Characterization and beneficiation options for tungsten recovery from Yxsjöberg historical ore tailings

Document identifier:
Access full text here:10.3390/pr7120895
Keyword: Engineering and Technology, Geometallurgical approach, Centrumbildning - Centrum för avancerad gruvteknik och metallurgi (CAMM), Mineralteknik, Mineral Processing, Reprocessing, Beneficiation, Characterization, Scheelite, Materials Engineering, Tungsten, Historical tailings, Metallurgi och metalliska material, Materialteknik, Teknik och teknologier, Metallurgy and Metallic Materials, Centre - Centre for Advanced Mining & Metallurgy (CAMM)
Publication year: 2019
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SDG 9 Industry, innovation and infrastructureSDG 3 Good health and wellbeing
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Repositories of historical tungsten mining tailings pose environmental risks, but are also potential resources for valuable metals. They still contain large tonnages of useful minerals and metals, reflecting the inefficient extraction methods and/or low metal prices at the time they were mined. The focus of this study is to evaluate the technical viability of reprocessing the tailings to recover some of the contained valuable minerals and metals, as well as reducing the negative environmental impact associated with the tailings. Geometallurgical studies were conducted on drill core samples taken from the Smaltjärnen tailings repository of the closed Yxsjöberg tungsten mine, Sweden. The collected samples were characterized physically, chemically, and mineralogically. Knelson concentrator dry low- and high-intensity magnetic separation methods were tested as potential beneficiation methods. The tailings are dominated by the −600 to +149 µm particles. The highest concentration of tungsten (W) was 0.22% WO3. Using a Knelson concentrator, scheelite (main W mineral) recovery was enhanced, with 75 wt.% tungsten recovered in the 34 wt.% heavy concentrate. Only 1.0 wt.% sulphur (S) reported to the non-magnetic fraction. Based on the findings, a methodology and a preliminary process flowsheet for reprocessing the tailings is proposed.


Jane Mulenshi

Luleå tekniska universitet; Mineralteknik och metallurgi
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Pourya Khavari

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Saeed Chehreh Chelgani

Luleå tekniska universitet; Mineralteknik och metallurgi
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Jan Rosenkranz

Luleå tekniska universitet; Mineralteknik och metallurgi
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