Mineral processing can involve four general types of unit operation: comminution; particle size reduction, sizing; separation of particle sizes by screening or classification, concentration by taking advantage of physical and surface chemical properties, and dewatering; solid/liquid separation. In all of these processes, the most important considerations are the economics of the processes and this is dictated by the grade and recovery of the final product.
To do this, the mineralogy of the ore needs to be considered as this dictates the amount of liberation required and the processes that can occur. The smaller the particles processes, the greater the theoretical grade and recovery of the final product, but this however is difficult to do with fine particles as they prevent certain concentration processes from occurring.
Ore classification generally consists of four steps. Size reduction, classification, enrichment and dehydration. However, the sizing of equipment to be used for ore preparation can also be examined under the title of ore preparation. Hydrometallurgical and pyrometallurgical methods are also used for enrichment in many facilities.
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