Sebastian Cline, University of British Columbia; Sanja Miskovic, University of British Columbia; Utkan Caliskan, University of British Columbia; Siddharth Ganapathy, University of British Columbia; Kenneth Pacardo, University of British Columbia; Juan Lucero Cabezas, University of British Columbia

The environmental and economic challenges faced in the extraction of fine iron particles presents a need for efficient and low environmental impact separation technologies. Specifically, a chemical treatment free low power process for the separation of small particles of iron bearing ores holds substantial promise for reducing environmental effects and optimizing mine productivity. By utilizing the ferromagnetic and paramagnetic characteristics of iron ores, magnetic separation is a common technique; however classical magnetic separation systems such as high gradient magnetic separators require multiple process sequences to generate suitably high recovery of small particle size iron ores. By utilizing small channels at the 1cm diameter scale the magnetic effects become more pronounced, theoretically allowing for the precise tuning of separation parameters over all particle sizes with high recovery. An application targeted at 50 to 500 micron particles of hematite is being developed with targeted recovery over 70% and a high grade. Initial research and development has been conducted using 3D printed test channels confirming the small scale separation principle, with research now being focused on tuning the separation parameters to target specific particle profiles. To achieve this goal, an advanced fluidics model of the particle flow through a separation chamber has been developed in OpenFOAM. By pairing this simulation with a genetic algorithm using DAKOTA key channel geometries will be identified for experimental verification. Once a geometry has been identified it is theoretically possible to target different particle profiles by altering the magnetic field intensity. The identification of an optimal geometry is expected by March of 2019 with further characterization of the use cases and tunability to follow.
Mots Clés: Iron separation, high recovery, magnetic separator