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Optimization of multistage circuits for gravity concentration of heavy mineral sands

Minerals & Metallurgical Processing , 2012, Vol. 29, No. 1, pp. 1-5

McKeon, T. J.; Luttrell, G. H.


Gravity separators such as spirals are commonly used in multistage cleaning and scavenging circuits to improve the quality and recovery of concentrates produced in the industrial minerals industry. Unfortunately, field surveys suggest that many industrial operations are poorly configured in terms of equipment layout. This shortcoming can often be attributed to a failure by engineers to make use of fundamental process engineering tools for circuit design. One of the most important of these is linear circuit analysis. This powerful tool makes it possible to mathematically compare the relative efficiency of circuit configurations in advance of experimental testing. This article provides a basic review of the linear circuit analysis concept and discusses some of the key insights it provides for the layout of multistage circuits. An industrial case study is provided to show the tremendous impact that this process engineering tool can have on the design of multistage spiral circuits in a heavy mineral wet plant.