Special Issue "Process Mineralogy of Critical Metals"

A special issue of Minerals (ISSN 2075-163X).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 December 2017)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Dr. Pura Alfonso Abella

Departament d'Enginyeria Minera i Recursos Naturals,Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya,08242 Manresa,Spain
Website | E-Mail
Interests: quantitative mineralogy; geometallurgy; mineral processing; mineral liberation (liberation degree); advanced mineralogical characterisation equipment

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The production of some metals is critical for the development of society, especially for high technology applications such as smartphones, fibre-optic cables, personal computers and wireless devices. Critical metals are those of great economic interest and a high risk of supply because of their scarcity or geopolitical causes. There is a high interest in finding new mines to obtain these metals. In this way, low-grade deposits can be of economic importance if the obtained ores are processed using methods that are capable of achieving optimal recovery. This requires a detailed knowledge of the mineralogical characteristics of the ore and its evolution during processing. Process Mineralogy plays an important role during the development of different stages of mineral processing, such as gravity separation and flotation. It provides information of which type of mineral constitute the ores and associated gangue, their textures, distribution of the metals of interest and degree of liberation of ores. Additionally, to make mining a sustainable activity, we also have to know, in detail, the mineralogy of wastes generated from processing to management of them; process mineralogy gives us knowledge on the chemical and textures of minerals necessary to safely perform this activity, with respect to the environment. Recently, the development of automated quantitative mineralogy has highly increased the efficiency of Process Mineralogy, although more traditional techniques, such as powder X-ray diffraction or electron microprobes, are also important to achieve a complete mineralogical characterization. Papers on recent advances in Process Mineralogy applied to the different stages of obtaining critical metals are welcome to this Special Issue.

Dr. Pura Alfonso Abella
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Minerals is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Critical metals
  • Representative sampling
  • Mineralogy
  • Ore textures
  • Automated mineralogy
  • Mineral processing
  • Mineral liberation

Published Papers (8 papers)

View options order results:
result details:
Displaying articles 1-8
Export citation of selected articles as:

Research

Open AccessArticle
Selective Liberation of High-Phosphorous Oolitic Hematite Assisted by Microwave Processing and Acid Leaching
Minerals 2018, 8(6), 245; https://doi.org/10.3390/min8060245
Received: 12 April 2018 / Revised: 27 May 2018 / Accepted: 29 May 2018 / Published: 7 June 2018
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (5078 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The release of valuable minerals from the associated gangues is called liberation. Good liberation is essential to the subsequent separation stage. Selective liberation is advantageous to improve the degree of liberation. Oolitic hematite is one of the typical refractory iron ores in China, [...] Read more.
The release of valuable minerals from the associated gangues is called liberation. Good liberation is essential to the subsequent separation stage. Selective liberation is advantageous to improve the degree of liberation. Oolitic hematite is one of the typical refractory iron ores in China, and its resources are abundant. However, owing to its fine dissemination and complex mineralogical texture, the conventional grinding processes are inefficient in improving the selective liberation of oolitic hematite. In this study, microwave processing and acid leaching were used to assist the liberation of oolitic hematite. The assisted liberation of the oolitic hematite mechanisms of microwave processing and acid leaching were studied by using scanning electron microscope (SEM), X-ray diffraction (XRD), BET specific surface area detection method (BET) and the transflective microscope method. The results indicated that microwave processing can reduce the mechanical strength of oolitic hematite and improve the liberation of hematite, and acid leaching can improve the microwave-assisted liberation efficiency and reduce the content of phosphorus in the grinding product. Compared to direct grinding, the liberation of hematite increased by 54.80% in the grinding product, and especially, the fractions of −0.038-mm and 0.05–0.074 mm increased significantly; however, there was no obvious change in other grain sizes, and the dephosphorization ratio reached 47.20% after microwave processing and acid leaching. After the two stages, the iron grade and recovery of the magnetic separation product increased by 14.26% and 34.62%, respectively, and the dephosphorization ratio reached 88.59%. It is demonstrated that microwave processing and acid leaching comprise an efficient method to improve the liberation of hematite and the dephosphorization ratio of oolitic hematite. The two-stage treatment can achieve selective liberation of oolitic hematite, which is beneficial to the following magnetic separation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Process Mineralogy of Critical Metals)
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Removal Process of Structural Oxygen from Tetrahedrons in Muscovite during Acid Leaching of Vanadium-Bearing Shale
Minerals 2018, 8(5), 208; https://doi.org/10.3390/min8050208
Received: 21 April 2018 / Revised: 4 May 2018 / Accepted: 9 May 2018 / Published: 11 May 2018
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (5584 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Process mineralogy shows that most vanadium in mica-type black shale exists in the octahedral sites of muscovite. The extraction of vanadium mainly occurs in the acid leaching process with participation of H ions. In this work, we firstly analyzed the dissolution rules of [...] Read more.
Process mineralogy shows that most vanadium in mica-type black shale exists in the octahedral sites of muscovite. The extraction of vanadium mainly occurs in the acid leaching process with participation of H ions. In this work, we firstly analyzed the dissolution rules of elements in acid leaching of muscovite, then adopted the density functional theory (DFT) calculation to accurately visualize the primary process of the surface corrosion of muscovite by H ions. The experimental results show that K releases the fastest and the release of Al is consistent with K. The simulation results find that the H preferentially shifts to the unsaturated structured O of the tetrahedron to form a strong 001 surface hydroxyl after replacing K, as well as relaxing the near Al(Si)–O bonds for the further removal of structural oxygen. Then, the 001 surface hydroxyls more likely participate in the dehydroxylation reaction through the reverse-path mechanism to remove the structural oxygen and break the hexagonal rings of the tetrahedral sheets. Remarkably, the formation and removal of structural water are overall endoergic, meaning that the disintegration of muscovite requires a sustained supply of heat. Further, the octahedral sheets where vanadium exists can be exposed to the acid environment for overall destruction. This detailed atomic migration process in acid leaching of black shale is visualized, which not only illuminates the reaction mechanism of H ions with the muscovite, but also provides guidance for vanadium extraction from black shale and a new concept for the destruction of other minerals. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Process Mineralogy of Critical Metals)
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Optimisation of a Multi-Gravity Separator with Novel Modifications for the Recovery of Ferberite
Minerals 2018, 8(5), 191; https://doi.org/10.3390/min8050191
Received: 15 February 2018 / Revised: 19 April 2018 / Accepted: 20 April 2018 / Published: 2 May 2018
PDF Full-text (8821 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Tungsten is considered by the European Union as a critical raw material for future development due to its expected demand and scarcity of resource within Europe. It is therefore, critical to optimize European tungsten operations and maximise recoveries. The role of enhanced gravity/centrifugal [...] Read more.
Tungsten is considered by the European Union as a critical raw material for future development due to its expected demand and scarcity of resource within Europe. It is therefore, critical to optimize European tungsten operations and maximise recoveries. The role of enhanced gravity/centrifugal concentrators in recovering tungsten from ultra-fine fractions should form an important part of this aim. Reported herein are the results of investigations to improve efficiency of Wolf Minerals’ Draklends mine, a major European tungsten mine, by recovering saleable material from a magnetic waste stream of a low-intensity magnetic separator using an enhanced gravity concentrator. The mine hosts wolframite and ferberite as the main tungsten bearing mineral species. A Mozley multi-gravity separator (MGS) C-900 was selected as it is suited to exploiting small variations in mineral density to affect a separation. Working with a current manufacturer, a novel scraping blade system was tested. To assess the MGS in a statistically valid manner, a response surface methodology was followed to determine optimal test conditions. The test programme showed that the most important parameters were drum speed and wash water rate. Under optimal conditions the model predicted that 40% of the tungsten could be recovered above the required grade of 43% WO3. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Process Mineralogy of Critical Metals)
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Breakage Function for HPGR: Mineral and Mechanical Characterization of Tantalum and Tungsten Ores
Minerals 2018, 8(4), 170; https://doi.org/10.3390/min8040170
Received: 1 March 2018 / Revised: 13 April 2018 / Accepted: 17 April 2018 / Published: 20 April 2018
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (4867 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The modelling of high pressure grinding rolls is described by the population balance model, a mass balance which includes several functions that are related to the mineral characteristics, material kinetics and operative conditions of the device. The breakage distribution function is one of [...] Read more.
The modelling of high pressure grinding rolls is described by the population balance model, a mass balance which includes several functions that are related to the mineral characteristics, material kinetics and operative conditions of the device. The breakage distribution function is one of these functions and refers to the way in which the daughter particles are generated by the process of comminution. The piston-die press is presented as a methodology to determine the breakage distribution function of two different materials, from the mechanical response point of view: altered granite and a cal-silicate material. The aim is to determine the relation between the operative conditions and the mineral characteristics in order to explain and predict the breakage function parameters. The materials were characterised using XRD and single compression strength tests. The altered granite is a brittle material, which generates more fines under single compression conditions compared to bed compression conditions, mainly due to the mineral composition and the response of the material to the breakage action. The cal-silicate material shows a normal trend in its breakage behaviour. As is expected, the mineralogical characterisation is a useful tool to predict the values of the parameters of the breakage distribution function. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Process Mineralogy of Critical Metals)
Figures

Graphical abstract

Open AccessArticle
Quantitative Mineralogical Comparison between HPGR and Ball Mill Products of a Sn-Ta Ore
Minerals 2018, 8(4), 151; https://doi.org/10.3390/min8040151
Received: 16 February 2018 / Revised: 4 April 2018 / Accepted: 5 April 2018 / Published: 11 April 2018
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (40987 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The mineralogy and liberation characteristics of the comminuted Penouta leucogranite host of the Sn-Ta ore were determined. Grinding developed by a combination of high-pressure grinding rolls (HPGR) followed by a ball mill (BM) was compared with a single ball mill process. The mineral [...] Read more.
The mineralogy and liberation characteristics of the comminuted Penouta leucogranite host of the Sn-Ta ore were determined. Grinding developed by a combination of high-pressure grinding rolls (HPGR) followed by a ball mill (BM) was compared with a single ball mill process. The mineral characteristics of the grinding products were analyzed using a Tescan Integrated Mineralogical Analyzer (TIMA-X) and X-ray powder diffraction (XRD). The ore contains 103 ppm of Ta and is mainly composed of quartz, albite, microcline, muscovite, and kaolinite. Nb, Ta-rich minerals are columbite-(Mn) and tantalite-(Mn), as well as minor microlite and wodginite. The liberation in the product is high in the size fraction of less than 250 µm (51–52 wt % for columbite-group minerals (CGM) and 74–80 wt % for cassiterite) and reduced in larger particles (8.8–17 wt % for CGM and 28–37 wt % for cassiterite). The recovery in the −250 µm fraction was high, while in the larger fraction it is limited, remaining up to 80 ppm in some tailings. The combined use of HPGR and a BM reduces the particle size distribution of the product and, thus, increases the liberation of the ores. Smaller fractions can be treated directly using gravity methods; however, particles of a size greater than +250 µm should be ground more. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Process Mineralogy of Critical Metals)
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Rare Earth Elements (La, Ce, Pr, Nd, and Sm) from a Carbonatite Deposit: Mineralogical Characterization and Geochemical Behavior
Minerals 2018, 8(2), 55; https://doi.org/10.3390/min8020055
Received: 5 December 2017 / Revised: 2 February 2018 / Accepted: 2 February 2018 / Published: 8 February 2018
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (2671 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Geochemical characterization including mineralogical measurements and kinetic testing was completed on samples from the Montviel carbonatite deposit, located in Quebec (Canada). Three main lithological units representing both waste and ore grades were sampled from drill core. A rare earth element (REE) concentrate was [...] Read more.
Geochemical characterization including mineralogical measurements and kinetic testing was completed on samples from the Montviel carbonatite deposit, located in Quebec (Canada). Three main lithological units representing both waste and ore grades were sampled from drill core. A rare earth element (REE) concentrate was produced through a combination of gravity and magnetic separation. All samples were characterized using different mineralogical techniques (i.e., quantitative evaluation of minerals by scanning electron microscopy (QEMSCAN), X-ray diffraction (XRD), and scanning electron microscopy with X-ray microanalysis (SEM-EDS)) in order to quantify modal mineralogy, liberation, REE deportment and composition of REE-bearing phases. The REE concentrate was then submitted for kinetic testing (weathering cell) in order to investigate the REE leaching potential. The mineralogical results indicate that: (i) the main REE-bearing minerals in all samples are burbankite, kukharenkoite-Ce, monazite, and apatite; (ii) the samples are dominated by REE-free carbonates (i.e., calcite, ankerite, and siderite); and (iii) LREE is more abundant than HREE. Grades of REE minerals, sulfides and oxides are richer in the concentrate than in the host lithologies. The geochemical test results show that low concentrations of light REE are leached under kinetic testing conditions (8.8–139.6 µg/L total light REE). These results are explained by a low reactivity of the REE-bearing carbonates in the kinetic testing conditions, low amounts of REE in solids, and by precipitation of secondary REE minerals. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Process Mineralogy of Critical Metals)
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Comparison of Seven Texture Analysis Indices for Their Applicability to Stereological Correction of Mineral Liberation Assessment in Binary Particle Systems
Minerals 2017, 7(11), 222; https://doi.org/10.3390/min7110222
Received: 27 October 2017 / Revised: 10 November 2017 / Accepted: 14 November 2017 / Published: 16 November 2017
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (6255 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
An effective correction method for stereological bias is required because of the importance of accurate assessment of mineral liberation of ore particles. Stereological bias is error caused by the estimation of a three-dimensional liberation state based on two-dimensional sectional measurements. Recent studies have [...] Read more.
An effective correction method for stereological bias is required because of the importance of accurate assessment of mineral liberation of ore particles. Stereological bias is error caused by the estimation of a three-dimensional liberation state based on two-dimensional sectional measurements. Recent studies have proposed a stereological correction method based on sectional particle texture analysis, which employs numerical particle models. However, the applicability of this method to unfamiliar particle systems, with different shape and texture characteristics from the numerical particle model, has not been thoroughly investigated. In this study, the viability of the method for examination of the internal structure and shape of unfamiliar particles, was assessed using four types of particle systems, based on combinations of two types of internal structures (Boolean and Voronoi) and two types of particle shapes (spherical and irregular). Seven different texture analysis indices were utilized for composition distribution correction with regard to each of the four types of particle systems. The results suggested that a model based on the angular second moment and/or entropy, employed by the spatial gray level dependence method, showed the greatest viability for assessment of unfamiliar particle internal structure and/or shape. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Process Mineralogy of Critical Metals)
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
A Process Mineralogy Approach to Gravity Concentration of Tantalum Bearing Minerals
Minerals 2017, 7(10), 194; https://doi.org/10.3390/min7100194
Received: 3 August 2017 / Revised: 21 September 2017 / Accepted: 12 October 2017 / Published: 13 October 2017
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (7541 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The historic Penouta mine in northwest Spain is the focus of efforts to extract tantalum from tin mining waste. This paper describes the characterisation of the tantalum mineralogy of waste material from the deposit. Characterisation was realised using quantitative mineralogy and geochemistry. This [...] Read more.
The historic Penouta mine in northwest Spain is the focus of efforts to extract tantalum from tin mining waste. This paper describes the characterisation of the tantalum mineralogy of waste material from the deposit. Characterisation was realised using quantitative mineralogy and geochemistry. This paper further identifies other phases of interest and investigates the potential for extraction using gravity separation techniques. The gravity concentrate obtained through these tests was analysed using quantitative mineralogy and electron probe microanalysis. Following characterisation of the sample material to identify the key Ta-bearing mineral phases and assess liberation, a series of gravity separation trials were conducted using Heavy Liquid Separation (HLS), Mozley table, Knelson concentrator separation and shaking table. The laboratory shaking table used to conduct a rougher test and a rougher/cleaner test to simulate a spiral-table circuit using the Penouta material. Mass balance calculations were carried out to calculate the contained metal content of the feed material and concentrate products in order to assess recovery rates for Ta, Sn and Nb across a range of grains sizes. Ta was found to be present predominantly in the solid-solution columbite-group mineral, along with minor Ta present as microlite and as impurities within cassiterite. It was found that over 70% of the Ta is contained within the −125 μm fraction, with the Ta-bearing minerals tantalite and microlite being closely associated with quartz. Mozley table separation resulted in recoveries of 89% Ta and 85% Nb for the −125 μm fraction. The Knelson Concentrator trial was carried out on the −625 μm size fraction, thereby eliminating low grade material found in the coarsest fractions. Size analysis of the recovery rate for each product, shows that the Knelson concentrator is most efficient for recovery of −125 μm particles. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Process Mineralogy of Critical Metals)
Figures

Figure 1

Minerals EISSN 2075-163X Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
Back to Top