Miniminzing energy use in mineral processing


Comminution is the process of crushing and milling rock extracted from the mine into fine particles. It is essential for transforming mineral bearing ores into metals and other industrial materials. The team at startup Communition Re-imagined Sweden (CRS) (led by Prof Magnus Evertson and Clive Wynne) has developed a grinding method to reduce energy use by up to 80%.

Communition consumes around 4% of the world’s electricity and this is set to increase significantly with the demand for minerals to support the green transition. Swedish Mining Innovation has funded CRS’ 3-year project focused on proving the technology at pilot scale and developing an updated concept design for a demonstration mill.    

– Our focus is to industrialize and commercialize a promising new, low energy technology for the fine grinding and milling  of rock ores for mineral processing and other industrial applications, say Magnus and Clive.

The ARBS technology

The ARBS process addresses many of the known problems of conventional circuits. The technology is based on single particle fracture, which is generally accepted to be the most energy efficient comminution method. Initial laboratory tests demonstrated that the fracture energy of the ARBS process can be as low as a remarkable 20% of the circuit energy of a conventional comminution installation. The fracture mechanism of the ARBS process has demonstrated exceptional flotation recovery characteristics, even at comparatively coarse final product top sizes.

Together these two factors enable energy savings over conventional circuits in the range of an astonishing 60 – 80% for the equivalent mineral recovery and open the door for further recovery process optimisation. This low energy consumption and the machine design create, for the first time, a very real possibility to power comminution circuits from renewable sources.

What’s next?

The team is focusing on developing a robust and reliable design suitable for use in a production environment, either as a demonstration plant, or a small production mill.

– Each of our project partners has at least one application where they see the benefits of deploying the new technology, and several other parties have approached us to evaluate the potential to deploy the technology outside of conventional mineral processing. The team is using all these opportunities to upgrade the core mill design concept to be suitable for the larger and more challenging production environment.

Read more about Communition Reimagined AB


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