Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Journal of the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy]]> vol. 111 num. 6 lang. pt <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[<b>Facts and footsteps forward</b>]]> <![CDATA[<b>The face of mining in Africa</b>]]> <![CDATA[<b>A mathematical model of laser surface heat-cooling treatment for medium carbon steel</b>]]> SYNOPSIS One of the most effective methods of metal surface heat treatment is through laser hardening. In most cases, laser parameters are determined experimentally, which is expensive and time-consuming. A mathematical model for the surface heat treatment process will allow a significant decrease in costs, and reduce the time required for optimization. In the present work, the authors present a mathematical model for laser heat treatment with forced cooling which can be applied to medium carbon steel. The model is based on a three-dimensional heat transfer equation using Green's function. The model allows one to calculate the temperature of the treated steel at different depths below the surface with and without cooling, for set values of the laser power and travelling speed, when the heat transfer coefficient is a known constant. It also takes variations in the radiation adsorption coefficient on the metal surface and laser beam spot size into account. The model was illustrated by comparing calculated and experimental temperature profiles of mild carbon steel with 0.5% C with and without cooling. A reasonably good agreement was achieved between experimental and predicted values to ensure that a high enough austenizing temperature with short enough cooling time was reached for direct martensite formation. It also predicted the depth of treatment accurately. The incorporation of cooling in the model substantially improves previous models based on heat transfer only. It delivers a tool that can with a reasonable accuracy predict the depth of surface heat treatment and cooling time required from operational parameters, such as laser power, speed of motion, and distance between laser and cooling source, that can be controlled in the work set-up. This can eliminate trial and error efforts and result in significant time and cost savings. <![CDATA[<b>Evaluation of reductants used for ilmenite smelting based on CO<sub>2 </sub>reactivity (Boudouard reaction) measurement</b>]]> SYNOPSIS The practice of ilmenite smelting in electric arc furnaces has been researched and published over the last few decades. An issue that has not been addressed is the understanding of the properties of ilmenite smelting reductants, and linking these properties to the subsequent smelting behaviour in the furnace. The reduction mechanism of ilmenite smelting is not fully understood, but it is believed that the Boudouard reaction plays a role. This paper investigates the behaviour of a number of reductants when reacted with CO2 at different temperatures. <![CDATA[<b>Review of the development work on the Mintek Thermal Magnesium Process (MTMP)</b>]]> SYNOPSIS The Mintek Thermal Magnesium Process (MTMP) process is based on DC open arc metallothermic smelting of calcined dolomite at normal pressure and temperatures of 1650-1750ºC. The process was demonstrated at the pilot scale in the period 2000-2004. Major changes to the MTMP pilot plant were made throughout the development period, which lasted for about five years. The changes included design and installation of new equipment, modification of existing equipment, changes in the metallurgical approach in terms of feed rates, feed recipes, furnace operating temperatures, cold and hot dolime feeding, and steady and systematic changes in the operating procedures and maintenance of the plant. As a result, the performance of the pilot plant gradually improved from one campaign to the next, in terms of availability and in particular the condensation efficiency. In Run 10, the process was successfully demonstrated over an 8-day campaign. <![CDATA[<b>Gravity separator performance evaluation using Qemscan<sup>® </sup>particle mineral analysis</b>]]> SYNOPSIS In a gravity separation device, particle shape, size and density all play a role. The combination of these determines where each individual particle reports to in the viscous fluid, where particle crowding (solids to water ratio) also plays a role. To understand the performance of gravity separation devices in the heavy mineral industry, these particle characteristics need to be measured. There are various challenges in analysing particle density and particle size simultaneously for the purpose of quantifying gravity separator performance, not to mention particle shape. These analytical challenges include the high cost of high-density sink-float fractionation, toxicity of high-density sink-float media, inability of sink-float media to fractionate at densities greater than 4.0 g/cm³, and the time-intensive nature of these fractionations. The use of the detailed particle-by-particle output from Qemscan® particle mineral analyses (PMA) as a fast and cost-effective alternative is evaluated. The size and density outputs from the Qemscan® were employed to characterize the performance of a heavy mineral spiral concentrator as an example. Critical analytical requirements are to be addressed before the Qemscan® output data can be utilized. <![CDATA[<b>Potential metallurgical treatment of copper concentrates with high arsenic contents</b>]]> SYNOPSIS This paper investigates a potential method for arsenic removal from copper concentrates using hypochlorite leaching. The problems concerning pyrometallurgical processing of copper concentrates with high arsenic contents are discussed. A possible solution to the problem by leaching of natural enargite crystals with sodium hypochlorite under alkaline oxidizing conditions, with enargite converted into crystalline CuO and the soluble arsenic forming AsO4(3-), was experimentally investigated and results are presented. Kinetic parameters were calculated for enargite leaching, using a model-free approach. Advanced isoconversional methods were used to investigate the dependence of activation energy (Ea) on reaction rate (α). <![CDATA[<b>Sulfide-type inclusion morphologies of a Ca-treated hot-rolled wheel steel</b>]]> SYNOPSIS In this study, sulfide-type inclusion morphologies of a Ca-treated hot-rolled wheel steel, Grade-X, were investigated. The specimens taken from the hot-rolled products of Grade-X heats were studied. The size and distribution of elongated sulfide inclusions were examined for the heats of different S levels. Elongated sulfide inclusions were either not observed or rarely encountered when ladle analysis S content was below 50 ppm. The size and relative abundance of sulfide inclusions were reported to increase markedly when the S composition was greater than or equal to 70 ppm and the Ca/S ratio was less than 0.50. The effect of Ti addition (0.010-0.020% Ti) on sulfide-type inclusion morphologies was then investigated for heats having a sulfur content higher than 50 ppm. Addition of Ti was found to have a partial effect on decreasing the size of sulfide-type inclusions under real steelmaking conditions. <![CDATA[<b>Magnesia refractory dryout-managing the risk of hydration</b>]]> SYNOPSIS In 2002 the commissioning of an ilmenite smelter on the North Coast of South Africa was extended by three months due to the failure and subsequent replacement of the magnesia-based refractory lining. The lining failed due to the hydration of magnesia caused by an unexpected source of water. The incident resulted in significant financial losses and a prolonged insurance claim which was settled in 2009. As magnesia-based refractories are used extensively in both ferrous and non-ferrous applications, the authors of the paper want to share the experience gained from this incident with others. The paper reviews the literature available on furnace start-up practices and explains the hydration of magnesia using available sources. The incident is studied in more detail, both technically and economically, and the costs incurred are quantified in terms of the cost of the original lining. The paper concludes with lessons learned and recommendations made for future work. The intention of the paper is to stimulate open debate regarding best practices in preheating of furnaces lined primarily with magnesia. <![CDATA[<b>Rock drillability prediction from in situ determined unconfined compressive strength of rock</b>]]> SYNOPSIS The interaction between rock and drill bit during drilling has been modeled for many years, but a complete understanding of the phenomena occurring has yet to materialize. Successful models will allow the prediction of rate of penetration in a given environment and optimal selection of drill bit and drilling parameters, thus minimizing exploration costs. In most rock-drilling models the value of the unconfined compressive strength of the rock (UCS) is used in the predictive equations, within the concept of specific energy, and the value of UCS is the percentage of the value of the stress applied on the drilling bit in order for the bit to advance. While the exact percentage depends on the model used and it is not known with certainty, good knowledge of UCS is never-theless required before any decent prediction can be made on rate of penetration. Determination of UCS, normally done via destructive testing, requires not only the availability of sound rock core samples but also expensive testing and significant time for the test, which frequently are not available for routine drillability predictions. Hence, a multitude of methods and techniques has been proposed for estimating UCS from various indirect and/or non-destructive measurements, or combination of measurements with neural networks, such as point load index, block punch index, unit weight, and apparent porosity, water absorption by weight, sonic velocity, and Schmidt hardness. The many proposed approaches are critically reviewed and the results are compared, and what becomes apparent is that after many years, not only in mining but also in oil-well drilling, accurate indirect determination of UCS is still an elusive goal. An equation to predict UCS from sonic velocity data is suggested based on several data sets reported in the literature. Use of the specific energy equation with UCS or sonic data and utilization of drilling data allows an estimation of the efficiency of energy transfer from the bit to the rock and of the friction coefficient. Analysis of data reported in the literature, both from laboratory and field studies, has shown that this approach is sound and enables the determination of energy transfer efficiencies and friction coefficients, which for the cases studied range between 15 and 30% and 0.15 and 0.30 respectively. Thus, the suggested data analysis approach allows drillers to focus on inefficiencies and optimize drilling practices in future campaigns. <![CDATA[<b>Reducing water consumption at Skorpion Zinc</b>]]> SYNOPSIS The minerals industry is committed to the principles of sustainability. Reducing water consumption is a priority area, especially for regions of water scarcity. This paper presents a systemic optimization of the water balance of the Skorpion Zinc refinery with the aim of reducing water consumption. An Aspen Plus simulation of the process is used. The validity of the simulation is tested by measuring key output variables and comparing results to plant data. A number of water minimization scenarios are investigated, including unit operation and circuit configuration changes. The scenarios leading to the largest reduction in water consumption are through the full recycle of treated effluent water, which results in water savings of up to 19%. Reducing process water and/or recycling of untreated water is prohibited by the build-up of trace elements, which affect product purity. The Skorpion process already features a highly optimized water balance, with unit operational changes merely resulting in a shift in the water balance. Consequently, the largest area for improvement is through the reuse of effluent water.