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The use of filter aids on iron ore fines


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Author T Haskell, S Dickie and Y Joe


A current trend amongst producers is the increase in dewatering of iron ore fines (<0.5 mm), due to an increase in wet beneficiation processes used to upgrade lower quality ore deposits, increased water content in orebodies located below the water table, and increasing focus on transportable moisture limits (TML). Vacuum filtration is commonly used for dewatering of iron ore fines, and as with all filtration processes performance decreases with particle size. Significant improvements are possible with the use of filter aids, usually anionic surfactants and flocculants. Anionic surfactants reduce the surface tension of the associated water, which is then removed more readily leading to improved filtercake moistures. Anionic flocculants used correctly can improve cake permeability, in turn, decreasing cake formation times and increasing filtration rates. In addition to increased throughput, savings and benefits for producers can include: moisture limit penalties, improved handleability, along with energy and water savings. The effect of filter aids on two iron ore fines samples from the Pilbara region were evaluated using a lab scale vacuum filtration unit. The first sample showed a reduction in the filtercake moisture content by 2.3 per cent weight/weight (w/w) with the use of BASF’s Drimax® 1234. For the second sample a reduction in the filtercake moisture of 3.4 per cent w/w along with an increase in filtration rate of 20 per cent was achieved by using a combination of Magnafloc® 5250 and Drimax® 1239 NF, as both filter throughput and cake moisture were considered important by site. CITATION: Haskell, T, Dickie, S and Joe, Y, 2017. The use of filter aids on iron ore fines, in Proceedings Iron Ore 2017, pp 183–186 (The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy: Melbourne).