A Critical Review of Six Key Technologies for Iron Ore Processing


Pietro Navarra (Met-Chem), Ryan Cunningham (Met-Chem), Sunil Koppalkar (Met-Chem)

Although the rate of growth in global iron ore production has slowed in recent years, production on an absolute basis remains high at around 2 BTPY. Consequently, higher quality deposits continue to be exhausted, and there is general consensus across the industry that ore bodies are becoming more challenging to process. There are indications of diminishing ore grades on a global basis, as well as on a mine-by-mine basis. The recent downward trend in iron ore prices after many years of very favourable pricing has caused a shift in mentality from expansion to optimization, with the goal of improving competitiveness. In order to accomplish this goal, many producers are initiating projects to increase weight recoveries in an effort to reduce operating costs. Other operations are focussing on improving the quality of their final product. In either case, iron ore operations are increasingly relying on technology and its successful implementation to stay competitive. This paper explores the application of six technologies which are considered key to the iron ore industry going forward, namely: High Pressure Grinding Rolls, Fine Grinding, Fine Screening (Derrick Stack Sizers®), the Reflux Classifier® , Flotation and Pelletizing.
Keywords: Pelletizing, Iron Ore, HPGR, Flotation, Stack Sizer®, Reflux Classifier®