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The solitary grain liberation model: a description of a mineral liberation model for low-grade ores

Minerals & Metallurgical Processing , 2011, Vol. 28, No. 3, pp. 159-170

Wiegel, R.L.


Some of the mineral deposits that are being processed today, and especially those expected to be processed in the future, have relatively low compositions of the valuable mineral. With these low-grade ores, it is necessary to be able to design processes that are sufficiently low-cost to permit exploitation. One approach to minimizing the capital and operating costs for these processes is to use the capabilities of computer process simulation in the design phase of development, to make important technical and economic decisions regarding the evaluation of alternative process flow schemes, the selection of equipment and the choice of operating conditions. There are mathematical simulation models for most mineral processing operations, including several each for size reduction, size classification and mineral separations. To be able to tie these individual operating models together in an integrated mineral process simulation, however, it is important, in fact in some cases essential, that there be a model which describes how the mineral system responds to size reduction in making the liberated valuable and waste mineral particles available for concentration or rejection operations and the locked particles available for possible recirculation. This, then, is the role played by the mineral liberation model, showing the relationship between particle size, quantity and composition throughout the process.