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A numerical study of the effects of microwave pre-treatment on value liberation from a zinc ore
Luleå University of Technology, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering, Minerals and Metallurgical Engineering.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-4800-9533
2019 (English)Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

The extraction of mineral values from ore requires liberation followed by separation steps. Liberation is achieved by size reduction operations which are energy inefficient processes typically dominating the energy consumption in a mineral concentrator. As the grade of ore reserves declines, future viability of mineral operations will be determined by energy costs of comminution. The application of high power microwave energy to secondary crusher products has been suggested as a possible commercially viable thermal treatment method for reducing comminution energy and improving value mineral liberation. Recent studies have shown that microwave pre-treatment of coarse sphalerite ore particles (> 5mm) at specific microwave heating energies (1-3 kWh/t), induces microfractures and creates new crack surfaces. This suggests that subsequent crushing of these microwave treated particles could yield enhanced liberation. However, limited studies have been carried out investigating the mode of breakage and the extent of enhanced liberation in that case. The objective of this study is to develop numerical methods for quantifying the extent of enhanced liberation and mode of breakage in crushed microwave treated and untreated particles. Sphalerite ore particles representing small (-5+4.75) mm, medium (-16+9.5) mm, and large (-25+19) mm HPGR and cone crushed particles were microwave treated at specific energies between 1-3 kWh/t. Cracks in the ore particles before and after microwave treatment were analysed with QEMSCAN and numerical models of the measured particles (before and after microwave treatment) were developed in MATLAB. The propagation of random and nonrandom cracks was investigated by simulating comminution of the modelled treated and untreated particles. Results of this study demonstrate that the breakage mechanism and the liberation of valuable minerals from gangue in microwave treated and untreated particles is significantly different. This study contributes to the development of numerical tools to quantify crack propagation in heterogeneous ore particles.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum , 2019. p. 4051-4061
Keywords [en]
Breakage, Comminution, Cracks, Liberation, Microwave assisted comminution, Modelling, Particles
National Category
Metallurgy and Metallic Materials
Research subject
Mineral Processing
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:ltu:diva-72852Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85059374627OAI: oai:DiVA.org:ltu-72852DiVA, id: diva2:1287818
Conference
29th International Mineral Processing Congress, IMPC 2018, Moscow, Russian Federation, 17-21 September 2018
Available from: 2019-02-12 Created: 2019-02-12 Last updated: 2019-09-10Bibliographically approved

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Koch, Pierre-Henri

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