Iron Ore Beneficiation

IRON ORE BENEFICIATION - FROM NATURAL RESOURCES TO VALUABLE PRODUCTS

Mineral processing is the cornerstone of efficient and sustainable steel production and essential to providing a high-quality raw material for the metallurgical production chain.

As a life-cycle partner in the global iron and steel business, Primetals Technologies offers specialized solutions for iron ore beneficiation, as well as for tailings management and processing. Extensive knowledge of downstream iron and steel production technologies, combined with access to a large network of renowned institutes and universities, means we are uniquely positioned to focus on the entire metallurgical processing route and therefore able to optimize the customer’s entire value chain in terms of CAPEX, OPEX, and product quality. Our applications are driven by key factors such as ecological footprint, sustainability, a high degree of automation, and autonomy in the choice of processing equipment.

Capital Projects - Optimum plant configuration and comprehensive services

Primetals Technologies is synonymous with cost-effective and in-time project implementation. From minor upgrades to large-scale capital projects, our solutions cover the entire spectrum of disciplines - from process development, engineering, and brand-independent sourcing of equipment, through to site services geared toward seamless construction work. Extensive knowledge of various iron ore types, combined with our holistic expertise in iron- and steelmaking, enable us to future-proof our customers’ mineral processing plants. The highest levels of automation and digitalization ensure stable operation and maximum plant productivity. Our automation concepts are the link between beneficiation and pelletizing and sinter plants, ensuring that all elements work in harmony as one coordinated and streamlined plant.

 

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Tailings Beneficiation – Modular concept for turning waste into a valuable product 

Tailings from mineral processing operations are a valuable source of raw materials. In order to meet current demands for environmental care and corporate responsibility, while also meeting the highest health and safety standards, the tailings can be recycled with the modular Tailings Beneficiation Concept of Primetals Technologies. The system is designed to recover valuable iron bearing material from tailings dams as well as from effluents of existing beneficiation plants. The remaining tailings are suitable for dry stacking and mine backfilling. The specific design of the modular Tailings Beneficiation Concept is tailored toward individual feed qualities in order to comply with product and market requirements. Primetals Technologies offers an innovative build-own-operate/transfer (BOO/T) business model where the plant is set up and operated by Primetals Technologies, which means that no investment in plant implementation is necessary. Tailings are processed for a fee and the valuable iron ore concentrate that is recovered is returned to the mining operation for further use or sale.

The concept encompasses the following:

  • Based on chemical, physical, and mineralogical analysis, Primetals Technologies assesses the potential application of available tailings for beneficiation and dewatering.
  • Where assessment shows feasible results, tailings are examined in beneficiation testing facilities, both in the laboratory and in pilot-scale plants.
  • Depending on the customer’s setup, a BOO/T model for Tailings Beneficiation Services can be offered. It is also possible to implement the plant as a capital project.

 

Hybrid Flotation Technology - Processing of ultra-fines with enhanced recovery

Hybrid Flotation Technology has been specifically developed to address the challenges involved in separating ultra-fine and problematic particles in mineral concentrates. The Hybrid Flotation Cell developed by Primetals Technologies combines a pneumatic flotation principle with a columnar flotation method. Feed slurry and flotation gas are effectively mixed up in the turbulent flow regime of the injector system before entering tangentially into the flotation cell. This enhances the frequency of contacts between the gas bubbles and very fine particles, which optimizes recovery of fines and increases the yield. In addition, the columnar section of the unique hybrid design ensures a second scavenging flotation stage for the particles, which also contributes to improved recovery. The Hybrid Flotation Cell of Primetals Technologies does not require an impeller system, which means the rotor or stator is  not subject to wear or friction. Low energy consumption and less maintenance also ensure lower operational costs.

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Process and Plant Development - From diversity of raw materials to optimized products

Complex ores, finer interlockings of mineral phases, and inbound contaminants require fundamental process knowledge and raw materials expertise. Mineralogical characterization, laboratory testing, and process simulation - Primetals Technologies has the technology to develop tailor-made solutions for beneficiation processes which enables plant operators to produce the highest levels of concentrate, with particular emphasis on requirements for the Direct Reduction (DRI) route.

If producers require industry-leading expertise and services for raw materials and products, this is what Primetals Technologies can offer:

Raw material assessment
Independent evaluation of the beneficiation potential of raw materials in combination with metallurgical process expertise. Identification of the best options for beneficiation routes, and recommendations for improvements to existing processes.

Laboratory and pilot testing
Beneficiation testing on a small or large scale in close collaboration with world-renowned laboratories, institutes, and universities.

Process and plant audits
Audits of current production processes at the plant aimed at identifying potential for improvements are carried out by experts in the fields of metallurgy, engineering, operation, and automation.

Process simulation
Mass balancing and simulation of current and future operational scenarios can be extended to the entire steel production route. The simulation tool m.simtop has been developed by Primetals Technologies and includes simulation models for each step of the steel production, starting from the very beginning with raw materials.

CAPEX and OPEX studies
Our evaluations are based on the objective selection of mineral processing equipment currently available on the market and which best meets the techno-economic requirements of our customers.

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Reference Story: Preparation of iron ore concentrates for 6 mt/year pelletizing plant

Type of plant: Iron ore beneficiation plant 
Customer: Stoylensky GOK, Stary Oskol, Russia

Optimized moisture content of pellet feed for highest throughput
As supplier to part of the most modern iron ore pelletizing complex in the CIS-region, Primetals Technologies delivered an advanced process solution for the preparation of raw materials to meet the pelletizing plant’s requirement for optimum product quality.

Following receipt of the slurry in a thickener, the challenge was to prepare the concentrate for a seamless, green pelletizing process. Optimum moisture content and balanced material consistency, as well as a constant and even supply of material, were among the most important factors. Through the implementation of a series of advanced hyperbaric filters, the material properties and in-plant logistics were optimized to ensure the supply of high-quality raw material for the downstream pelletizing process.

The continuous supply and preparation of bentonite also fell under the responsibility of Primetals Technologies, including train unloading, intermediate storage, pre-drying, and grinding. With a vertical dry grinding mill and controlled addition of hot gas to the mill, adequate amounts of bentonite can be prepared, ensuring constant quality parameters suitable for the pelletizing process.

As a consortium leader, Primetals Technologies was also responsible for the engineering, supply, and commissioning of the complete water system, the supply and distribution of electric energy, raw material, and product sampling, as well as product storage and train loading facilities. The pelletizing plant reached its nominal capacity in its first year of operation.

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