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Technical amenability study of laboratory-scale sensor-based ore sorting on a Mississippi Valley type lead-zinc ore

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Title: Technical amenability study of laboratory-scale sensor-based ore sorting on a Mississippi Valley type lead-zinc ore
Author: Tong, Yan
Degree Master of Applied Science - MASc
Program Mining Engineering
Copyright Date: 2012
Publicly Available in cIRcle 2012-10-16
Abstract: Automatic sensor-based sorting is a clean preconcentration technique that can be used to separate valuable ore rock from waste rock based on the difference of the detected physical properties. This research evaluated the amenabilities of a Mississippi Valley type lead-zinc ore sample from Pend Oreille Mine to X-ray Fluorescence Sorting, X-ray Transmission Sorting, Optical Sorting and Microwave-Infrared Sorting using laboratory-scale bench-top sensing systems. A methodology for laboratory-scale quick evaluation of the amenability of an ore sample to automatic sensor-based sorting using bench-top sensor systems was generated as reference for future study. The preliminary testwork results showed that the two X-ray methods exhibited the best sorting results. About 37.7%~52.8% of the feed mass could be rejected as waste while above 95% of the lead and zinc was recovered in the product. The sorting feed (-37.5+26.5 mm) could be upgraded by a factor of 1.5~2. The optical sorting method seemed not as effective as the X-ray methods. Only 18.8% of the sorting test feed (-37.5+26.5 mm) was rejected to maintain above 95% metal recovery in the product. The test feed was upgraded by a factor of 1.2. Microwave-Infrared sorting results demonstrated that carbonate gangue mineral does not heat when exposed to microwave heating, while lead-zinc bearing sulfide does. Factors such as particle size, heating time and quantity of particles being heated at a time would influence microwave heating of rocks. Sorting feed of -19+13.2 mm presented the best segregation results after 10s of microwave heating. Above 95% of lead and zinc was recovered in a mass yield of 70% to the product. The test feed was upgraded by a factor of 1.4. The preconcentrate of X-ray Fluorescence sorting had a bond work index 12% smaller than that of the feed ore. The overall metal (lead and zinc) recoveries and grades in the flotation products were also improved after XRF sorting. The costs of both the grinding and the flotation reagent could also be reduced due to the reduction of the feed mass by rejecting the dolomitic gangue minerals up to 50%.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2429/43411
Scholarly Level: Graduate

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