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Extractive Metallurgy

Minerals and Metallurgy

Round iron pot holds red hot pellets

Pyro- and hydro- metallurgy

Pyrometallurgy/High Temp Processing

This program is focused on performing applied research in the areas of agglomeration, pelletizing, granulation, induration, sintering and associated physical/metallurgical quality assessment, primarily associated with the iron ore and direct-reduced iron industries.

Capabilities of the laboratory include:

  • Batch Balling
  • Mini-Pot Furnace
  • Pot Grate Furnace
  • Tube Furnace
  • Box Furnace
  • Pilot Scale Linear Hearth Furnace
  • Physical Quality Determination of Iron Ore Pellets
  • Metallurgical Quality Determination of Iron Ore Pellets
  • Chemical Analyses

We are currently working on several projects, including a sintering program using waste oxides and metallics; physical and pyrometallurgical quality testing of iron ores; an organic binder testing program; and a project charter for a DRI simulator project.

Hydrometallurgical Processing

This research area interacts closely with mineralogists, geologists, metallurgists, mineral processors, water researchers, energy researchers and chemists with the aim of improving process routes for metal extraction and product recovery. The goal is to develop cost-effective processes for sustainable and environmentally responsible extraction of metals from minerals while decreasing the negative environmental impact of metal extraction processes. It provides world class services for development of new mineral reserves, process flowsheet development, improvement of existing processes, and precise analysis of process changes before they are implemented for the ferrous and non-ferrous mineral processing industry.

This collaborative research effort within the institute and with industrial partners is continually expanding its leaching and solvent extraction capabilities. Physical separation techniques are often coupled with hydrometallurgical processes to produce the most efficient processing flowsheets.

Previous research included copper-nickel-sulfide flotation and hydrometallurgical processing for recovery of high-purity iron, copper, nickel, and platinum-group metals.

Currently, ilmenite processing is conducted via gravity (spiral) separation and hydrometallurgical techniques for recovery of high-purity iron, titanium, and vanadium. In the future, manganese recovery will be explored via wet high-intensity magnetic separation (WHIMS), flotation, and hydrometallurgical techniques for recovery of high-purity iron and manganese.