Disc Magnetic Separator for Processing Coltan

Master Magnets has manufactured and despatched a Disc Magnetic Separator to Nigeria for use in the processing of Coltan (a combination of columbite and tantalite).  The Magnetic Separator is used in a process to extract primarily Tantalum.  Tantalum is a key raw material in the manufacture of batteries for electric cars, mobile phones and other electronic products.  Deposits of Coltan have been mined in Central Africa for several decades.

Master Magnets is one of the world’s leading designers and manufacturers of magnetic separators for the mineral processing sector.  The company’s manufacturing and test facilities are based in Redditch, UK.  Over several decades, they have developed an extensive portfolio of high intensity magnetic separator for purifying and concentrating minerals.  Laboratory sized versions of many of the designs are found in their Technical Test Facility in the UK.

The Disc Magnetic Separator enables the separation of different minerals with varying levels of magnetic susceptibility.  Concentrated fractions of minerals are collected and then further processed.

For this new project, tests were undertaken in the Master Magnet test facility at Redditch, UK.  The tests confirmed the level of separation, capacity and the magnetic separator configuration.  Once completed, the samples were returned to the client in Nigeria for analysis.  On receiving confirmation that the separation matched their processing requirements, an order was placed.

The Design of the Disc Magnetic Separator

The origins of the Disc Magnetic Separator date back to the early 1900s.  Although manufacturing techniques have significantly changed, and more advanced machines have now been incorporated, the basic function design remains virtually the same.  The Disc Magnetic Separator is widely used to ensure an accurate separation of dry minerals that have varied magnetic susceptibilities.

Typically, a Disc Magnetic Separator features up to three high-intensity electromagnetic discs, each set at a different height from a feed conveyor.

  • Disc 1 – This will be set the furthest from the feed material. The objective is to extract only the most magnetically susceptible particles;
  • Discs 2 and 3 – The second and third discs are set at lower gaps. This increases the magnetic force at each disc and enables the separation of different grades of magnetic material.

The magnetic intensity can be further adjusted by varying the current of each coil.  This allows each Disc Separator to be designed and set-up for an individual mineral ore.

For this latest project, the test work recommended a model MDS3-375 Disc Magnetic Separator.  This featured three high-intensity electromagnetic discs, (with six (6) electromagnetic coils) each set at a different height from a 380mm wide feed conveyor.

The tests had determined that the MDS3-375 Disc Magnetic Separator could process between 500 and 600 kg per hour.

Further information on the Disc Magnetic Separator, including a video featuring leading magnetic separation expert Dr Neil Rowson, can be seen in the article 'Technical Video Explanation of the Disc Magnetic Separator'.

Mineral Processing Laboratory

In the Master Magnets test facility, tests are conducted on mineral materials from deposits all over the world.  From the tests, it is possible to confirm what separation is possible on what equipment.  This then forms the basis of a separation guarantee for any equipment order.  The Master Magnets laboratory houses one of the most extensive ranges of high intensity magnetic separation equipment in the world.

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