Extracting Value

Posted on January 7, 2021

Sean Delfel headshot

The process of recovering & concentrating important raw materials from the surrounding rock, sand & clay that is accessible to surface mining involves numerous technical challenges bridging a vast spectrum of science & engineering.

Because the minerals of interest are present in very small concentrations, the amount of ore that must be processed commercially is daunting. As a result, seemingly small increases in performance & efficiency can have a dramatic impact on process economics.

The issues that must be dealt with in this industry is wide and include:

  • Limitations in transport phenomena, restricting rates associated with many chemical reactions exploited in the mining flowsheet
  • Challenging solid/liquid separations, often complicated by complex operating conditions & chemistry
  • Challenges associated with the design, operation & characterization of fluidized bed technology that forms the basis for many process units
  • Diverse water treatment issues, often involving the application of aerobic & anaerobic biological systems
  • Geotechnical challenges associated with mine site reclamation, in which the rejected ore components are reintroduced into the natural setting
  • Erosion & material wear associated with the processing of dry and slurried solids

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