REFLUX vs Hydraulic Classifier: A Comparative Analysis for Hematite Concentrate Cleaning

Mining Talking Points IV


Edith, Bouchard-Marchand

Quebec Iron Ore (QIO), a subsidiary of Champion Iron Limited (Champion), completed the restart of the Bloom Lake iron ore mine located in the heart of the Labrador Trough region of Northern Quebec, Canada in February 2018. Prior to its restart, the concentrator flowsheet underwent major upgrades which brought the iron recovery to the highest of all Labrador Trough operations. After two profitable years of production, QIO, supported by Soutex, started to look at technologies to improve its current performance and integrate into its expansion project flowsheet. From the lessons learned while optimizing Phase 1, the addition of a scavenger-cleaner processing stage was identified as an improvement opportunity to increase recovery, produce a higher-grade product, and further improve the stability of concentrate quality. In 2019, the NI-43101 feasibility study for the Phase 2 expansion, aiming to double the production of high-grade iron ore concentrate, was published. Based on the metallurgical test work, the hydraulic classifier was selected to perform the scavenger-cleaning duty for its well-established performance and known behavior at the cleaning step in the Phase 1 plant. To validate laboratory results, a pilot scavenger-cleaning hydraulic classifier was installed in Phase 1. Although the hydraulic classifier was selected for the feasibility study, metallurgical test work performed with the REFLUX® classifier showed interesting potential. It was thus decided to also install a pilot RC300 Reflux classifier at the scavenger-cleaning stage in Phase 1. Despite their apparent great similarities, the metallurgical performance was significantly different and many dozens of sampling campaigns highlighted the different performance of both pieces of equipment considering the feed material particle size. This article presents the pilot plant results in terms of recovery, selectivity and stability for both the Reflux classifier and the hydraulic classifier operated in a scavenger-cleaner stage at the Bloom Lake iron ore concentrator.
Keywords: CIMBC22