Mineral processing is the mechanical and physical process employed to remove ore from gangue minerals and other materials that are not wanted. There are many methods to complete this process however, all of them require a number of key steps. First, you need to physically break large rock into smaller pieces that can be utilized more efficiently. The other method is to reduce these minerals into smaller pieces. The next stage in mineral processing is to mix water to make a slurry which helps separate valuable minerals from waste. The last step is dry and extract the precious minerals.
You can also use large-scale machines or hand-picks to extract minerals. Extracting the ore from the ground is only a small portion of the process. This needs to be followed up by a method for extracting the minerals and other materials that make up the metal.
The equipment that is commonly used in mineral processing plants include the following: jigs and concentrators cells autogenous (AG) mills balls, trommels, shaker tables, magnetic separation equipment, and gravity extraction techniques.
Mineral processing is necessary for the production of many elements in our environment including gold, copper and nickel to name a few. Mineral processing, even though it could seem difficult at firstglance, is actually a simple process of extraction of valuable minerals and the addition of simple chemicals to get them separated.
Some ground rules for efficient mineral processing:
Processed ore must not be contaminated with of waste materials (i.e. or gangue). The ore should be free of sulfides or soluble salts and dry. It should be of good form or be able to be broken into small pieces that allow treatment.
An acceptable ore should contain at least a small amount of sulfides as well as the soluble salts. These are the forms of sulfur and salts that cause the most difficulties in processing. The ideal is to have large pieces with good shape in order to be broken into smaller pieces without the need for cutting or grinding equipment.
Comminution is the process of breaking down the ore into smaller pieces. The finer the comminution process is performed, the more of the mineral surface will be exposed to chemicals. This allows for better processing. The equipment used for mineral processing can limit the size of particles. The typical range is 5mm to 0.0774 mm for particles passing through a circular-hole sieve. However bigger particles can be several decimeters.
Crushers and mills are two types of machines which crush or break the rock into smaller pieces. Crushers break large pieces of ore into smaller pieces. There are various types of crushers, including impact crushers as well as compression crushers that use high-speed steel teeth to break down ore by compressing it, often done in stages, with the size of specific mineral parts being gradually reduced.
Mills make ore pulp by grinding or pulverizing the ore on two surfaces rotating at different speeds. The surfaces are usually covered by manganese liners. They are usually manganese steel due to its being more wear-resistant than any other element of alloying. Manganese steel liners are more difficult to replace and repair in the event of wear and tear.
A further step in mineral processing involves the separation of the beneficial minerals from the debris. Two typical methods of separation include density and magnetic separation.
Magnetic separation utilizes magnets to separate minerals from gangue materials. Magnetic separation equipment includes drum-type separators, trommels, and pulsed field (PF) separators which are used to segregate the beneficial minerals based upon their density, form and magnetic properties. The process of choice is dependent upon a number of variables, including rock type (i.e., sulfides or clean) and size of the equipment, ore characteristics (i.e. simple or crushing hard) magnetic properties, the presence of magnets in waste streams or ore as well as the level of dilution and so on.
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