A Comparison Of Different Cyclones In Addressing Challenges In The Classification Of The Dual Density UG2 Platinum Ore

Mainza, A.
Organization: The Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Pages: 8
Publication Date: Jan 1, 2005
It is common practice in the mineral processing industry to use hydrocyclones for particle classification. However, classification in the UG2 platinum circuits using the hydrocyclone poses major challenges due to the differences in density between silica and chromite, the two major components of this ore. Silica, the PGM carrying component, has an average density of 2.7 and the barren chromite component has an average density of 4.5. When conventional and flat bottom cyclones are used there is a misplacement of particles due to differences in density leading to inefficiencies in the classification by size. As a result of the density effect, coarse silica reports to the overflow, resulting in loss of recovery, and fine chromite reports to the underflow, resulting in loss of milling capacity and unnecessary production of fine chromite. A classifier based on a different concept was required in the classification of UG2 platinum ore. The three-product cyclone, which is a hydrocyclone with two concentric vortex finders to produce three distinct products, has been tested in the UG2 ore application and indications are that misplacement of particles due to differences in the component densities can be minimized through the use of this unit. Industrial and pilot plant trials were conducted and indications are that the three-product cyclone can be installed to selectively produce a middlings stream that can be screened using Pansep screens to provide a screen oversize, which is predominantly coarse silica that can be preferentially reground to recover the PGM values contained in the coarse silica.
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