Classification for Energy's Sake

Dahlstrom, Donald A. ; Kam, Wai-Ping
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Pages: 12
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1992
The mineral industry and individual processing plants are large consumers of energy. While energy conservation has received some attention in the present Federal Administration National Energy Strategy proposal it is obvious that the mineral industry should also continue to emphasize energy consumption reduction for important economic savings alone. As indicated by other studies, comminution is the largest single consumer of energy in the mineral processing plant (1.3% of total electrical energy consumption in the U.S.A.).1 Fine grinding is the largest portion of this amazing statistic. While substantial energy savings have been demonstrated by new machine developments and improved control methods, undoubtedly there are additional areas in comminution where substantial progress can be made. Some time ago, the U.S. Department of Energy published a report on "Comminution and Energy Consumption" by a committee composed of experts in the field of comminution from industry and academia. They identified the following potential for energy savings by specific areas? Classification device design 9-13% Comminution device design 3-16% Control 9% Grinding additive 3-6% Materials 3% It is apparent that the classification device had the first or second highest savings potential. Obviously, serious research consideration must be given to this technology area. A series of three papers have previously been written on the subject of two stage classification research work for ball mill operation by the authors. Accordingly, a brief review will be made. Previous Research Results on Two Stage Classification The hydrocyclone was selected as the type of classification equipment for this study as it represents by far the majority of the devices used in ball milling. While four different hydrocyclone circuits have been proposed by others,3 only two were considered in this work as illustrated in Figure 1. Flowsheet A is truly counter-current in nature in that the product from the ball milling circuit is taken from the first stage overflow
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