The Sino iron project will be the worlds biggest magnetite iron ore mine when fully operational. The open-pit mine, located in Cape Preston, about 100km south-west of Karratha, Pilbara, Western Australia, will produce magnetite concentrate and pellets.
CITIC Pacific Mining Management purchased the mining rights over the property from Mineralogy, a company owned by popular entrepreneur Clive Palmer, in 2006 and initiated construction in the same year. The project employed 4,000 people during the peak construction phase.
The project was completed in 2014, approximately four years behind schedule. It consists of six production lines, of which the first two lines were operational by end of 2013. First shipment of fine iron ore from the mine was made to China in December 2013 and the project delivered 74Mt of high-grade product since exports commenced.
The project has not only suffered significant delays and consequent cost overruns but was also entangled in legal disputes with Mineralogy as the latter filed a case to cancel CITIC Pacifics mining rights over the property citing the failure of royalty payment as the reason.
Conventional open-cut mining methods including drilling, blasting, loading and hauling are used to mine iron ore from the Sino deposit. The pit will be approximately 500m-deep. Processing facilities at the mine site include a crusher, a concentrator, and a 6mt pelletising plant.
Sino Iron employed some of the worlds biggest haul trucks and excavators. Weighing 260t, the haul truck has a capacity of 340t while the main excavator weighs 1,000t and has a load capability of 4,500t of ore an hour.
The crushed ore enters grinding mills where fine ore stream is produced and transferred to magnetic separators to produce a concentrate. The concentrate is thickened and stored before pumping to the port. It is filtered to reduce moisture and exported for use in steel making.
The four in-pit crushers from Germany have a crushing capacity of crushing 4,250t of ore an hour a unit. The conveyer belt bearing crushed ore from the mine to the concentrate area is approximately 1.7km.
The main AG mill with 28MW gearless motors has a diameter of 12.2m and a length of 11m. The ball mill, the second stage grinding unit, is 7.9m in diameter and 13.6m-long. It is equipped with two 7,800kW motors.
Each of the processing lines used 52 magnetic separators, each containing seven press filters and four dewatering buildings. Each press filter has a production capability of 154t of concentrate an hour.
A 480MW power station consisting of seven SGT-800 gas turbines of 44MW each by Siemens supplies power to the plant. It also comprises three steam turbines with 58MW of capacity each and two heat recovery steam generators.
Ancillary facilities at the mine include a 140,000m a day desalination plant and a dewatering pit with a filtration area of approximately 5,600m. The EPC contract for the desalination plant was awarded to Ausenco.
Forge Group Construction was contracted for the design and construction of several facilities at the mine, including filter building structures, foundations for equipment such as stackers and tanks, as well as the main control building at the port.
Golder Associates was involved in various stages of the project right from the exploration stage to the development stage, in activities such as reviewing the reserves, on-site drilling, GIS services and tailing studies.
VDM Group subsidiary Wylie and Skene was awarded a contract by MCC for the construction of accommodation and warehouse facilities at the project site. Under a $240m 50:50 JV with NRW Civil & Mining, VDM performed earthworks at the mine.
Structural, mechanical and piping (SMP), electrical, and concrete works were carried out by Thiess. BGC Contracting built the foundations for six trains of autogenous grinding (AG) mills and pebble crushers under an $80m contract. Reinforced Earth constructed the walls for crushers three and four under a contract from BGC Contracting.
Murphy Pipe and Civil constructed concentrate, desalination and return pipelines for the mine using the equipment and personnel supplied by Orion Pipeline. MCC contracted Monadelphous for pipeworks associated with the concentrator. CADS assisted in the construction of the $20m slurry and return water pipelines.
Metso Minerals supplied mineral processing equipment for the mine. Iron ore processing equipment comprising two PE jaw crushers, one PY Cone crusher, one ball mill, one ZSW vibrating feeder, one YK vibrating screen and one conveyor belt were delivered by DSMAC.
Metallurgy is defined as a process that is used for the extraction of metals in their pure form. The compounds of metals mixed with soil, limestone, sand, and rocks are known as minerals. Metals are commercially extracted from minerals at low cost and minimum effort. These minerals are known as ores. A substance which is added to the charge in the furnace to remove the gangue (impurities) is known as flux. Metallurgy deals with the process of purification of metals and the formation of alloys.
2. The concentration of ores: The process of removing impurities from ore is known as a concentration of minerals or ore dressing. In metallurgy, we concentrate the ores mainly by the following methods.
3. Hydrolytic method: In this method, we pour the ore over a sloping, vibrating corrugated table with grooves. A jet of water is allowed to flow over the surface. The denser ore particles settle in the grooves, and the impurities are washed away by water.
4. Magnetic separation: In this case, the crushed ore is placed on a conveyor belt. This belt rotates around two wheels in which one of the wheels is magnetic, and therefore the magnetic particles get attracted to the magnetic wheel and fall apart from the non-magnetic particles.
5. Froth floatation: In this process, we take the crushed ore in a large tank which contains oil and water. A current of compressed air is passed through it. The ore gets wet by oil and is separated from the impurities in the form of froth. Ore is lighter, and so it comes on the surface and impurities are left behind.
6. Roasting and calcination: In metallurgy, the process of heating a concentrated ore in the presence of oxygen is known as roasting. This process is applied in the case of sulfide ores. For ores containing carbonate or hydrated oxides, heating is done in the absence of air to melt the ores, and this process is known as calcination.
We have briefly seen the process of metallurgy used commercially for the extraction of different elements. For any further queries, install BYJUS The Learning App and explore an innovative approach to learning.
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