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Mineral Process Control Solutions

Supplier: Scantech International

Mineral processing is being improved by the use of real time process control solutions.


Whether at the mine site, at the treatment plant or at the smelter, Scantech offers solutions that aid the blending, handling and monitoring of various minerals, ores and products.

Metal accounting is an application where real time analysis of conveyed materials has proved invaluable.

Process control technology has undergone an amazing revolution in recent years, chiefly because of Prompt Gamma Neutron Activation Analysis (PGNAA) technology. Enabled by enhanced electronic digitisation, PGNAA has led to a new era in process control. Scantech, with its world class research facilities, is an acknowledged leader in this field.

The key to our success is understanding how our customers can best use our process control solutions and how those solutions can be easily and quickly integrated into each individual plant to ensure maximum return on investment.

We are already involved with many exciting projects in different industries and we are actively exploring further opportunities in new industries. So whatever your quality control requirements, our real time process solutions save you time, money and frustration by removing the burden and contraints of traditional sampling systems and laboratory analyses.

Base Metals Elemental Analyser

These metals are essential to our modern lifestyle.

Copper is used extensively in electrical, plumbing and other building applications as well as in coinage. Zinc is an important metal for corrosion resistance and weather protection.

Copper can occur as large, low grade deposits associated with gold, as primary sulphides, as metallic copper, and as enriched carbonate and silicate deposits. Cobalt and arsenic can accompany the copper. Zinc is commonly mined from sulphidic deposits. Ores are generally concentrated using processes such as flotation or leaching and upgraded to metal form by smelting or solvent extraction / electrowinning.

Due to the nature of the ores and their treatment, any variation in composition can have significant impacts on their processing. Ore feed to the plant can be analysed using a GEOSCAN elemental analyser. The ore composition can be used to predict treatment performance (eg Cu:S ratio), enabling improved process control. Concentrate quality can also be monitored to ensure compliance with contract specifications (eg Arsenic levels).

Moisture content of the ore can be monitored using a TBM. The moisture data can assist with metal accounting practices, used to manage dust suppression, optimise filtration and drying process and determine dry tonnage for shipments.

Iron Ore Process Control

The composition of iron ore can be monitored for process control purposes.

Composition of Iron Ore

The composition of iron ore can be monitored in a number of ways. One method involves measuring the natural radiation emitted from iron ore and using known correlations to derive the compositon. Another method involves the direct measurement of the elemental composition.

As an example of the natural radiation application, an Ironscan 1500 has been installed on the raw iron ore conveyor after the first stage of crushing to -90mm. Natural radiation emanates from the ore. The parameters of interest in the iron ore are Fe, Si, Al and P. Preliminary work in the factory allowed a performance guarantee for Si to be offered, and there with high expectations for Fe and Al. Not much success was expected with the measurement of P.

Not only is the customer extremely satisfied with the measurement of Si, Fe and Al, as was expected, but also with the measurement of P as well.

Direct measurement of the elemental compositon is performed using Prompt Gamma Neutron Activation Analysis (PGNAA) technology utilised by the GEOSCAN. In addition to the Fe, Si and Al, this technology allows measurement of elements such as Mn, Ti, Mg, Ca, K and others. The GEOSCAN is effective in monitoring the quality of lump and fines product streams as well as loadout operations. Blending can be controlled to ensure the product quality does not significantly exceeed the specification, hence maximising utilisation of the geological resource. 

Moisture Content of Iron Ore

Iron ore is usually sold on an as received basis. Traditionally it has been assumed that the ore is fairly homogeneous with respect to moisture content, and thus spot sampling of the ore was acceptable. Real time on-line monitoring has shown that this is not always so.

To ensure, for instance, a ship is loaded to the correct specification, a TBM can provide immediate information regarding the moisture content of the iron ore. This information may be able to be acted upon by an operator for process control purposes. The TBM can be integrated with water addition systems for dust management and optimised manual handling performance.

Nickel Quality Monitoring

Nickel is a highly valued metal mainly used in the production of stainless steel, other alloy steels, non-ferrous alloys and castings and electroplating.

Its mineralogy is extremely complex, with the two main types of deposits being magmatic sulphide and lateritic. Cuba, Russia, Canada, Australia and Indonesia are the major Nickel producing countries, having established numerous high grade Nickel deposits over the past two decades.

Iron, Cu, Ni and Sulphur elemental composition is very important in the ore processing. These elements are accurately measured by the PGNAA tehcnique. Thus, a GEOSCAN can be used in both lateritic and sulphidic ore quality monitoring and sorting applications, as well as concentrate monitoring and blending applications.

GoldScan: Gold Analyser, Ore Accounting Tool

The typical application of a Goldscan 1500 analyser is in a deposit where the gold occurs in very low concentrations as fine particles in the gold bearing (reef) rock.

In these deposits, the gold bearing ore has a slightly higher natural background radiation than surrounding rock, due to the presence of fine uranium-bearing minerals. The Goldscan 1500 analyser has been successfully used to detect gold rich ore on a moving belt conveyor by detecting this low level natural radiation.

In one application, the Goldscan was initially installed on the conveyor receiving waste (barren) rock hoisted from underground workings. The primary objective was to provide YES/NO detection of reef that was accidentally being dumped as waste. This objective was easily achieved. A later development resulted in the Goldscan being used to monitor the ore grade and to provide a warning if the grade exceeded a preset limit.

In the meantime the mine economists saw the Goldscan as an important ore accounting tool. In simple terms the mining operational managers estimate the quantity of gold that should be recovered by the beneficiation plant based on the tonnes fed in and the estimated grade.

Usually less gold than estimated was actually produced, leading management to question whether the gold was actually present, or if it was present and not recovered in their beneficiation processes. To improve the accuracy of the gold accounting, a second Goldscan was subsequently installed on the reef conveyor to determine the actual gold content of ore fed into the beneficiation plant. This Goldscan has operated successfully in this application.

Bauxite Elemental Analyser

Aluminium can be extracted from any mineral rich in Alumina, but bauxite is the only aluminium ore.

The key elements in bauxite of relevance to both the producer as well as the end user are Al, Si, Fe, Ti, Na.