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Open AccessArticle

Understanding Mineral Liberation during Crushing Using Grade-by-Size Analysis—A Case Study of the Penuota Sn-Ta Mineralization, Spain

1
Department of Industrial and Materials Science, Chalmers University of Technology, 412 58 Gothenburg, Sweden
2
Department of Earth Sciences, University of Gothenburg, 413 20 Gothenburg, Sweden
3
Department of Engineering, University of Borås, 501 90 Borås, Sweden
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Minerals 2020, 10(2), 164; https://doi.org/10.3390/min10020164
Received: 28 November 2019 / Revised: 11 February 2020 / Accepted: 12 February 2020 / Published: 13 February 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mineral Liberation)
Coarse comminution test-work and modeling are powerful tools in the design and optimization of mineral processing plants and provide information on energy consumption. Additional information on mineral liberation characteristics can be used for assessing the potential of pre-concentration stages or screens in the plant design. In ores of high-value metals (e.g., Ta, W), standard techniques—such as the mineralogical quantification of grain mounts by quantitative evaluation of minerals by scanning electron microscopy (QEMSCAN) or chemical analysis by X-ray fluorescence (XRF) can be challenging, due to the low relative abundance of such valuable minerals. The cost of QEMSCAN is also a limiting factor, especially considering the large number of samples required for the optimization of coarse comminution. In this study, we present an extended analytical protocol to a well-established mechanical test of interparticle breakage to improve the assessment of coarse mineral liberation characteristics. The liberation of ore minerals is a function of the rock texture and the difference in size and mechanical properties of the valuable minerals relative to gangue minerals and they may fraction in certain grain sizes if they behave differently during comminution. By analyzing the bulk-chemistry of the different grain size fractions produced after compressional testing, and by generating element by size diagrams, it is possible to understand the liberation characteristics of an ore. We show, based on a case study performed on a tantalum ore deposit, that element distribution can be used to study the influence of mechanical parameters on mineral liberation. This information can direct further mineralogical investigation and test work. View Full-Text
Keywords: coarse comminution; liberation; size reduction; grade; mineralogy; particle size; compressive breakage; tantalum coarse comminution; liberation; size reduction; grade; mineralogy; particle size; compressive breakage; tantalum
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MDPI and ACS Style

Guldris Leon, L.; Hogmalm, K.J.; Bengtsson, M. Understanding Mineral Liberation during Crushing Using Grade-by-Size Analysis—A Case Study of the Penuota Sn-Ta Mineralization, Spain. Minerals 2020, 10, 164. https://doi.org/10.3390/min10020164

AMA Style

Guldris Leon L, Hogmalm KJ, Bengtsson M. Understanding Mineral Liberation during Crushing Using Grade-by-Size Analysis—A Case Study of the Penuota Sn-Ta Mineralization, Spain. Minerals. 2020; 10(2):164. https://doi.org/10.3390/min10020164

Chicago/Turabian Style

Guldris Leon, Lorena; Hogmalm, K. J.; Bengtsson, Magnus. 2020. "Understanding Mineral Liberation during Crushing Using Grade-by-Size Analysis—A Case Study of the Penuota Sn-Ta Mineralization, Spain" Minerals 10, no. 2: 164. https://doi.org/10.3390/min10020164

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