Nowhere is milling and grinding plant and machinery more crucial to the bottom line of a business than in ore processing. Ore processing, at the macro level is the separation of valuable metals and minerals from ore. The process consists of multiple stages of milling and grinding, before it undergoes heat and chemical treatment, further milling and grinding, and then leeching and adsorption to extract the metal.
Ore processing requires milling and grinding machinery be maintained to a high standard, in order to keep ore break down times to a minimum and avoid blockages further down the processing chain.
The role of milling and grinding in ore extraction cannot, therefore, be understated. Unevenly ground ore can lead to excessive processing further down the chain, cause blockages and ultimately result in lowered productivity and yields.
Milling and grinding in ore processing is usually a round-the-clock operation. The process utilizes a number of different types of crushers to bring the ore down to a consistent size. This can involve adding steel balls to the mix, to further agitate the ore and enhance the process of breaking down more stubborn pieces of rock.
Milling at this initial stage is somewhat less eloquent than one would expect at a laboratory, say. Ore size is still measurable in millimeters, rather than microns. Sieves are used during this stage of milling and grinding to catch the larger pieces of ore for further processing, before passing them on to heat and chemical processing.
Pursuant to this, milling and grinding resumes, breaking the ore down into much finer particles. Though different processing operations working on different ores will have their own specific requirement, regardless, the ore has been brought down to the size of a fine grain of sand – or about 70 microns.
After that can leeching and adsorption techniques be used to extract the metal.
As can be seen milling and grinding is essential in the mining industry. Mills must face tremendous stresses and work with extremely coarse materials. It is therefore crucial that equipment be serviced regularly and worn out or broken milling and grinding teeth be replaced in a timely fashion. Inefficient milling and grinding machinery will slow down the operation at the very least, with the propensity to cause disruption further down the chain.