Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Journal of the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy]]> vol. 114 num. 7 lang. es <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[<b>Journal Comment</b>]]> <![CDATA[<b>President's Corner</b>]]> <![CDATA[<b>Report back on the ITA 2014 General Assembly Fortieth Annual Meeting held at Iguassu Falls, Brazil</b>]]> <![CDATA[<b>Professional registration with the Engineering Council of South Africa (ECSA)</b>]]> <![CDATA[<b>Lynne Wilson Pearson van den Bosch</b>]]> <![CDATA[<b>Production of pelletizing concentrates from Zandrivierspoort magnetite/haematite ore by magnetic separation</b>]]> Kumba Iron Ore's Zandrivierspoort (ZRP) magnetite-haematite project aims to mine and beneficiate a magnetite resource with low contaminant levels to produce from 1 Mt/a to 2.5 Mt/a product, which will be either a concentrate, micro-pellets for direct reduction, or blast furnace pellets. Anglo American Technical Solutions Research conducted a number of piloting campaigns to validate the process design flow sheet, demonstrate process performance, and to generate data for use as a design basis. Secondary to this, the pilot plant was to produce approximately 7 t of magnetite-haematite concentrate with low enough SiO2 to be used as feedstock for pelletizing studies. The pilot plant achieved 34.2% mass yield, at 69.0% Fe, 2.2% SiO2, from an IsaMill grind of 80% -45 µm. This product quality will compare favourably to other leading direct reduction (DR) pelletizing concentrates. However, two-stage comminution to 80% -75 µm and beneficiation of ZRP ore will produce a blast furnace (BF) quality pelletizing concentrate, indicative quality being 67.6% Fe and 4% SiO2, at higher mass yields. An economic evaluation between producing a DR and a BF pelletizing concentrate will have to be conducted prior to finalizing the concentrate production flow sheet. <![CDATA[<b>The Lamella High Shear Rate REFLUX</b><b>™</b><b> Classifier</b>]]> This paper covers the commercial development of gravity separation of fine particles using a Lamella High Shear Rate REFLUX™ Classifier (REFLUX™ Classifier), focusing primarily on coal applications. The REFLUX™ Classifier is a fluidized bed device that incorporates a system of closely spaced parallel inclined channels located above the fluidized bed. These channels make it possible to achieve a significant suppression of the effects of particle size, resulting in a highly effective separation on the basis of density. The improved gravity separation performance is shown to be remarkably high, with a significant reduction in the variation of separation density with particle size, and a significant reduction in the change in Ecart probable error (Ep) with size. The first full commercial-sized units of the REFLUX™ Classifier were field-tested in late 2009 in coal applications. More recently, the technology has been applied in fine particle separation in minerals applications and there are a number of full-sized units operating in chrome applications in South Africa. Initially, pilot-scaled units (typically the RC™300) were trialled in iron ore, mineral sands, and manganese plants amongst other minerals, typically after other technologies failed to achieve the desired results. Currently a number of laboratories globally are carrying out more testing in minerals applications. More than 50 RC™ units are now operating in coal and minerals applications. This paper introduces the REFLUX™ Classifier technology, identifies commercial applications, and gives some commercial results. <![CDATA[<b>The application of Baleen Filter microscreening technology at BECSA's South Export Plant</b>]]> This paper outlines an investigation into the recovery of saleable fractions of coal from 'as-arising' South Export Plant effluent streams, using Baleen microscreening technology. South Export Plant, a subdivision of BHP Billiton Energy Coal SA (BECSA) Coal Processing, is a two-module plant treating 2000 t/h. The nominally -150 µΐη coal is untreated and is therefore passed from classifying cyclones to the thickeners for process water recovery. The thickened underflow is pumped into a series of slurry cells for further settling and recovery of supernatant water. The marginal quality, moisture content, and handlebility of this settled material renders it unsuitable for inclusion into saleable products and it is thus stockpiled and trucked to designated pits for disposal. Over the years, stockpiling and trucking has become an overly expensive exercise. In an effort to recover some of this cost, a task team was assigned to investigate less costly options to process slurry across BECSA plants. Various technologies such as froth flotation, sieve bends, and Reflux Classifier were considered, although the results were generally not beneficial - this could be attributed to weathered/oxidized coal. A decision was made to pursue an alternative approach by testing the suitability of the new 'Baleen Filter'. The concept is to screen out the higher-grade fraction (+50 µm) as saleable product and reject the finer fractions to the slurry ponds. The Baleen Filter was found to effectively screen at an acceptable efficiency between 94% and 99.99%, with a very sharp cut-point (d50 and Ep). The actual yields from the screening results were better than the predicted yields in terms of both mass and energy as predicted from feedstock analysis. <![CDATA[<b>Positron emission particle tracking inside a laboratory batch jig</b>]]> Owing to decreasing high-grade ore reserves, there is a need for better understanding of the jigging process to improve the recovery efficiency of finer, lower grade material. The use of positron emission particle tracking (PEPT) was examined as a technique to study the motion of iron ore particles inside a laboratory batch jig. PEPT is a non-invasive method that can provide three-dimensional kinetic data on a particle in laboratory-scale processing units and has been successfully used to study mills, hydrocy-clones, and flotation. Experiments were conducted to determine whether PEPT would be a viable technique to study iron ore jigging and what valuable information could be obtained. The results indicated that detailed information on the stratification rate of a particle could be obtained, with adequate resolution to track the particle's movement through an individual jig pulse. <![CDATA[<b>The art and science of dense medium selection</b>]]> Medium suspensions play an integral part in the successful application of dense medium separation for both static and dynamic separators. Although models exist to predict particle movement as a function of medium density and viscosity, these models have been derived on the assumption of Newtonian rheology. Viscosity measurements of medium suspensions have shown that they are non-Newtonian, with a yield stress, and as such cannot be used in the existing models. As a result, medium selection remains an art based upon practical experience and indirect measurements of viscosity such as stability and cyclone differentials. <![CDATA[<b>Current trends in the development of new or optimization of existing diamond processing plants, with focus on beneficiation</b>]]> Gone are the days of stock-standard diamond beneficiation and final recovery circuits that could, with minor modifications, be adapted to treat any diamond-bearing ore source. A new era has dawned, offering the opportunity to streamline existing diamond processing operations or develop simpler, more efficient, and economical diamond processing plants, with the focus on more efficient comminution, beneficiation, and final recovery. This change in scene has been brought about by: ► The introduction, rapid development, and maturation of multiple comminution, sorting, and recovery technologies ► The need to adapt to a new standard of project approach post the commodity super-cycle phase, where optimizing existing operations and developing scalable, 'fit for purpose' new mines are fast becoming the norm in diamond processing plants in both primary and alluvial operations ► The quest for energy efficiency and lower labour costs ► More remote and inaccessible reserves (under lakes, tops of mountains etc.). This paper serves to identify some technology advances and demonstrates how these could be considered as replacements for or in combination with conventional technologies to arrive at an optimum techno-economic solution. To name a few applications/technologies: ► Comminution: conventional cone crusher, modified/specialized cone crusher, and the high-pressure grinding roll (HPGR). Although significant advances have been made in recent years, this paper only briefly covers comminution within the beneficiation circuit design ► Waste sorting: NIR (near-infrared) sorting, optical (colour) sorting, XRF (X-ray fluorescence) ► Primary concentration by combining dense media separation (DMS) with either XRT (X-ray transmissive), pulsed X-ray, jigs, or pan plants depending on the application, scale, and economics ► Final recovery of diamonds with either conventional X-ray technology, pulsed X-ray technology, or XRT. From recent studies, it can be concluded that there is no longer a standard solution, but rather the 'right' or appropriate solution. Through combining a sound knowledge of the ore source (ore dressing studies or on-mine data gathering) and leveraging off the advances in technologies, one is able, through trade-off studies, to arrive at the ultimate techno-economic configuration, the 'right' solution. Emphasis is placed on maximizing diamond recoveries through appropriate technology selection and minimizing the associated costs in an effort to de-bottleneck or improve efficiencies of existing diamond processing plants, or to arrive at the ideal new diamond process plant design. <![CDATA[<b>A simple framework for developing a concept beneficiation flow sheet</b>]]> Tasked with developing a flow sheet for a new resource, one typically turns the experts for help. The advice of an expert can be invaluable in reducing the time and costs associated with characterizing an ore (not to mention extracting maximum information from limited samples). While guiding and optimizing a metallurgical concept study requires a certain skill set, selling a project is something different. The metallurgical specialist is usually not responsible for sharing the results of investigations with potential investors. However, the person responsible for selling the project can ensure that a metallurgical concept study is conducted thoroughly and responsibly without having the ability to do the work, while being sufficiently familiar with the metallurgical aspects to authoritatively sell the project. The process of identifying suitable process routes through to constructing a concept flow sheet and mass balance is discussed as a basic example. From basic mineralogical information and a thorough literature survey, the most likely beneficiation routes can be identified and targeted testing conducted. The final top size will depend on the required product properties (mainly grade), the selected beneficiation technology, and the ore's liberation properties. Once the required top size has been identified, comminution options can be evaluated. Once again, literature surveys can be used to supplement concept-level comminution property information, and select possible equipment and circuit configurations. Marketing, material handling, and logistics-related information can be used to determine required dewatering technologies. At this stage, enough information is available to develop a concept mass balance and conduct basic equipment sizing. <![CDATA[<b>Maximizing haematite recovery within a fine and wide particle-size distribution using wet high-intensity magnetic separation</b>]]> The physical beneficiation of iron ore that has a wide particle-size distribution is problematic, regardless of the process applied, whether dense medium separation, gravity concentration, magnetic separation, or flotation. The problem of particle size is further compounded when there is a significant -10 µm fraction. Generally the approach to a wide particle-size distribution is to split into narrower size ranges and treat each separately. More often than not the -10 µm fraction is not treated but discarded. This approach results in a more complicated and expensive flow sheet and the loss of any potential value in the -10 µm fraction. Wet high-intensity magnetic separation (WHIMS) bench-scale test work was conducted on a haematite-rich material with a particle size of -200 µm What made this material different was that it contained a 60% -10 µm fraction, hence discarding the -10 µm material was not an option. The objective of the test work was to determine how to maximize the recovery of the haematite across the full particle size range. Given the unusual particle size distribution, it was concluded that WHIMS would be the only practical beneficiation route. The -200 +10 µm and -10 µm fractions were treated separately and together under varying WHIMS conditions. For a given concentrate grade, the mass yield obtained was greater when the total particle-size distribution was treated. The inferred optimum conditions, using the same material, were tested on a pilot-scale WHIMS and similar results were obtained. <![CDATA[<b>Operation and performance of the Sishen jig plant</b>]]> Sishen Iron Ore Mine previously used only A-grade material (>60% Fe in situ value) from the pit for beneficiating in the DMS plant to a final product grade of 66% Fe in lump and 65% Fe fine ore. The B-grade (between 50% and 60% Fe) and C-grade material (between 35% and 50% Fe) were stockpiled separately, owing to the inability of the existing DMS plant to beneficiate material at densities higher than 3600 kg/m3. The ability to beneficiate the B-grade material at densities higher than 3600 kg/m³ was evaluated, and air-pulsed jigs were found to be techno-economically feasible and value maximizing. The beneficiation of B-grade material would add to the existing DMS production of 28 Mt/a, with no additional mining cost and only limited costs for the handling of waste and B-material. The objective of the Sishen Expansion Project (SEP), i.e. the jig plant, was to produce 10 Mt/a of saleable product with six modules to the set physical and chemical specifications by 2009. During the start of construction, it was decided to add another two jig modules to the plant to increase production to 13 Mt/a. During commissioning and ramp-up the shortcomings and advantages of the jigs were fully experienced and understood, resulting in many changes to optimize jigging performance.