Wet grinding of asbestos ores through reduction of slurry viscosities

CIM Bulletin, Vol. 81, No. 912, 1988

D.E.M. PLAUMANN, Dow Chemical Canada Inc., Sarnia, Ontario

The wet grinding of asbestos has attracted the attention of engineers for many years as a means of improving fibre liberation from the ore. Today, added impetus for wet grinding has resulted from a need to minimize worker exposure to asbestos dust in conventional dry mills using air, as well as a need to provide a cleaner, technically superior fibre for use by product manufacturers. However, high viscosities of asbestos slurries create transport and grinding difficulties which have been a factor impeding use of a wet grinding process. Laboratory evaluation of reagents to reduce viscosities of asbestos slurries found that one reagent, XFS-4272.00, reduced the viscosity of a 35% (by weight) slurry by 75%. The impact of XFS-4272.00 on actual grinding parameters were evaluated using a pilot plant rod mill. Slurries containing 78% solids and XFS-4272.00 were successfully milled and asbestos fibres from that milling compared favourably in liberation and relative surface area to asbestos fibres obtained from milling a 4% slurry without additives.
Keywords: Industrial minerals, Asbestos, Grinding, Beneficiation, Health, Safety, Viscosity reduction, Pilot plants.