The effect of extended milling on minerals
The effect of extended ball milling has been studied for two industrial processes: (1) the processing of metal sulphide concentrates; and (2) the carbothermic reduction of ilmenite to synthetic rutile. The plant concentrates were a gold ore with 128 g/t Au of which 8% was non-refractory and a zinc concentrate with copper impurities.
The gold concentrate showed complete dissolution of the gold bearing minerals after milling giving almost complete gold liberation. The zinc concentrate showed almost all of the sulphides had solubilized leaving the gangue and elemental sulphur. A study of pure pyrite and arsenopyrite shows that selective dissolution should be possible by a simple leaching process directly after milling. The milling of ilmenite and coal together results in a temperature decrease of 150°C in the subsequent carbothermic reduction of ilmenite, in addition to improving both the rate of reaction and the selectivity of reduction to rutile.
Mineral processsing, Extended ball milling, Milling.