Iron ore is the fourth most common element in the Earth’s crust and is generally extracted by way of open-pit mining operations. Recovering high-grade iron ore is a relatively simple process where the mined materials are crushed and run through a magnetic separator. However, iron ore is often found in banded formations, surrounded by silica, quartz, and other contaminants. In order to recover the lower-grade iron ore, flotation separation is generally performed to maximize the yield from all mined materials. However, flotation separation requires a fresh water source and chemical additives—a process that produces a high volume of toxic tailing materials that needs to be stabilized over time in holding ponds.
As valuable as lower-grade iron ore is, the wet flotation process presents three major problems for mining operators:
– Water: Unless there is a fresh water source near where mining operations are happening, water will need to be shipped in.
– Chemicals: The chemicals used in the wet flotation process add an extra expense.
– Material Management: Once the water has been treated with wet flotation chemicals, it cannot be recycled and it becomes an environmental hazard. Building holding ponds adds additional expense to a project, it takes up a significant amount of real estate, and if the toxic materials are not managed properly can create an environmental nightmare that can damage surrounding water tables and poison animals and humans. This can also lead to major lawsuits.
ST Equipment & Technology has created a proprietary dry separation process that provides a far better alternative. In addition to eliminating the expenses of a fresh water source and wet flotation chemicals, our proprietary tribo-electrostatic belt separator takes the environmental risk factor out of the mining equation, often making it easier to obtain mining permits. It can also separate feed materials down to very fine particle sizes, maximizing the amount of iron ore recovered from feed materials, and it is a high-volume process that requires very little energy to run.
With a lower investment cost, reduced operating costs, an environmentally friendly system, and the ability to extract more iron ore from your waste stream, you could say that ST Equipment & Technology has an “ironclad” process to increase your profits and company image.