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Transport of Ca, Mg, Na, sulfate and other components of pellet production at the Kiirunavaara iron mine by process water and magnetite surfaces

Minerals & Metallurgical Processing , 2010, Vol. 27, No. 4, pp. 224-231

Westerstrand, M.; Ohlander, B.


It is known that the water chemistry of the process water during ore refinement can affect product quality, such as iron pellet strength. The main objective of this study was to quantify the amounts of major elements, such as Ca, Mg, Na, S and Cl carried by process water and by magnetite grain surfaces to the end product, iron ore pellets made from magnetite ore from the Kiirunavaara Mine in northern Sweden. In addition, the amount of colloids (0.22µm – 1kD) in the process water was examined by ultrafiltration. The amounts of various elements sorbed to the magnetite surfaces were estimated by leaching with Milli-Q water, MgCl2, NH4-acetate and Na-acetate. Total dissolved solids were between 1,446 and 1,775 mg/l, dominated by Ca, S, Na and Cl (89%). The colloidal fraction was less than 3% for major ions. For Ca and Mg, sorption to magnetite surfaces was a much more important transport mechanism for the pelletizing process than evaporated process water, but for Na, Cl and S process water was an important carrier.