Selection Of Gravity Concentration Equipment

Burt, R. O.
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Pages: 14
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1986
Gravity concentration - the separation of minerals according to their relative density - is one of the oldest forms of mineral processing. Even though modern technology has developed a range of other processes, gravity concentration remains as one of the most important methods employed for mineral separation. The range of minerals recovered covers a wide spectrum, from andelusite to zircon, from coal to diamond, from gold to industrial mineral. The long history of gravity concen┬Čtration, along with a still imperfect understanding of the various mechanisms involved has resulted in a series of ingenious engineers developing, some┬Čtimes perfecting and sometimes rejecting, a wide range of equipment, suited for a variety of different duties. 'Selection' in the context of gravity separation, is primarily the choice of the right type of equipment for the separation in hand; 'sizing' of the correctly chosen unit is, more often than not, determining the appropriate number of units required to suit the throughput. The accent of this chapter will, therefore be 'selection'. A brief description of the major types of gravity concentration equipment will follow a discussion of the factors which determine the selection of the correct unit. CLASSIFICATION OF GRAVITY CONCENTRATION EQUIPMENT All concentration equipment has a primary function and a secondary function. The primary function is the efficient separation of the constituent minerals into two or more discrete phases; the secondary function is to effectively cause the discharge of these discrete phases into separate compartments (Aplan 1975). For maximum efficiency of operation, the forces which effect the primary function should not also result in the secondary function occurring; in such cases optimum operating conditions required for the primary function, separation, may have to be compromised to ensure reasonably efficient operation of the secondary function, product discharge. With gravity concentration, the primary function is effected by the relative movement of minerals of different density in response to gravity and one or more other forces, the latter often including the
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