Autogenous Grinding Circuit at the Empire Mine

Greenwood, Bruce R. ; Rajala, Gary F.
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Pages: 7
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1992
INTRODUCTION The Empire Mine is an iron ore mining, concentrating and pelletizing facility operated by The Cleveland-Cliffs Iron Company in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Owners of the mine are Inland Steel, LTV Steel, Wheeling-Pittsburgh Steel and Cleveland-Cliff s. The orebody is a fine-grained, low grade iron formation with magnetite as the primary constituent. Also present are iron carbonates, iron silicates, chert, hematite, goethite and quartz. The original six concentrating lines were started in late 1963. Successive expansions of ten lines in 1967, five lines in 1974 and 3 lines in 1979 have resulted in Empire reaching a present annual capacity of 8.0 million long tons of pellets. The Empire flowsheet was developed over several years of laboratory bench testing, pilot plant testing and testing of a full-scale primary autogenous grinding circuit. Since the original flowsheet was established, modifications have been made based on pilot plant and full-scale plant tests. The present flowsheet for three sections of the concentrator consists of one stage of crushing, two stages of closed circuit autogenous grinding, two stages of magnetic separation, one stage of hydraulic concentration and two stages of flotation (rougher and scavenger). The flowsheet for the fourth section of the concentrator (Empire 4) is the same as the first three sections, except a crusher has been added to crush excess pebbles. The Empire 4 flowsheet appears in the at- tached figure. PRIMARY GRINDING CIRCUIT FLOWSHEET Empire has a total of 24 individual grinding lines. However, at the present time, Line 1 is not being used for processing crude ore. The primary mill on Line 1 is now grinding flux stone for fluxed pellet production and the secondary mill is being used as a ball mill to grind rougher flotation tailings prior to a scavenger flotation circuit.
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