Why Microwave Treatment of Ores Is Earth-Shattering Technology
Written By: Team Sepro | Date: 26.04.22
Microwave Treatment of Ores is an obvious improvement to many mining operations, and it’s simple to see why.
Have you ever tried to peel a raw chestnut? It’s a long, arduous process to scrape the husk off with a knife to get to the delicious interior. It’s not a fun process, and what’s worse is that you tend to lose some chestnut flesh in the process of peeling the skin.
I’m sure you’d prefer roasting chestnuts over an open flame. I mean, why wouldn’t you?
1. Roasted chestnuts tend to easily pop out of their shells
2. Roasted chestnuts are nice and warm, easy to distinguish from unroasted chestnuts
3. Roasted chestnuts taste GREAT
It’s a no-brainer to prefer roasting your chestnuts before trying to pry them out of their shells.
You would totally “pre-treat” your chestnuts before eating them.
Why wouldn’t you “pre-treat” your ores?
Microwave Pre-Treatment of Ores
Imagine if your ores came pre-treated so that a majority of waste rock was removed before grinding. Just think how much more efficient your operation would be!
Microwave treatment of ores does just that and improves overall throughput by up to 65%.
Here’s how it works:
1. Microwaves can efficiently and instantaneously transmit energy to heat microwave-absorbing materials. This treatment takes less than 2 seconds.
2. Valuable minerals typically heat more readily than waste minerals. This unique heating behaviour creates thermal stress and fractures along grain boundaries of target and waste minerals.
3. The differential thermal expansion of mineral grains gives rocks containing valuable minerals a thermal signature. Our proprietary sorting algorithm uses this heating information to reject barren rocks prior to grinding.
4. Microfractures along mineral grain boundaries reduces the need to grind as finely, preventing the loss of valuable minerals to fines and reducing slimes.
Benefits from microwave pre-treatment include coarser grind size, improved mineral liberation, and higher ore grade. This in turn can improve downstream processes such as gravity concentration, flotation, and leaching.
Overall, microwave treatment of ores results in the following benefits for your mining operation:
• Energy savings of over 50%
• Increased mill throughput by up to 65%
• Less milling capacity required
• Reduced water and GHG emissions
• Enhanced mineral recovery and improved concentrate grades
• Reduction in tailings production, a lower amount to pump and manage
In short: If you want to crush it, Microwave Rocks.
Contact Sepro for Microwave Treatment of Ores
Sepro is the world’s foremost experts on microwave-assisted comminution and sorting.
Our history with commercial microwave pre-treatment technology began over two years ago with our application to Natural Resources Canada’s Crush It! Challenge by presenting new technology with projected energy savings of up to 70%.
What we discovered was that microwave treatment of ores was not only highly energy efficient but was also capable of greatly improving mill throughput.
This technology isn’t limited to just gold recovery! Sepro has developed an extensive database on the microwave amenability of different ore types and can tailor our technology to specific applications. In fact, most mineral and ore types tested saw significant benefit from microwave treatment, including copper, iron, silver, nickel, and other sulphide ores.
Using this ore database and our technical expertise, we are now offering commercial microwave testwork at Sepro’s laboratory in Canada.
Want to learn if microwave mineral testing is right for your mining operation? Ask an expert here.
Don’t microwave tinfoil. Microwave rocks instead!