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Introduction

“The practice of minerals processing is as old as human civilisation. Minerals and

Introduction
products derived from minerals have formed our development cultures from the
flints of the Stone Age man to the uranium ores of Atomic Age”.
The ambition with this handbook, “Basics in Mineral Processing Equipment”, is not
to give a full coverage of the subject above.
The intention is to give technicians involved in mineral operations practical and
useful information about the process equipment used, their systems and operational
environment.
The technical data given are basic, but will increase the understanding of the
individual machines, their functions and performances.

Basic Definitions
It is important to know the definitions of mineral, rock and ore as they represent
different product values and partly different process systems
Mineral Rock Ore
Na+
Ca2+ Si4+ O2-
Mineral

Mineral

Mineral

Rock
Rock
CO22- Fe2+ OH-

Heat Pressure Heat Pressure Heat Pressure


Deformation Chemical
activity
Ca Co3

Fe2 O3

Rock
Rock
SiO2

Ore

Ore

Ore

“Natural components of “Compounds of minerals” “Rocks containing minerals or


chemical elements” metals which can be recovered with profit”

Artificial minerals
“Man made” minerals are not minerals by definitions. But from processing point of
view they are similar to virgin minerals and are treated accordingly (mainly in
recycling processes).

Slag Concrete Mill scale Glass & Ceramics

BASICS IN MINERAL PROCESSING 1:1


Minerals by Value
Minerals

Industrial Minerals Mineral Fuels Rock Ores

Abrasives Ceramics Refractories Non-ferrous Ferrous Alloy


Corundum Quartz Wollastonite Coals
Oil shale Base Metals Alloying Metals
Quartz Kaolin Calcite
(Oil sand) Copper Chromium
Diamond a.o. Feldspar a.o. Dolomite Lead Vanadium
Glass Fertilisers Corundum a.o. Zinc a.o. Molybdenum
Quartz Phosphate Tungsten
Feldspar Potash Aggregate, Sand & Gravel Light Metals a.o.
Calcite Calcite Aluminium
Dolomite a.o. Dolomite a.o. Concrete ballast Magnesium
Plastic Fillers and Pigment Asphalt ballast Titanium
Calcite Barite Rock fill
Kaolin Bentonite Industrial sand Precious Metals
Talc Calcite a.o. Gold
Wollastonite Dolomite Silver
Mica a.o. Feldspar Platinum a.o.
Talc a.o.
Refractories Rare Metals
Wollastonite Uranium
Calcite Radium
Dolomite Beryllium a.o.
Corundum a.o.
Introduction
The Process Frame of Minerals

Introduction
The goal in mineral processing is to produce maximum value from a given raw
material. This goal can be a crushed product with certain size and shape or
maximum recovery of metals out of a complex ore.
The technologies to achieve these goals are classical, complementary and well
defined.
Below they are presented in the Process Frame of Minerals, classified according
to their interrelations in product size and process environment (dry or wet).

Size 1m 100 mm 10 mm 1 mm 100 micron 10 micron 1 micron


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Drilling (and blasting) is the technology of achieving primary fragmentation of


“in situ” minerals. This is the starting point for most mineral processes with the
exception of natural minerals in the form of sand and gravel.
Crushing and screening is the first controlled size reduction stage in the
process. This is the main process in aggregate production and a preparation
process for further size reduction.
Grinding is the stage of size reduction (wet or dry) where the liberation size for
individual minerals can be reached. By further size reduction filler (mineral
powder) is produced.
Slurry processing includes the technologies for wet processing of mineral
fractions.
Pyro processing includes the technologies for upgrading of the mineral fractions
by drying, calcining or sintering.
Materials handling includes the technologies for moving the process flow (dry)
forward by loading, transportation, storage and feeding.
Compaction of minerals includes the technologies for moving and densifying
minerals by vibration, impaction and pressure, mainly used in construction
applications.

BASICS IN MINERAL PROCESSING 1:3


Introduction
Mineral Processing and Hardness
Introduction

All deposits of minerals, rock or ores have different hardness depending on the
chemical composition and the geological environment.
Mohs numbers are a simple classification:

1. Talc Crushed by a finger nail Graphite, Sulphur, Mica, Gold


2. Gypsum Scratched by a finger nail Dolomite
3. Calcite Scratched by an iron nail Magnesite
4. Fluorite Easily scratched by a knife Magnetite
5. Apatite Scratched by a knife Granite, Pyrite
6. Feldspar Hardly scratched by a knife Basalt
7. Quartz Scratches glass Beryl
8. Topaz Scratched by quartz
9. Corundum Scratched by a diamond
10. Diamond Cannot be scratched

In 1813 an Austrian geologist, Mr. Mohs, classified minerals according to their individual hardness.

In operation we naturally need more information about our feed material.


See information on work index and abrasion index, section 3 page 2.

Size and Hardness


All operations have different process environments due to mineral hardness and
size range. It is important to know in which “range” we are operating as this will
affect many process parameters, (wear rate, uptime, operation costs etc.).
Size and hardness together give interesting information.
Hardness
Mohs
10

METALLIC
9
ROCK CONSTRUCTION MATERIALS MINERALS

8
BALLAST
7

6
AGGREGATES SAND

4
MICRO FILLER
SAND
3

INDUSTRIAL 1
MINERALS COARSE FILLER FINE FILLER

Size 1m 100 mm 10 mm 1 mm 100 micron 10 micron 1 micron


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1:4 BASICS IN MINERAL PROCESSING


Introduction
The Stress Forces of Rock Mechanics

Introduction
Beside size and hardness, the classical stress forces of rock mechanics are the
fundamentals in most of what we do in mineral processing. They guide us in
equipment design, in systems layout, in wear protection etc. They are always
around and they always have to be considered.

Tensile Compression

Impaction Shearing

Attrition

BASICS IN MINERAL PROCESSING 1:5