Journal of the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
On-line version ISSN 2411-9717
Spiral concentrators are compact, cost-effective and generally efficient gravity concentration separators for a wide range of applications (for example: coal, beach sands, iron ore, chromite and tantalite). Large mineral processing plants consist of thousands of spiral concentrators resulting in large plant footprints (capital intensive) and the adjustment of splitters is time consuming, impractical and is in many cases neglected-high capacity (HC) spiral concentrators aim to address these shortcomings. As a result Exxaro Namakwa Sands is currently investigating high capacity spiral technology for the spiral circuit upgrade at the primary concentrator plants (PCPs). This article summarizes the rougher spiral performance evaluation that was conducted on different types of spiral concentrators (the traditional MG4 spiral concentrator and the high capacity (HC) spiral concentrator) under different feed conditions. In addition, the effect of slimes on the spiral concentrator performance was also investigated. Slimes rheology was linked to the poor concentrator performance at the higher slimes concentrations. The test campaign shows a sacrifice in recovery under design-feed conditions can be expected when using high capacity spiral concentrators in the rougher stage when compared to traditional spiral technology currently in use. Both spiral concentrators show a detrimental impact of slimes on the performance, but the high capacity spiral concentrator is more sensitive to the higher slimes conditions.
Keywords : Spiral concentrators; high capacity spirals; slimes; heavy minerals.