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Journal of the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy

Print version ISSN 0038-223X

Abstract

DWORZANOWSKI, M. Maximizing the recovery of fine iron ore using magnetic separation. J. S. Afr. Inst. Min. Metall. [online]. 2012, vol.112, n.3, pp. 197-202. ISSN 0038-223X.

The beneficiation of fine iron ore will increase in importance in the future because most new iron ore resources will be in the form of lower grade ore deposits that will require liberation of iron ore minerals at finer sizes. Generally this fine iron ore will be benefi-ciated to produce a pelletizing concentrate with very strict chemical and physical specifications. In addition, because of the increasing demand for iron ore there are now more opportunities to produce by-product iron ore from mining operations producing other commodities. In the past the associated iron ore minerals would report to final tailings but now there is potential value to be realised from by-product revenue. These by-product iron ore opportunities are almost all centred on producing pelletizing concentrate. Currently pelletizing concentrates are produced mainly by various combinations of flotation and magnetic separation. The selection of the beneficiation route will depend on ore mineralogy and considerations around plant capacity and final concentrate quality. The main economic iron minerals are magnetic, haematite being paramagnetic and magnetite being ferromagnetic. This, therefore, means that magnetic separation can be applied, in principle, to all fine iron-ore beneficiation plants. While flotation has a considerable capacity advantage over magnetic separation, the real advantage of magnetic separation over flotation in fine iron-ore beneficiation is that treatment of -10 µm iron ore is possible-in flotation, the feed is deslimed at 10 µm and the -10 µm stream is considered to be final tailings, even though there is often a significant amount of contained iron ore. This paper describes a study around the recovery of fine magnetite in the form of a pelletizing concentrate. The study is based on an evaluation of an iron ore by-product opportunity from an iron oxide copper-gold (IOCG) deposit. Experiments were conducted to quantify the differences in magnetic separation performance with decrease in particle size treated. A mineralogical evaluation of all the test work products was undertaken to facilitate the interpretation of the test work results. These results were then used to propose an economically viable flowsheet for maximizing fine magnetite recovery using magnetic separation.

Keywords : magnetite; magnetic flocculation; magnetic susceptibility; Davis tube; pelletizing concentrate.

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