Tungsten is considered by the European Union as a critical raw material for future development due to its expected demand and scarcity of resource within Europe. It is therefore, critical to optimize European tungsten operations and maximise recoveries. The role of enhanced gravity/centrifugal concentrators in recovering tungsten from ultra-fine fractions should form an important part of this aim. Reported herein are the results of investigations to improve efficiency of Wolf Minerals’ Draklends mine, a major European tungsten mine, by recovering saleable material from a magnetic waste stream of a low-intensity magnetic separator using an enhanced gravity concentrator. The mine hosts wolframite and ferberite as the main tungsten bearing mineral species. A Mozley multi-gravity separator (MGS) C-900 was selected as it is suited to exploiting small variations in mineral density to affect a separation. Working with a current manufacturer, a novel scraping blade system was tested. To assess the MGS in a statistically valid manner, a response surface methodology was followed to determine optimal test conditions. The test programme showed that the most important parameters were drum speed and wash water rate. Under optimal conditions the model predicted that 40% of the tungsten could be recovered above the required grade of 43% WO3.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This project has received funding from the European Union?s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 642201.
- Central composite rotatable design
- Centrifugal gravity separation
- Quantitative mineralogy
- Response surface method
- Tungsten-bearing minerals