Pre-concentration of copper ores by high voltage pulses. Part 2: Opportunities and challenges


The JKMRC has recently reported a novel ore pre-concentration method using high voltage electrical pulses (Part 1 of this paper). The technique utilises metalliferous grain-induced selective breakage under a controlled pulse energy input, and size-based screening to separate the feed ore into body breakage and surface breakage components, leading to ore grade splitting. This technique offers new opportunities for barren pebbles rejection from the AG/SAG mill pebble stream, coarse waste rejection at mine site to reduce the RoM haulage, pre-treatment of AG/SAG mill feed taking the combined advantages of pre-weakening and pre-concentration, and multi-grade comminution and recovery circuits. The challenges for industrial uptake of this technique include ore variation and machine scale up. A diagram describing the pulse energy input in relation to the mass yield, grade, and recovery for various feed particle sizes is proposed for the ore pre-concentration characterisation. The research gaps are discussed and the technical approach is suggested.


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