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Process simulation in mineralogy-based geometallurgy of iron ores
Luleå University of Technology, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering, Minerals and Metallurgical Engineering. (Mineral processing)
Luleå University of Technology, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering, Minerals and Metallurgical Engineering. (Mineral Processing)
Luleå University of Technology, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering, Minerals and Metallurgical Engineering. (Mineral Processing)
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The mineral processing simulation models can be classified based on the level that the feed stream to the plant and unit operations is described. The levels of modeling in this context is as bulk, mineral or element by size, and particle. Particle level modeling and simulation utilizes liberation data in the feed stream and is more sensitive to the variations in ore feed quality. Within the paper, results of simulation for two texturally different magnetite ore is demonstrated in bulk, mineral by size and particle level. The models were calibrated for one ore, and all the modeling levels show similar results, but for the other ore, the results differ. This is because, in the bulk level, the model assumes that magnetite, as well as other minerals, do not change their behavior if ore texture and grinding fineness are changed. In the mineral by size level, the assumption is that minerals behave identically in each size fraction even the ore texture changes. In the particle level, the assumption is that similar particles behave in the same way. The particle level approach gives more realistic results, and it can also be used in optimization, thus finding the most optimal processing way for different geometallurgical domains. In iron ores where iron minerals are highly liberated the particle level shows its power in the prediction of impurity levels rather than iron grade and recovery.

Keyword [en]
Geometallurgy, mineral liberation, particles, process modeling, simulation
National Category
Mineral and Mine Engineering
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:ltu:diva-62785OAI: oai:DiVA.org:ltu-62785DiVA: diva2:1085690
Available from: 2017-03-30 Created: 2017-03-30 Last updated: 2017-03-30
In thesis
1. Development of a geometallurgical framework for iron ores - A mineralogical approach to particle-based modeling
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Development of a geometallurgical framework for iron ores - A mineralogical approach to particle-based modeling
2017 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Alternative title[sv]
Utveckling av ett geometallurgiskt ramverk för järnmalmer - Ett mineralogiskt angreppssätt till partikelbaserad modellering.
Abstract [en]

The demands for efficient utilization of ore bodies and proper risk management in the mining industry have resulted in a new cross-disciplinary subject called geometallurgy. Geometallurgy connects geological, mineral processing and subsequent downstream processing information together to provide a comprehensive model to be used in production planning and management. A geometallurgical program is an industrial application of geometallurgy. Various approaches that are employed in geometallurgical programs include the traditional way, which uses chemical elements, the proxy method, which applies small-scale tests, and the mineralogical approach using mineralogy or the combination of those. The mineralogical approach provides the most comprehensive and versatile way to treat geometallurgical data. Therefore it was selected as a basis for this study.

For the mineralogical approach, quantitative mineralogical information is needed both for the deposit and the process. The geological model must describe the minerals present, give their chemical composition, report their mass proportions (modal composition) in the ore body and describe the ore texture. The process model must be capable of using mineralogical information provided by the geological model to forecast the metallurgical performance of different geological volumes and periods. A literature survey showed that areas, where more development is needed for using the mineralogical approach, are: 1) quick and inexpensive techniques for reliable modal analysis of the ore samples; 2) ore textural characterization of the ore to forecast the liberation distribution of the ore when crushed and ground; 3) unit operation models based on particle properties (at mineral liberation level) and 4) a system capable of handling all this information and transferring it to production model. This study focuses on developing tools in these areas.

A number of methods for obtaining mineral grades were evaluated with a focus on geometallurgical applicability, precision, and trueness. A new technique developed called combined method uses both quantitative X-ray powder diffraction with Rietveld refinement and the Element-to-Mineral Conversion method. The method not only delivers the required turnover for geometallurgy but also overcomes the shortcomings if X-ray powder diffraction or Element-to-Mineral Conversion were used alone.

Characterization of ore texture before and after breakage provides valuable insights about the fracture pattern in comminution, the population of particles for specific ore texture and their relation to parent ore texture. In the context of the mineralogical approach to geometallurgy, predicting the particle population from ore texture is a critical step to establish an interface between geology and mineral processing. A new method called Association Indicator Matrix developed to assess breakage pattern of ore texture and analyze mineral association. The results of ore texture and particle analysis were used to generate particle population from ore texture by applying particle size distribution and breakage frequencies. The outcome matches well with experimental data specifically for magnetite ore texture.

In geometallurgy, process models can be classified based on in which level the ore, i.e. the feed stream to the processing plant and each unit operation, is defined and what information subsequent streams carry. The most comprehensive level of mineral processing models is the particle-based one which includes practically all necessary information on streams for modeling unit operations. Within this study, a particle-based unit operation model was built for wet low-intensity magnetic separation, and existing size classification and grinding models were evaluated to be used in particle level. A property-based model of magnetic beneficiation plant was created based on one of the LKAB operating plants in mineral and particle level and the results were compared. Two different feeds to the plant were used. The results revealed that in the particle level, the process model is more sensitive to changes in feed property than any other levels. Particle level is more capable for process optimization for different geometallurgical domains.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Luleå University of Technology, 2017. 107 p.
Series
Doctoral thesis / Luleå University of Technology 1 jan 1997 → …, ISSN 1402-1544
Keyword
Geometallurgy, process simulation, breakage characterization, ore texture, iron ore, modal mineralogy
National Category
Mineral and Mine Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:ltu:diva-62515 (URN)978-91-7583-860-1 (ISBN)978-91-7583-861-8 (ISBN)
Public defence
2017-05-09, F531, F-hus, Luleå University of Technology Campus, Luleå, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2017-04-05 Created: 2017-03-30 Last updated: 2017-05-08Bibliographically approved

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