica is the main gangue mineral that needs to be separated. Iron ore with high-silica content (more than about 2%) is not considered an acceptable feed for most DR processes. This is due to limitations not in the DR process itself, but the usual customer, an EAF steelmaking shop. EAFs are not designed to handle the large amounts of slag that result from using low-grade iron ores, which makes the BF a better choice in this situation. Besides silica, phosphorus, sulfur, and manganese are other impurities that are not desirable in the product and are removed from the crude ore, if economically and technically feasible.
While used sometimes on final concentrates, such as Fe concentrates, to determine the Blaine number (average particle size deduced from surface area), and on tailings for control of paste thickeners, for example, the prime application is on cyclone overflow for grinding circuit control (Kongas and Saloheimo, 2009). Control of the grinding circuit to produce the target particle size distribution for flotation (or other mineral separation process) at target throughput maximizes efficient use of the installed power.
Continuous measurement of particle size in slurries has been available since 1971, the PSM (particle size monitor) system produced then by Armco Autometrics (subsequently by Svedala and now by Thermo Gamma-Metrics) having been installed in a number of mineral processing plants (Hathaway and Guthnals, 1976).
The PSM system uses ultrasound to determine particle size. This system consists of three sections: the air eliminator, the sensor section, and the electronics section. The air eliminator draws a sample from the process stream and removes entrained air bubbles (which otherwise act as particles in the measurement). The de-aerated pulp then passes between the sensors. Measurement depends on the varying absorption of ultrasonic waves in suspensions of different particle sizes. Since solids concentration also affects the absorption, two pairs of transmitters and receivers, operating at different frequencies, are employed to measure particle size and solids concentration of the pulp, the processing of this information being performed by the electronics. The Thermo GammaMetrics PSM-400MPX (Figure 4.18) handles slurries up to 60% w/w solids and outputs five size fractions simultaneously.
Other measurement principles are now in commercial form for slurries. Direct mechanical measurement of particle size between a moving and fixed ceramic tip, and laser diffraction systems are described by Kongas and Saloheimo (2009). Two recent additions are the CYCLONEtrac systems from CiDRA Minerals Processing (Maron et al., 2014), and the OPUS ultrasonic extinction system from Sympatec (Smith et al., 2010).
CiDRAs CYCLONEtrac PST (particle size tracking) system comprises a hardened probe that penetrates into the cyclone overflow pipe to contact the stream and effectively listens to the impacts of individual particles. The output is % above (or below) a given size and has been shown to compare well with sieve sizing (Maron et al., 2014). The OPUS ultrasonic extinction system (USE) transmits ultrasonic waves through a slurry that interact with the suspended particles. The detected signal is converted into a particle size distribution, the number of frequencies used giving the number of size classes measured. Applications on ores can cover a size range from 1 to 1,000m (Smith et al., 2010).
In addition to particles size, recent developments have included sensors to detect malfunctioning cyclones. Westendorf et al. (2015) describe the use of sensors (from Portage Technologies) on cyclone overflow and underflow piping. CiDRAs CYCLONEtrac OSM (oversize monitor) is attached to the outside of the cyclone overflow pipe and detects the acoustic signal as oversize particles (rocks) hit the pipe (Cirulis and Russell, 2011). The systems are readily installed on individual cyclones thus permitting poorly operating units to be identified and changed while allowing the cyclone battery to remain in operation. Figure 4.19 shows an installation of both CiDRA systems (PST, OSM) on the overflow pipe from a cyclone.
As Michigans newest mine in decades, were dedicated to keeping our employees safe, protecting the environment, and being a responsible community member. Eagle is the nations only primary nickel mine and is expected to produce 360 million pounds of nickel, 295 million pounds of copper and small amounts of other metals over its mine life (2014 to mid-2025). On the surface Eagle Mine encompasses roughly 150 acres, similar to a small 18 hole golf course. The ore body is accessed via a mile long decline tunnel, which starts off going east from the site and then turning to meet the orebody to the west of the surface facilities. The ore will be removed using an underground mining method called long-hole stope mining. Stopes are horizontal, open spaces created as ore is removed. Every other stope is mined and backfilled to maintain integrity before mining the surrounding stopes. When mining operations are completed, restoration will be implemented quickly and efficiently. In order to preserve the environment, its our goal to see that any land that has been disrupted during the mining process is returned to a natural state.
The Humboldt Mill is a historic brownfield site built by Cleveland Cliffs Iron Company in the 1950s for milling of iron ore from their adjacent open pit mine. Cleveland Cliffs ceased operations in the early 1980s and the pit began to naturally fill with water. The property was sold to Callahan Mining Company who began milling gold from the Ropes Gold Mine in 1985. Callahan used the pit to dispose of tailings underwater until operations ceased in the early 1990s. The last company to use the Mill was Mineral Processing Corporation, and for over a decade, the Mill sat idle, falling to disrepair. In 2008, Eagles former owner Rio Tinto purchased the Humboldt Mill. Eagle obtained the permits necessary to refurbish and operate the Mill in 2010 and thus invested more than $5 million to clean-up past mining waste. Construction and equipment upgrades to the Mill began in 2012 to prepare the facility for production in 2014. Over $275 million was invested to bring the historic Mill back into operations. The Mill uses conventional crushing, grinding, and floatation methods to produce separate nickel and copper concentrates. Approximately 2,000 metric tonnes of ore will be milledper day. By utilizing the Humboldt Mill, we are able to extract more nickel and copper at lower grades. This leads to a better use of the mineral resource, more taxes and a longer mine life.
iron processing, use of a smelting process to turn the ore into a form from which products can be fashioned. Included in this article also is a discussion of the mining of iron and of its preparation for smelting.
Iron (Fe) is a relatively dense metal with a silvery white appearance and distinctive magnetic properties. It constitutes 5 percent by weight of the Earths crust, and it is the fourth most abundant element after oxygen, silicon, and aluminum. It melts at a temperature of 1,538 C (2,800 F).
Iron is allotropicthat is, it exists in different forms. Its crystal structure is either body-centred cubic (bcc) or face-centred cubic (fcc), depending on the temperature. In both crystallographic modifications, the basic configuration is a cube with iron atoms located at the corners. There is an extra atom in the centre of each cube in the bcc modification and in the centre of each face in the fcc. At room temperature, pure iron has a bcc structure referred to as alpha-ferrite; this persists until the temperature is raised to 912 C (1,674 F), when it transforms into an fcc arrangement known as austenite. With further heating, austenite remains until the temperature reaches 1,394 C (2,541 F), at which point the bcc structure reappears. This form of iron, called delta-ferrite, remains until the melting point is reached.
The pure metal is malleable and can be easily shaped by hammering, but apart from specialized electrical applications it is rarely used without adding other elements to improve its properties. Mostly it appears in iron-carbon alloys such as steels, which contain between 0.003 and about 2 percent carbon (the majority lying in the range of 0.01 to 1.2 percent), and cast irons with 2 to 4 percent carbon. At the carbon contents typical of steels, iron carbide (Fe3C), also known as cementite, is formed; this leads to the formation of pearlite, which in a microscope can be seen to consist of alternate laths of alpha-ferrite and cementite. Cementite is harder and stronger than ferrite but is much less malleable, so that vastly differing mechanical properties are obtained by varying the amount of carbon. At the higher carbon contents typical of cast irons, carbon may separate out as either cementite or graphite, depending on the manufacturing conditions. Again, a wide range of properties is obtained. This versatility of iron-carbon alloys leads to their widespread use in engineering and explains why iron is by far the most important of all the industrial metals.
There is evidence that meteorites were used as a source of iron before 3000 bc, but extraction of the metal from ores dates from about 2000 bc. Production seems to have started in the copper-producing regions of Anatolia and Persia, where the use of iron compounds as fluxes to assist in melting may have accidentally caused metallic iron to accumulate on the bottoms of copper smelting furnaces. When iron making was properly established, two types of furnace came into use. Bowl furnaces were constructed by digging a small hole in the ground and arranging for air from a bellows to be introduced through a pipe or tuyere. Stone-built shaft furnaces, on the other hand, relied on natural draft, although they too sometimes used tuyeres. In both cases, smelting involved creating a bed of red-hot charcoal to which iron ore mixed with more charcoal was added. Chemical reduction of the ore then occurred, but, since primitive furnaces were incapable of reaching temperatures higher than 1,150 C (2,100 F), the normal product was a solid lump of metal known as a bloom. This may have weighed up to 5 kilograms (11 pounds) and consisted of almost pure iron with some entrapped slag and pieces of charcoal. The manufacture of iron artifacts then required a shaping operation, which involved heating blooms in a fire and hammering the red-hot metal to produce the desired objects. Iron made in this way is known as wrought iron. Sometimes too much charcoal seems to have been used, and iron-carbon alloys, which have lower melting points and can be cast into simple shapes, were made unintentionally. The applications of this cast iron were limited because of its brittleness, and in the early Iron Age only the Chinese seem to have exploited it. Elsewhere, wrought iron was the preferred material.
Although the Romans built furnaces with a pit into which slag could be run off, little change in iron-making methods occurred until medieval times. By the 15th century, many bloomeries used low shaft furnaces with water power to drive the bellows, and the bloom, which might weigh over 100 kilograms, was extracted through the top of the shaft. The final version of this kind of bloomery hearth was the Catalan forge, which survived in Spain until the 19th century. Another design, the high bloomery furnace, had a taller shaft and evolved into the 3-metre- (10-foot-) high Stckofen, which produced blooms so large they had to be removed through a front opening in the furnace.
The blast furnace appeared in Europe in the 15th century when it was realized that cast iron could be used to make one-piece guns with good pressure-retaining properties, but whether its introduction was due to Chinese influence or was an independent development is unknown. At first, the differences between a blast furnace and a Stckofen were slight. Both had square cross sections, and the main changes required for blast-furnace operation were an increase in the ratio of charcoal to ore in the charge and a taphole for the removal of liquid iron. The product of the blast furnace became known as pig iron from the method of casting, which involved running the liquid into a main channel connected at right angles to a number of shorter channels. The whole arrangement resembled a sow suckling her litter, and so the lengths of solid iron from the shorter channels were known as pigs.
Despite the military demand for cast iron, most civil applications required malleable iron, which until then had been made directly in a bloomery. The arrival of blast furnaces, however, opened up an alternative manufacturing route; this involved converting cast iron to wrought iron by a process known as fining. Pieces of cast iron were placed on a finery hearth, on which charcoal was being burned with a plentiful supply of air, so that carbon in the iron was removed by oxidation, leaving semisolid malleable iron behind. From the 15th century on, this two-stage process gradually replaced direct iron making, which nevertheless survived into the 19th century.
By the middle of the 16th century, blast furnaces were being operated more or less continuously in southeastern England. Increased iron production led to a scarcity of wood for charcoal and to its subsequent replacement by coal in the form of cokea discovery that is usually credited to Abraham Darby in 1709. Because the higher strength of coke enabled it to support a bigger charge, much larger furnaces became possible, and weekly outputs of 5 to 10 tons of pig iron were achieved.
Next, the advent of the steam engine to drive blowing cylinders meant that the blast furnace could be provided with more air. This created the potential problem that pig iron production would far exceed the capacity of the finery process. Accelerating the conversion of pig iron to malleable iron was attempted by a number of inventors, but the most successful was the Englishman Henry Cort, who patented his puddling furnace in 1784. Cort used a coal-fired reverberatory furnace to melt a charge of pig iron to which iron oxide was added to make a slag. Agitating the resultant puddle of metal caused carbon to be removed by oxidation (together with silicon, phosphorus, and manganese). As a result, the melting point of the metal rose so that it became semisolid, although the slag remained quite fluid. The metal was then formed into balls and freed from as much slag as possible before being removed from the furnace and squeezed in a hammer. For a short time, puddling furnaces were able to provide enough iron to meet the demands for machinery, but once again blast-furnace capacity raced ahead as a result of the Scotsman James Beaumont Nielsens invention in 1828 of the hot-blast stove for preheating blast air and the realization that a round furnace performed better than a square one.
The eventual decline in the use of wrought iron was brought about by a series of inventions that allowed furnaces to operate at temperatures high enough to melt iron. It was then possible to produce steel, which is a superior material. First, in 1856, Henry Bessemer patented his converter process for blowing air through molten pig iron, and in 1861 William Siemens took out a patent for his regenerative open-hearth furnace. In 1879 Sidney Gilchrist Thomas and Percy Gilchrist adapted the Bessemer converter for use with phosphoric pig iron; as a result, the basic Bessemer, or Thomas, process was widely adopted on the continent of Europe, where high-phosphorus iron ores were abundant. For about 100 years, the open-hearth and Bessemer-based processes were jointly responsible for most of the steel that was made, before they were replaced by the basic oxygen and electric-arc furnaces.
Apart from the injection of part of the fuel through tuyeres, the blast furnace has employed the same operating principles since the early 19th century. Furnace size has increased markedly, however, and one large modern furnace can supply a steelmaking plant with up to 10,000 tons of liquid iron per day.
Throughout the 20th century, many new iron-making processes were proposed, but it was not until the 1950s that potential substitutes for the blast furnace emerged. Direct reduction, in which iron ores are reduced at temperatures below the metals melting point, had its origin in such experiments as the Wiberg-Soderfors process introduced in Sweden in 1952 and the HyL process introduced in Mexico in 1957. Few of these techniques survived, and those that did were extensively modified. Another alternative iron-making method, smelting reduction, had its forerunners in the electric furnaces used to make liquid iron in Sweden and Norway in the 1920s. The technique grew to include methods based on oxygen steelmaking converters using coal as a source of additional energy, and in the 1980s it became the focus of extensive research and development activity in Europe, Japan, and the United States.Get in Touch with Mechanic