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|In dense medium processes for the beneficiation of minerals the consumption of medium (generally ferrosilicon) represents a major component of the operating cost. This provides a strong incentive for improvements in heavy medium recovery circuit design and operation. A major thrust in heavy medium plant design over the past decade has therefore been towards circuits which reduce medium losses. In this paper recent trends in plant design are examined in relation to the factors infl uencing circuit performance and medium losses. Operational details ' which have a significant effect on losses are discussed and illustrated by means of plant and pilot plant test data, with particular emphasis on the performance of wet drum magnetic separators. While the emphasis is on reducing the consumption of the high-cost ferrosilicon medium used in minerals beneficiation, most of the principles described in this paper are equally relevant to the design and operation of magnetite recovery circuits for coal preparation plants.|