Mining projects around the globe are facing the challenge of recovering ultra-fine metals from low-grade deposits. Due to the global demand for metals like tin and tungsten, mines are beginning to dry up. Companies are being forced to squeeze out every last particle of valuable material to maintain their operations. To remain economically viable during this time, it is important to evaluate current gravity separation systems and processes. Identifying where and how recovery can be improved could be the difference between consistently hitting your targets and total failure.

Tin in 2019

Demand for tin is expected to increase in the coming years due to the rising demand for new technologies like electric vehicles. Tin’s primary use is as solder in circuit boards for many electronic products, but the introduction of long-range EV’s are also breathing new life into the metal. Currently, lithium-ion batteries use graphite as the main anode material. Tin is posed to replace graphite as it could act as a more efficient material and yield longer-distance batteries.

Historical demand for tin has placed the metal in a deficit for nine out of the last ten years. Global supply can’t keep up with the demand, forcing mining operations to buckle down and maximize recovery of the metal.

Tungsten in 2019

Tungsten is another metal in rising demand. China is responsible for the majority of tungsten production and consumption, which heavily influences the global market. Increased environmental standards along with restrictions on tungsten exports in China are giving opportunities for other mining operations around the globe to capitalize on lower grade tungsten deposits. For these operations to remain viable, preconcentration via gravity separation processes need to be examined and optimized.

Sepro’s Condor Dense Medium Separator (DMS) is a preconcentration technology that uses gravity separation to improve the economics of processing metals like tungsten.

Preconcentration Increases Tungsten Recovery

With the Condor DMS, the ore is fed into the feed hopper and mixed with ferrosilicon or magnetite, and water. In this slurry, the densest ore particles are separated and collected through sink outlets for further processing while less dense material is sent to the floats outlet and can be stored with waste rock, bypassing the tailings dam. Using this preconcentration technology increases downstream process capacity and efficiency.

Using Gravity Concentration to Recover Tin and Tungsten

Operations that want to increase their recovery of metals like tin and tungsten will need to do so at a microscopic level. With the addition of a Falcon Gravity Concentrator, economic particle recovery is possible from minerals that would otherwise be rejected. Both tin and tungsten can be recovered down to a minuscule 3 microns in size. Equipment installation is supervised, and key personnel are adequately trained by Sepro staff.

Optimizing gravity separation circuits is crucial for the longevity of tin and tungsten projects. At Sepro, we provide equipment that can increase recovery rates of current operations with preconcentration or gravity concentration technology with minimal project downtime. To get started, contact our gravity separation specialists.