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Minerals, Volume 7, Issue 1 (January 2017)

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Cover Story (view full-size image) When proper quality control measures are taken, automated mineralogical analysis techniques can [...] Read more.
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Open AccessArticle
A Computer-Controlled SEM-EDX Routine for Characterizing Respirable Coal Mine Dust
Minerals 2017, 7(1), 15; https://doi.org/10.3390/min7010015
Received: 18 November 2016 / Revised: 4 January 2017 / Accepted: 16 January 2017 / Published: 23 January 2017
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1306 | PDF Full-text (1825 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
A recent resurgence in coal workers’ pneumoconiosis (or “black lung”) and concerns over other related respiratory illnesses have highlighted the need to elucidate characteristics of airborne particulates in occupational environments. A better understanding of particle size, aspect ratio, or chemical composition may offer [...] Read more.
A recent resurgence in coal workers’ pneumoconiosis (or “black lung”) and concerns over other related respiratory illnesses have highlighted the need to elucidate characteristics of airborne particulates in occupational environments. A better understanding of particle size, aspect ratio, or chemical composition may offer new insights regarding causal factors of such illnesses. Scanning electron microscopy analysis using energy dispersive X-ray (SEM-EDX) can be used to estimate these particle characteristics. If conducted manually, such work can be very time intensive, limiting the number of particles that can be analyzed. Moreover, potential exists for user bias in interpretation of EDX spectra. A computer-controlled (CC) routine, on the other hand, can allow similar analysis at a much faster rate, increasing total particle counts and reproducibility of results. This paper describes a CCSEM-EDX routine specifically developed for analysis of respirable dust samples from coal mines. The routine is verified based on reliability of results obtained on samples of known materials, and reproducibility of results obtained on a set of 10 dust samples collected in the field. The characteristics of the field samples are also discussed with respect to mine occupational environments. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
An Innovative Longwall Mining Technology in Tangshan Coal Mine, China
Minerals 2017, 7(1), 14; https://doi.org/10.3390/min7010014
Received: 16 November 2016 / Revised: 14 December 2016 / Accepted: 16 January 2017 / Published: 23 January 2017
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 2011 | PDF Full-text (9178 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In mining of inclined coal seams in Tangshan coal mine of Kailuan group, gateways on either end of a panel were both typically located along the floor and a gateway pillar between adjoining panels was left unmined between adjacent panels to ensure stability, [...] Read more.
In mining of inclined coal seams in Tangshan coal mine of Kailuan group, gateways on either end of a panel were both typically located along the floor and a gateway pillar between adjoining panels was left unmined between adjacent panels to ensure stability, thus forming a planar mining system. According to the practice, however, it turned out that this conventional mining system has long-standing problems, such as face end support problems, coal bumps, sliding of mining equipment downhill, spontaneous combustions, support problems in development entries, etc. In view of this situation and based on the No. Y294 panel, this paper analyzes an innovative mining technology in which the gateways on either end of a panel are located at different heights within the coal seam. For the adjacent panel, the gate development may be superposed on the development entry of the previous panel or may be offset with respect to it. Field data shows that the split-level layout of the longwall panel plays an effective role in control of overall stability of mining equipment in inclined coal seams. Physical modeling demonstrates that the new technology has many advantages in ground control. Under the condition without a pillar, development entry adjacent to the new panel is located in the de-stressed zone and stress concentration is significantly reduced with associated reduction in coal bumps, bursts and support problems which means less support and maintenance requirement and cost. Compared with the conventional rectangular pillar, the gateway pillar width in this new technology is effectively reduced when pillars have to be left unmined. Roof strata behavior and features are analyzed. Corresponding operations in the field are introduced in detail. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Flotability Improvement of Ilmenite Using Attrition-Scrubbing as a Pretreatment Method
Minerals 2017, 7(1), 13; https://doi.org/10.3390/min7010013
Received: 17 November 2016 / Revised: 13 January 2017 / Accepted: 16 January 2017 / Published: 22 January 2017
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1807 | PDF Full-text (2627 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Flotation technology of the recovery and utilization of ilmenite from tailings of iron beneficiated in Panzhihua was investigated based on mineralogical study. The results of mineralogical study show that the main occurrence of the valuable mineral are liberated grains of ilmenite. Experimental results [...] Read more.
Flotation technology of the recovery and utilization of ilmenite from tailings of iron beneficiated in Panzhihua was investigated based on mineralogical study. The results of mineralogical study show that the main occurrence of the valuable mineral are liberated grains of ilmenite. Experimental results of flotation conditions show that attrition-scrubbing raw ores exhibit good flotability with higher recoveries and a slight decrease in grade compared to ores without attrition-scrubbing. Further, open-circuit experiments also prove the superiority of attrition-scrubbing raw ores. The results of closed-circuit experiments show that qualified ilmenite concentrate can be obtained and the yield, grade, and recovery are 22.26%, 47.06%, and 60.73%, respectively. Theoretical study and analysis show that there are two contributions to superior flotability for attrition-scrubbing samples. The first is that the attrition-scrubbing samples can uncover more ferrous ions on the newly-produced fresh ilmenite surface, resulting in the increase in active sites. The other is that in the process of attrition-scrubbing, the transformation of ferrous ions to ferric ions can be promoted. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Flotation in Mineral Processing)
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Open AccessArticle
Optimization and Quality Control of Automated Quantitative Mineralogy Analysis for Acid Rock Drainage Prediction
Minerals 2017, 7(1), 12; https://doi.org/10.3390/min7010012
Received: 6 November 2016 / Revised: 10 January 2017 / Accepted: 13 January 2017 / Published: 21 January 2017
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1647 | PDF Full-text (4602 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Low ore-grade waste samples from the Codelco Andina mine that were analyzed in an environmental and mineralogical test program for acid rock drainage prediction, revealed inconsistencies between the quantitative mineralogical data (QEMSCAN®) and the results of geochemical characterizations by atomic absorption [...] Read more.
Low ore-grade waste samples from the Codelco Andina mine that were analyzed in an environmental and mineralogical test program for acid rock drainage prediction, revealed inconsistencies between the quantitative mineralogical data (QEMSCAN®) and the results of geochemical characterizations by atomic absorption spectroscopy (AAS), LECO® furnace, and sequential extractions). For the QEMSCAN® results, biases were observed in the proportions of pyrite and calcium sulfate minerals detected. An analysis of the results indicated that the problems observed were likely associated with polished section preparation. Therefore, six different sample preparation protocols were tested and evaluated using three samples from the previous study. One of the methods, which involved particle size reduction and transverse section preparation, was identified as having the greatest potential for correcting the errors observed in the mineralogical analyses. Further, the biases in the quantities of calcium sulfate minerals detected were reduced through the use of ethylene glycol as a polishing lubricant. It is recommended that the sample preparation methodology described in this study be used in order to accurately quantify percentages of pyrite and calcium sulfate minerals in environmental mineralogical studies which use automated mineralogical analysis. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Thermal Transformation of NH4-Clinoptilolite to Mullite and Silica Polymorphs
Minerals 2017, 7(1), 11; https://doi.org/10.3390/min7010011
Received: 14 December 2016 / Revised: 10 January 2017 / Accepted: 13 January 2017 / Published: 19 January 2017
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1530 | PDF Full-text (2846 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Clinoptilolite is a natural zeolite used for the abatement of ammonium in the treatment of urban wastewater. By considering that mullite was obtained through thermal treatment of NH4-exchanged synthetic zeolites, this work aimed to evaluate if this phase can be obtained [...] Read more.
Clinoptilolite is a natural zeolite used for the abatement of ammonium in the treatment of urban wastewater. By considering that mullite was obtained through thermal treatment of NH4-exchanged synthetic zeolites, this work aimed to evaluate if this phase can be obtained from NH4-clinoptilolite. A material containing about 90 wt % of clinoptilolite, prepared using a Sardinian zeolite-rich rock, was NH4-exchanged and subjected to treatments up to 1200 °C. After dehydration, de-ammoniation, and dehydroxylation processes, the clinoptilolite structure collapsed at 600 °C. An association of mullite, silica polymorphs, and glass, whitish in color, was obtained for treatments between 1000 and 1200 °C. The higher degree of crystallinity was reached after a 32 h heating at 1100 °C: mullite 22 wt %, cristobalite 59 wt %, tridymite 10 wt %, glass 9 wt %. It is possible to speed up the kinetics of the transformation by increasing the temperature to 1200 °C, obtaining the same amount of mullite in 2 h, but increasing the residual amorphous fraction (16 wt %). These results indicate that NH4-clinoptilolite could represent a raw material of potential interest in the ceramic field, in particular in the production of acid refractory, opening scenarios for a possible reuse of clinoptilolite-based exchangers employed in ammonium decontamination. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Heating Changes Bio-Schwertmannite Microstructure and Arsenic(III) Removal Efficiency
Minerals 2017, 7(1), 9; https://doi.org/10.3390/min7010009
Received: 21 November 2016 / Revised: 26 December 2016 / Accepted: 11 January 2017 / Published: 18 January 2017
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1102 | PDF Full-text (2835 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Schwertmannite (Sch) is an efficient adsorbent for arsenic(III) removal from arsenic(III)-contaminated groundwater. In this study, bio-schertmannite was synthesized in the presence of dissolved ferrous ions and Acidithiobacillus ferrooxidans LX5 in a culture media. Bio-synthesized Sch characteristics, such as total organic carbon (TOC), morphology, [...] Read more.
Schwertmannite (Sch) is an efficient adsorbent for arsenic(III) removal from arsenic(III)-contaminated groundwater. In this study, bio-schertmannite was synthesized in the presence of dissolved ferrous ions and Acidithiobacillus ferrooxidans LX5 in a culture media. Bio-synthesized Sch characteristics, such as total organic carbon (TOC), morphology, chemical functional groups, mineral phase, specific surface area, and pore volume were systematically studied after it was dried at 105 °C and then heated at 250–550 °C. Differences in arsenic(III) removal efficiency between 105 °C dried-sch and 250–550 °C heated-sch also were investigated. The results showed that total organic carbon content in Sch and Sch weight gradually decreased when temperature increased from 105 °C to 350 °C. Sch partly transformed to another nanocrystalline or amorphous phase above 350 °C. The specific surface area of 250 °C heated-sch was 110.06 m2/g compared to 5.14 m2/g for the 105 °C dried-sch. Total pore volume of 105 °C dried-sch was 0.025 cm3/g with 32.0% mesopore and 68.0% macropore. However, total pore volume of 250 °C heated-mineral was 0.106 cm3/g with 23.6% micropore, 33.0% mesopore, and 43.4% macropore. The arsenic(III) removal efficiency from an initial 1 mg/L arsenic(III) solution (pH 7.5) was 25.1% when 0.25 g/L of 105 °C dried-sch was used as adsorbent. However, this efficiency increased to 93.0% when using 250 °C heated-sch as adsorbent. Finally, the highest efficiency for arsenic(III) removal was obtained with sch-250 °C due to high amounts of sorption sites in agreement with the high specific surface area (SSA) obtained for this sample. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Improvement of Sodium Leaching Ratio of Ferric Bauxite Sinter after Direct Reduction
Minerals 2017, 7(1), 10; https://doi.org/10.3390/min7010010
Received: 6 November 2016 / Revised: 10 December 2016 / Accepted: 21 December 2016 / Published: 18 January 2017
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1335 | PDF Full-text (4977 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The sodium leaching ratio (ηN) of ferric bauxite direct reduction process is much lower than that of ordinary bauxite; thus, the former consumes more sodium than the latter. ηN can be promoted by increasing the dosage of sodium or [...] Read more.
The sodium leaching ratio (ηN) of ferric bauxite direct reduction process is much lower than that of ordinary bauxite; thus, the former consumes more sodium than the latter. ηN can be promoted by increasing the dosage of sodium or restricted by increasing the heating temperature and time. However, the restriction effect of heating temperature is 16.67 times larger than that of heating time, and the restriction effect decreases 47.03 times faster when heating temperature increases than that process of heating time. These imply that ηN improves with the increasing sodium carbonate dosage and the decreasing heating temperature. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Pore Structure Evolution and Its Effect on Strength Development of Sulfate-Containing Cemented Paste Backfill
Minerals 2017, 7(1), 8; https://doi.org/10.3390/min7010008
Received: 1 December 2016 / Revised: 6 January 2017 / Accepted: 11 January 2017 / Published: 17 January 2017
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 1198 | PDF Full-text (1680 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In this study, the effects of the initial sulfate content on the properties of cemented paste backfill (CPB) made from coarse tailings has been investigated via mercury intrusion porosimetry. The combined effects of the sulfate content and curing time on the total porosity, [...] Read more.
In this study, the effects of the initial sulfate content on the properties of cemented paste backfill (CPB) made from coarse tailings has been investigated via mercury intrusion porosimetry. The combined effects of the sulfate content and curing time on the total porosity, pore size distribution, and unconfined compressive strength of the produced material were discussed. It was found that the specimens with an initial sulfate content of 5000 and 35,000 ppm exhibited higher unconfined compressive strength, while the resulting fine porous structures characterized by pore radii of 10–400 and 1–10 μm significantly improved the mechanical properties of the CPB. In addition, an increase in the curing time decreased the overall pore volume in the radius range of 1–400 μm but increased the pore volume at pore radii less than 1 μm. Full article
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Open AccessEditorial
Acknowledgement to Reviewers of Minerals in 2016
Minerals 2017, 7(1), 7; https://doi.org/10.3390/min7010007
Received: 11 January 2017 / Revised: 11 January 2017 / Accepted: 11 January 2017 / Published: 11 January 2017
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Abstract
The editors of Minerals would like to express their sincere gratitude to the following reviewers for assessing manuscripts in 2016.[...] Full article
Open AccessArticle
Particle Flow Characteristics and Transportation Optimization of Superfine Unclassified Backfilling
Minerals 2017, 7(1), 6; https://doi.org/10.3390/min7010006
Received: 21 October 2016 / Revised: 3 January 2017 / Accepted: 4 January 2017 / Published: 6 January 2017
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1350 | PDF Full-text (9825 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In order to investigate the high volume fraction problem of the solid phase in superfine unclassified backfilling pipeline transportation, characteristic parameters were obtained by fitting to test data with an R–R particle size distribution function; then, a Euler dense-phase DPM (Discrete phase model) [...] Read more.
In order to investigate the high volume fraction problem of the solid phase in superfine unclassified backfilling pipeline transportation, characteristic parameters were obtained by fitting to test data with an R–R particle size distribution function; then, a Euler dense-phase DPM (Discrete phase model) model was established by applying solid–liquid two-phase flow theory and the kinetic theory of granular flow (KTGF). The collision and friction of particles were imported by the UDF (User-define function) function, and the pipeline fluidization system, dominated by interphase drag forces, was analyzed. The best concentration and flow rate were finally obtained by comparing the results of the stress conditions, flow field characteristics, and the discrete phase distributions. It is revealed that reducing the concentration and flow rate could control pressure loss and pipe damage to a certain degree, while lower parameters show negative effects on the transportation integrity and backfilling strength. Indoor tests and field industrial tests verify the reliability of the results of the numerical simulations. Research shows that the model optimization method is versatile and practical for other, similar, complex flow field working conditions. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Characterization of a Fine-Grained Interstratification of Turbostratic Talc and Saponite
Minerals 2017, 7(1), 5; https://doi.org/10.3390/min7010005
Received: 8 November 2016 / Revised: 19 December 2016 / Accepted: 23 December 2016 / Published: 5 January 2017
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Abstract
Interstratifications of talc and trioctahedral smectites from different provenances are used as indicators for geological environments and for geotechnical and technical applications. However, comprehensive layer characterization of these interstratifications is rare. Sample EX M 1694, a clay with red-beige appearance from the Madrid [...] Read more.
Interstratifications of talc and trioctahedral smectites from different provenances are used as indicators for geological environments and for geotechnical and technical applications. However, comprehensive layer characterization of these interstratifications is rare. Sample EX M 1694, a clay with red-beige appearance from the Madrid basin was studied by X-ray diffraction analysis, X-ray fluorescence analysis, Fourier transformation infrared spectroscopy, simultaneous thermal analysis, gas adsorption measurements, cation exchange capacity, and environmental scanning electron microscopy. More than 95% of particles in EX M 1964 belong to the clay fraction <2 µm. It contains 75% interstratification of 30% turbostratic talc, and 70% saponite type III and 25% turbostratic talc. The turbostratic talc(0.3)/saponite interstratification is characterized by a low number of layers per stack (3), small lateral dimension of layers (60–80 nm) and, accordingly, a high specific surface area (283 m2/g) with nearly equal surface area of micro- and mesopores. Thus, the studied material can be used as mined for adsorption, in contrast to acid-treated clays that produce hazardous waste during production. Low particle size of the interstratification drastically reduced thermal stability and dehydroxylation was superimposed by recrystallization of high temperature phases already at 816 °C, which is low for trioctahedral 2:1 layer minerals. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
An Investigation of the Uniaxial Compressive Strength of a Cemented Hydraulic Backfill Made of Alluvial Sand
Minerals 2017, 7(1), 4; https://doi.org/10.3390/min7010004
Received: 10 August 2016 / Revised: 15 December 2016 / Accepted: 21 December 2016 / Published: 3 January 2017
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 1896 | PDF Full-text (4141 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Backfill is commonly used in underground mines. The quality control of the backfill is a key step to ensure it meets the designed strength requirement. This is done through sample collection from the underground environment, followed by uniaxial compression tests to obtain the [...] Read more.
Backfill is commonly used in underground mines. The quality control of the backfill is a key step to ensure it meets the designed strength requirement. This is done through sample collection from the underground environment, followed by uniaxial compression tests to obtain the Uniaxial Compressive Strength (UCS) in the laboratory. When the cylindrical cemented backfill samples are axially loaded to failure, several failure modes can be observed and mainly classified into diagonal shear failure and axial split failure. To date, the UCS obtained by these two failure modes are considered to be the same with no distinction between them. In this paper, an analysis of the UCS results obtained on a cemented hydraulic backfill made of alluvial sand at a Canadian underground mine over the course of more than three years is presented. The results show that the UCS values obtained by diagonal shear failure are generally higher than those obtained by axial split failure for samples with the same recipe and curing time. This highlights the importance of making a distinction between the UCS values obtained by the two different modes of failure. Their difference in failure mechanism is explained. Further investigations on the sources of the data dispersion tend to indicate that the UCS obtained by laboratory tests following the current practice may not be representative of the in-situ strength distribution in the underground stopes due to segregation in cemented hydraulic backfill. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Reflectance Spectroscopy Characteristics of Turquoise
Minerals 2017, 7(1), 3; https://doi.org/10.3390/min7010003
Received: 18 June 2016 / Revised: 2 December 2016 / Accepted: 21 December 2016 / Published: 30 December 2016
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1447 | PDF Full-text (7461 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In this study, we determined the reflectance spectra of four types of turquoise with different hardness (porcelain, hard turquoise, soft turquoise, and loose turquoise) using an ASDTM TerraSpec spectrometer (spectral range 350–2500 nm, Visible-Near Infrared, and Short-wave Infrared). Several absorption features, including [...] Read more.
In this study, we determined the reflectance spectra of four types of turquoise with different hardness (porcelain, hard turquoise, soft turquoise, and loose turquoise) using an ASDTM TerraSpec spectrometer (spectral range 350–2500 nm, Visible-Near Infrared, and Short-wave Infrared). Several absorption features, including six narrow absorption peaks at 425 nm, 1480 nm, 2160 nm, 2218 nm, 2253 nm, and 2347 nm, and three wide peaks between 625–756 nm, 756–915 nm, and 1885–2133 nm have been identified. The strength of the absorption of turquoise increased with decreasing hardness. The absorption peaks at 2160 nm, 2218 nm, 2253 nm, 2347 nm, and 1885–2133 nm on some turquoise spectra (porcelain spectra, for example) were relatively weak, while those at 425 nm, 1480 nm, 625–756 nm, and 756–915 nm were always observed on all turquoise spectra, which could be the diagnostic absorption features for turquoise. Additionally, the hyper-spectral imaging (spectral range 1000–2500 nm, Short-wave Infrared) of the four types of turquoise were obtained using a HySpexTM imager. The Spectral Angle Mapper (SAM) method was successfully used to recognize turquoises, suggesting that hyper-spectral imaging may serve as a useful tool for fast turquoise identification and separation, especially for massive turquoise samples. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
A Comparative Study on the Effect of Flotation Reagents on Growth and Iron Oxidation Activities of Leptospirillum ferrooxidans and Acidithiobacillus ferrooxidans
Minerals 2017, 7(1), 2; https://doi.org/10.3390/min7010002
Received: 19 November 2016 / Revised: 14 December 2016 / Accepted: 26 December 2016 / Published: 30 December 2016
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Abstract
Recently, extraction of metals from different resources using a simple, efficient, and low-cost technique-known as bioleaching-has been widely considered, and has turned out to be an important global technology. Leptospirillum ferrooxidans and Acidithiobacillus (Thiobacillus) ferrooxidans are ubiquitous bacteria in the biomining industry. To [...] Read more.
Recently, extraction of metals from different resources using a simple, efficient, and low-cost technique-known as bioleaching-has been widely considered, and has turned out to be an important global technology. Leptospirillum ferrooxidans and Acidithiobacillus (Thiobacillus) ferrooxidans are ubiquitous bacteria in the biomining industry. To date, the effects of commercial flotation reagents on the biooxidation activities of these bacteria have not been thoroughly studied. This investigation, by using various systematic measurement methods, studied the effects of various collectors and frothers (collectors: potassium amylxanthate, potassium isobutyl-xanthate, sodium ethylxanthate, potassium isopropylxanthate, and dithiophosphate; and frothers: pine oil and methyl isobutyl carbinol) on L. ferrooxidans and A. ferrooxidans activities. In general, results indicate that in the presence of these collectors and frothers, L. ferrooxidans is less sensitive than T. ferrooxidans. In addition, the inhibition effect of collectors on both bacteria is recommended in the following order: for the collectors, potassium isobutyl-xanthate > dithiophosphate > sodium ethylxanthate > potassium isobutyl-xanthate > potassium amylxanthate; and for the frothers, methyl isobutyl carbinol > pine oil. These results can be used for the optimization of biometallurgical processes or in the early stage of a process design for selection of flotation reagents. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Measuring Transport Time of Mine Equipment in an Underground Mine Using a Bluetooth Beacon System
Minerals 2017, 7(1), 1; https://doi.org/10.3390/min7010001
Received: 27 October 2016 / Revised: 27 November 2016 / Accepted: 20 December 2016 / Published: 23 December 2016
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1505 | PDF Full-text (8473 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In this study, the time taken for mine haulage equipment to travel between destinations in an underground mine was measured and analyzed using a Bluetooth beacon system. In this system, Bluetooth beacons are attached to multiple points in an underground mine environment, and [...] Read more.
In this study, the time taken for mine haulage equipment to travel between destinations in an underground mine was measured and analyzed using a Bluetooth beacon system. In this system, Bluetooth beacons are attached to multiple points in an underground mine environment, and smartphones are mounted on mine equipment, such as haulage trucks, to collect transport time data. An underground limestone mine in Korea was selected to test the Bluetooth beacon system. The field experiments indicated that smartphones mounted on haulage trucks can recognize all Bluetooth beacons installed in the vicinity. The results also revealed that the Bluetooth beacon system can be used successfully in underground mines to quantitatively analyze transport times of haulage trucks going back and forth between loading and dumping points. Full article
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