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Mineral Processing
Size Reduction

Wahyu Wilopo

Department of Geological Engineering, Gadjah Mada University,


Yogyakarta 55281, Indonesia.

The Size Reduction Process


Minerals being crystals have a tendency to
break into endless numbers of sizes and shapes
every time they are introduced to energy.
The difficulty in size reduction lays in the art of
limiting the number of over and under sizes
produced during the reduction.
If this is not controlled, the mineral will follow its
natural crystal behaviour, normally ending up in
over-representation of fines.

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Note!
So, the trick when producing quality products from rock
or minerals (fillers excepted) is to keep the size reduction
curves as steep as possible.
Normally that is what we get paid for - the shorter or
more narrow fraction - the more value!
To achieve that goal we need to select the correct
equipment out of the repertoire for size reduction in a
proper way.
They are all different when it comes to reduction
technique, reduction ratio, feed size etc. and have to be
combined in the optimum way to reach or come close to
the requested size interval for the end product.

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Feed Material
All operations in size reduction, both crushing
and grinding are of course determined by the
feed characteristics of the minerals (rock/ore)
moving into the circuit.
The key parameters we need are the
crushability or grindability, also called work
index and the wear profile, called abrasion
index.
Values for some typical feed materials from
crushing of rocks, minerals and ore are
tabulated below.

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Reduction Ratio
As seen above all size reduction
operations are performed in stages. All
equipment involved, crushers or grinding
mills have different relation between feed
and discharge sizes.
This is called reduction ratio.
Typical values below

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The Art of Crushing


Crushing means different things for different operations
and the production goals are not always equal.

Crushing of Ore and Minerals


In these operations the value is achieved at the
fine end, say below 100 micron (150 mesh).
Normally the size reduction by crushing is of
limited importance besides the top size of the
product going to grinding.
This means that the number of crushing stages
can be reduced depending on the feed size
accepted by primary grinding stage.

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Crushing Calculation of
Reduction Ratio

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Selection of Crushers
Knowing the number of crushing stages
we can now start to select the correct
crusher for each reduction stage.
Depending on operating conditions, feed
size, capacity, hardness etc, there are
always some options.
For primary crushers, see below.

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Primary Crusher Type

Primary Crusher Sizing


Crushers are normally sized from top size of feed.
At a certain feed size, knowingthe capacity, we
can select the correct machine, see below.
A correct sizing of any crusher is not easy and the
charts below can only be usedfor guidance.
Ex. Feed is a blasted hard rock ore with top
size 750 mm. Capacity is 2000 t/h.
Which primary crusher can do the job?
Check on the two compression machines below
and take out the sizing point!
Correct selection is superior type S60-89

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Secondary Crusher Type


In a rock crushing circuit, the second stage
normally starts to be of importance for control of
size and shape.
Because of this the jaw crusher, in most cases,
is disqualified as secondary crusher.
Instead the cone crusher is used more
frequently.
Also in comminution (crushing and grinding)
circuits for ore and minerals the cone crusher is
frequently used as the secondary stage,

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Cone Crusher A Powerful


Concept
Compared to other crushers the cone
crusher has some advantages making
themvery suitable for size reduction and
shaping downstream a crushing circuit.
Reason is the crushing chamber and the
possibilities to change feed and discharge
openings during operation.

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Secondary Crushers Sizing

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Final Crushing Stage More


than just crushing
For many rock and gravel crushing circuits
the final crushing stage is of special
interest.
The final sizing and shaping will take place
in this stage influencing the value of the
final product.
For hard rock circuits there are only two
options, cone crushers or Vertical Shaft
Impactors (VSI).

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VSI A Rock on Rock


autogeneous crushing Impactor
Horizontal impactors normally use rock to metal
impaction. This means a restriction in crushing circuits
with hard feed material, when wear can be dramatically
high.
The VSI Impactor of Barmac type is using a rock-torock impaction technology where most of the design is
protected by rock, see below.
This means that we can use the advantages of the
impaction techniques also in hard rock operations.
The crushing action takes place in the rock cloud in the
crushing chamber, not against the rock protection.

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Wet Crushing prior to Grinding


WaterFlush is a patented wet crushing process for
producing a flakier finer product from specially designed
cone crushers.
The method is intended for mining applications
comprising secondary crushing, sand manufacturing and
fine crushing of ore prior to leaching.
The typically crusher discharge is a slurry of 30 to 70%
solids. The flakier feed brakes easily in the following
grinding mill.
WaterFlush can be an alternative to conventional
crushing prior to grinding in applications with critical-sizebuild-up problems in the grinding circuits of type
AG/SAG and Pebble mill

Grinding Introduction
Size reduction by crushing has a size limitation for the final
products. If we require further reduction, say below 520mm, we have to use the processes of grinding
Grinding is a powdering or pulverizing process using the
rock mechanical forces of impaction, compression,
shearing and attrition.
The two main purposes for a grinding process are:
To liberate individual minerals trapped in rock crystals
(ores) and thereby open up for a subsequent enrichment
in the form of separation.
To produce fines (or filler) from mineral fractions by
increasing the specific surface.

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Grinding Mills Reduction


Ratios
All crushers including impactors have limited
reduction ratios. Due to the design there is a
restricting in retention time for the material
passing.
In grinding as it takes place in more open
space, the retention time is longer and can
easily be adjusted during operation.
Below the theoretical size reduction and power
ranges for different grinding mills are shown.
In practise also size reduction by grinding is
done in optimised stages.

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Mill Linings Basic


Use rubber linings wherever possible due to
lifetime, low weight, easy to install and noise
dampening.
When application is getting tougher use steelcapped rubber, still easier to handle than steel.
When these both options are overruled (by
temperature, feed size or chemicals) use steel.
Ore-bed is a lining with rubber covered
permanent magnets used for special
applications like lining of Verti mills, grinding of
magnetite.

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Grinding Mills Sizing


Even today this is more of an art than a science.
Therefore it should be left to the application
offices of your supplier for any valid statements
or quotes.
Below will be described some basics of how
mills are sized, only.
Fundamental to all mill sizing is determining the
necessary specific power consumption for the
grinding stage (primary, secondary, tertiary etc.)
in question.

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It can be established (in falling


scale of accuracy) in one of the
following ways:
1. Operating data from existing mill circuit (direct
proportioning).
2. Grinding tests in pilot scale, where the specific power
consumption is determined (kWh/t dry solids).
3. Laboratory tests in small batch mills to determine the
specific energy consumption.
4. Energy and power calculations based on Bonds Work
Index (called Wi and normally expressed in kWh/short
ton),
5. Other established methods, for instance Hardgrove
Index, population balance.

Grinding Power Calculation

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Grinding vs Enrichment and


Upgrading
In the size reduction stages of grinding we are
also creating the conditions for the following
process stages of enrichment and upgrading.
From the picture below we can see the effect of
under- and over grinding.
The lost performance in separation,
sedimentation and dewatering due to
misgrinding represents a major problem for
many operations, eroding the process economy.

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