Authors: Inci Ayranci, Glendon Tan, Mikaela Dix-Cooper, Mahmoud Hossein-Pour
Minerals are the inorganic substances that naturally occur in the earth. Combinations of minerals in different compositions make up ores in varying sizes and shapes. Mineral processing is the processing of ores by chemical or physical methods to obtain mineral products .
The ores must go through a number of operations to obtain the final products. The major steps in the process are size reduction, size separation, concentration, dewatering and aqueous solution .
Size reduction involves crushing and grinding processes. Size separation is done by classifiers, screens or water elutriators. Concentration includes 3 main processes: froth flotation, gravity concentration, and magnetic and electrostatic concentration. Dewatering involves thickeners and filters and aqueous dissolution. The aqueous solution refers to leaching which is done in autoclave reactors. These constitute the main units that are involved in mineral processing.
In terms of the phase interactions, solid-liquid, solid-solid and liquid-liquid operations are involved. Solid-liquid operations occur mainly in flotation units, thickeners and vacuum filters . Solid-solid and liquid-liquid operations take place in gravitational and magnetic separation, and extraction, respectively.