Kiruna mineral processing starts underground — Bulk sorting by LIF
The iron ores of the Kiruna mine in Sweden are of exceptional quality except for the phosphorus content in certain zones of the orebody. The prevention of mixing ores high in phosphorus with those low in phosphorus has always been of significant economic importance. The ongoing introduction of tele-mining and automatic haulage by LHDs requires new means in the field of quality control underground, as the experienced miner as well as the underground laboratory assistant no longer are involved in the process. As of 1998, LKAB has been testing prototypes of LIF (laser-induced fluorescence) analyzers for non-contact and real-time measurement of the phosphorus content of ore being transported by LHDs from the stopes to the respective ore pass assigned to a certain ore quality. The principles of the analysis of laser-induced fluorescence, the different test phases and results are described and conclusions made. With bulk sorting of ore underground, the mining engineer supports the efforts of the metallurgist in the processing plant.