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Minerals 2018, 8(7), 272; https://doi.org/10.3390/min8070272

Pre-Concentration of Iron-Rich Sphalerite by Magnetic Separation

DMR Convergence Research Center, Korea Institute of Geoscience and Mineral Resources, Daejeon 34132, Korea
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Received: 9 May 2018 / Revised: 15 June 2018 / Accepted: 25 June 2018 / Published: 27 June 2018
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Abstract

With the rise in metal prices and the growing importance of metallic minerals in the South Korean economy, there has been a steadily increasing demand to redevelop metal mines that have been shut down since the 1990s. However, it is not possible to ensure that such plans are economically feasible by using conventional mining processes, mainly flotation, because of low ore grade and complex mineral compositions. To improve the efficiency, and to reduce the operating cost of the entire process, pre-concentration by magnetic separation of Pb–Zn deposits has been investigated to reduce the mass and improve the grade of feed samples that are loaded into the flotation system. The results show that the response of sphalerite to magnetic separation varied as a function of its iron content: iron-rich sphalerite was recovered at magnetic intensities below 0.65 T, and relatively pure sphalerite was recovered at magnetic intensities above 0.85 T. Therefore, Pb–Zn ore could be sufficiently pre-concentrated by magnetic separation between 0.65 and 0.85 T to remove low-grade target elements. As a result, the mass of the sample fed into the flotation system was reduced almost by half, and the grade of zinc, lead, and copper was enhanced by 65%, 55%, and 33%, respectively. Therefore, it is possible to improve the efficiency of the entire process by reducing the amount of the sample to be fed to subsequent processes, such as grinding and flotation, while minimizing loss of the target mineral through magnetic separation. View Full-Text
Keywords: sphalerite; Pb–Zn deposit; magnetic separation; beneficiation; pre-concentration sphalerite; Pb–Zn deposit; magnetic separation; beneficiation; pre-concentration
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Jeong, S.; Kim, K. Pre-Concentration of Iron-Rich Sphalerite by Magnetic Separation. Minerals 2018, 8, 272.

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