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Dry processing of magnetic iron ores – addressing cost and environmental issues

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Author C G Kelsey, J R Kelly and W Skinner

Description

The iron ore industry has reached the end of an unprecedented period of expansion triggered by China’s demand for iron ore. Lower ore prices have led producers to focus on optimising mining operations while extracting the maximum tonnage from the infrastructure presently in place or from projects already underway. A rising global surplus is expected to further force ore prices down and lead to output curtailments, which in turn will help to restore market balance. However, investment in the development of new resources and the development of new infrastructure will inevitably become necessary. Making the right decisions in relation to future processing infrastructure in a climate of uncertain demand and price volatility will not be as straightforward as in the past, where expanding the scale of a proposed operation has been the answer to ensuring economic viability. Overall cost and environmental pressures particularly in relation to wet processing will dominate the decision-making process. IMP Technologies (IMPTEC) has anticipated the need for a dry low cost processing alternative, which can open the way for the development of lower grade magnetite deposits and ensure the sustainability of processing in Australia. The lower grade magnetite deposits are generally fine grained and require grinding to p80 of 30 to 40 microns. Historically, the cost of grinding to these sizes has been and remains a key factor determining the economic viability of a magnetite processing operation. The IMPTEC Super-fine Crusher and Cyclomag Separator are the key components of a proposed radically simplified dry processing alternative, which addresses both cost and environmental issues. This paper reports on the results of pilot super-fine crushing and cyclomag separation test work, focused on supporting the feasibility of the proposed dry processing route for the production of high-grade pellet plant feed from fine grained low-grade magnetic ores.

CITATION:

Kelsey, C G, Kelly, J R and Skinner, W, 2017. Dry processing of magnetic iron ores – addressing cost and environmental issues, in Proceedings Iron Ore 2017, pp 215–220 (The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy: Melbourne).