Process Mineralogy Today

A discussion resource for process mineralogy using todays technologies


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What is Process Mineralogy?

The use of Process Mineralogy has increasingly become a larger part of everyday operation in mines and mineral processing plants.  To explain what Process Mineralogy is and how it can be effectively used, MinAssist has compiled a short white paper entitled: What is Process Mineralogy?  to help make this important discipline more accessible to a wider audience.


The importance of mineralogy and texture: Sphalerite hosted Chalcopyrite displaying a range of grain sizes.

The importance of mineralogy and texture: Sphalerite hosted Chalcopyrite displaying a range of grain sizes.


Process Mineralogy can be considered the practical application of mineralogical knowledge to aid mineral exploration, and to predict and optimise how an ore can best be mined and processed.  It bridges mineral processing and traditional mineralogy, and is a specialisation within the field of applied mineralogy.  Process Mineralogy is being increasingly applied in areas such as geometallurgy, ore characterisation, process design, plant optimisation and tailings management; driven by todays increasingly complex ore bodies, and the rising pressure to reduce operational cost and risk. Responsible environmental management also demands a greater understanding of the minerals and their textures.

The aim of process mineralogy is to identify, diagnose and predict processing characteristics of an ore that are mineralogically controlled or influenced, and to understand either the benefits of these that can be harnessed, or the limitations that need to be catered for.  The mineralogy and, most critically the texture, of an ore dictates how the ore can be mined and processed optimally.  Process mineralogy is utilised in all stages of the mining cycle, and is therefore closely linked to geometallurgy as it forms one of the main sources of the data and knowledge that is fed in to a geometallurgical predictive model.


Rock and mineral properties that can be identified through process mineralogy techniques include; gangue and target mineralogy, key element deportment, grain size and shape, deleterious minerals and elements (for example swelling clays, refractory minerals, arsenic…), liberation, free surface area, and mineral associations.


Click here to read the MinAssist White Paper: What is Process Mineralogy?

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About the Author: Al Cropp

Al is a process mineralogist with qualifications in both engineering geology and gemmology, and a background in minerals processing. He has nearly 10 years experience in applying automated mineralogy (QEMSCAN / MLA) techniques to various commodities and applications to add value in the mining and mineral processing chain. Connect with Al via LinkedIn by copying and pasting the following link:

Visit Al Cropp's website.

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