Innovative Mineral Processing With Microwave Technology
Written By: Team Sepro | Date: 11.06.19
At Sepro, we believe that effective mineral processing can be achieved using less energy and natural resources as compared to standard systems. We invest heavily in research and development to bring you innovative solutions like our Falcon Concentrators, which use little to no fluidizing water during mineral recovery.
Recently, we’ve been part of a dedicated team of industry experts working to create a system that saves energy in comminution circuits, a process that is currently extremely inefficient. What we’re developing is a mineral processing solution that provides up to 70% in energy savings compared to standard comminution processes. This innovative project is called CanMicro Technology.
The Problem With Current Comminution Circuits
Conventional grinding is highly inefficient. Industry estimates of peg conventional grinding efficiency at 3-5%, most of the energy is directed towards unprofitable waste. Without screening material before grinding circuits, valuable energy is spent crushing and grinding all input material, no matter its worth.
The microwave process allows valuable minerals to be separated from waste material prior to grinding, directing energy where it matters most. It also creates microfractures in the ore, reducing the energy needed for future grinding.
How Does This Microwave Process Work?
This microwave system applies a short blast of high-powered microwaves at the beginning of the comminution circuit. Since ores are made up of various minerals which heat at different rates in response to microwaves, the differential heating leads to cracking along mineral grain boundaries. This selectively liberates the valuable minerals from the waste.
The waste is then removed from the comminution circuit so that only the valuable mineral ore remains in the circuit for processing.
By effectively removing the waste material and creating microfractures in the valuable ore, we can achieve energy savings of up to 70%.
Natural Resources Canada’s Crush It! Challenge
This technology is currently a contender to win the Natural Resources Canada’s Crush It! Challenge. The competition challenged the mining industry to develop a new clean technology solution that transforms how energy is used for crushing and grinding rocks in mineral processing systems. We are currently a finalist in the competition and the CanMicro team will be working hard over the next 18 months to prove the commercial potential of the technology. Make sure to follow us on LinkedIn or Facebook to stay updated with CanMicro Technology and the Crush It! Challenge.