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Effects of tramp grinding steel and iron fines on comminution, flotation and cyanidation

Minerals & Metallurgical Processing , 2013, Vol. 30, No. 4, pp. 191-196

Lin, H.K.; Walsh, D.E.; Yen, H.


Comminution circuits are widely used in nonferrous and precious metals milling. Steel crushers, grinding mills and grinding media are typically used in comminution circuits. Comminution circuit wear products, in the form of metallic iron (steel) fines, are unavoidably produced and report to undersize products in the classification circuit, i.e., flotation or leach feed, while tramp grinding steel (TGS) reports to classification oversize products and returns to the grinding mill, building up in the circulating load. In laboratory studies, TGS reduced grinding efficiency significantly, the impact being dependent upon the size of the TGS present in the mill. Because iron fines adsorb flotation reagents effectively, iron fines increase reagent consumption and reduce flotation recovery. Iron fines are also capable of reducing gold recovery in cyanidation circuits via a cementation reaction. When using filtered gold solution from the cyanidation circuit of an Alaskan gold mine, the gold concentration in solution was reduced by 0.2 to 2.6% over various reaction periods when iron fines were present in the solution.