Development of mineralogical tools to improve magnetic separation efficiency - QC-151

Preferred Disciplines: Mineralogy (Master or PhD)
Company: COREM
Project Length:  4-24 months (1-6 units), to be discussed depending on the candidate’s level of education
Desired start date: Fall 2018
Location: Quebec City, QC
No. of Positions: 1
Preferences: Language: French and English

About Company:

  • The largest centre of expertise and innovation in Canada dedicated to mineral processing
  • More than one hundred and thirty five employees dedicated to make COREM’s members and the mining industry benefit from their work
  • Founded in 1999, recognized as a world‐class center of expertise, ISO 14001: 2015 and 9001: 2015 certified with an accredited ISO 17025: 2005 analytical services laboratory (ASL)
  • An open and vibrant work environment with excellent working conditions and a great remuneration

Project Description:

The concentration of titaniferous and ferrous ore can be executed using various processes or a combination thereof (i.e.: gravimetric, magnetic, flotation, etc.). Those processes require prior fragmentation of the ore, sometimes in very small particles, which represents one of the highest expenses of concentrator plants.

Magnetic separation requires several successive steps, which also involves regrinding steps in between. The efficiency of magnetic separation (mineral recovery and grade) depends not only on the grinding size but also on the physical, chemical and mineralogical characteristics of the different minerals inside the ore. However, the inherent relevance of those characteristics is mostly unknown concerning their actual influence on the process performance, which depends greatly on the mineral composition specific to each ore.

First and foremost, this project would allow defining those characteristics by using a valuable minerals classification model based on the magnetic intensity required to concentrate each type of mineral according to their size and associations with gangue minerals. This model would be based on laboratory magnetic separation trials of select case study samples and on the mineralogical characterization of the resulting products. At the end, this model would improve the understanding and prediction of mineral behavior during magnetic separation of a given as well as establish the optimum grinding size to obtain the most efficient liberation of valuable magnetic minerals.

Depending on the results of this first phase, the project objective will move towards the development of a more efficient magnetic separation process using a magnetic intensity adapted to each stage of concentration as well as to the specific mineral characteristics of each ore type. This process will be developed and tested using a liberation‐based approach taking into account the mineral properties affecting the process performance. Additionally, a number of grinding methods could be evaluated at lab‐scale to measure the potential benefits of each during magnetic separation.

Research Objectives/Sub-Objectives:

  • Phase 1 objectives:
    o 1.1. Improve knowledge on the effect of mineral properties and evaluation of their impact on magnectic separation efficiency (recovery) based on a more thorough mineralogical characterization
    o 1.2. Develop a minerals classification model (for ores selected as case studies within COREM’s membership)
    o 1.3. Develop a laboratory methodology to determine maxiumum recovery curves for each mineral or mineral group based on magnetic properties
  • Phase 2 objectives:
    o 2.1. Optimize laboratory magnetic separator
    o 2.2. Validate and test different products of an industrial magnetic separation circuit

Methodology:

  • Phase 1: Improve knowledge on the effect of mineral properties and evaluate their impact on magnectic separation efficiency:
    • Task 1.1: Litterature review / familiarization
    • Task 1.2: Case study selection
    • Task 1.3: Lab‐scale magnetic separation testing for mineralogical tools development
    • Task 1.4: Microscope observations and characterization of samples produced in tasks 1.2 and 1.3
    • Task 1.5: Data analysis for magnetic separation recovery‐grade curves simulation
    • Task 1.6: Management and publication
  • Phase 2: Validate a liberation‐based approach to magnetic separation based on different products of an industrial magnetic separation circuit:
    • Task 2.1: Tech watch
    • Task 2.2: Plant audit (one or more case studies) to sample the magnetic separation circuit
    • Task 2.3: Mineralogical characterization using MLA of the magnetic separation circuit products and selection of samples to test.
    • Task 2.4: Laboratory magnetic separation testing (one or more equipment) based on the liberation class approach; data analysis.
    • Task 2.5: Management and publication

Expertise and Skills Needed:​

  • Master degree in sciences or engineering and a specialization in applied mineralogy, geometallurgy, geology, geological engineering, mining engineering or geoscience
  • Mastery of mineralogical characterization tools such as the Mineral Liberation Analyzer (MLA), optical microscopes and scanning electron microscopes
  • Knowledge of X‐ray diffraction analysis and electronic microprobes techniques
  • Understand and interpret geological and petrographical data using automated methods (MLA, QEMSCAN, etc.)
  • Knowledge of several minerals and being able to identify them
  • Ability to learn how to operate several magnetic separation devices
  • Discipline, self‐reliance, curiosity and creativity
  • Strong analytical mind and abilities in problem solving
  • Ease to progress in a multidisciplinary team
  • Ability to summarize complex technical content

For more info or to apply to this applied research position, please

  1. Check your eligibility and find more information about open projects.
  2. Interested students need to get approval from their supervisor and send their CV along with a link to their supervisor’s university webpage by applying through the webform or directly to Ingrid Saba at isaba(at)mitacs.ca. Remember to indicate the title of the project(s) you are interested in.

Version française disponible ici

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