Mining and Minerals Engineering

CSMM434 - Process Mineralogy and Geometallurgy (2019)

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MODULE TITLEProcess Mineralogy and Geometallurgy CREDIT VALUE15
MODULE CODECSMM434 MODULE CONVENERProf Hylke J Glass (Coordinator), Dr Robert Fitzpatrick
Number of Students Taking Module (anticipated) 10
DESCRIPTION - summary of the module content

The module gives graduates from a range of disciplines the opportunity to study the fundamentals of process mineralogy and geometallurgy. The module introduces you to the main analytical techniques used to analyse rock and minerals and how these can be integrated to support and enhance physical test work. It also gives you practical experience of testwork guided by mineralogy and will help you to devise analytical strategies to evaluate results during processing and in academic studies.

The module will also introduce the key concepts of geometallurgy which is an over-arching subject area encompassing process mineralogy and geo statistics.

The module contains a group project and is very helpful if you do analytical work done as part of the MSc research project.

If you take this module, you should have a basic understanding of physical chemistry and would benefit from a basic knowledge of mineralogy. Support and guidance in self-study to improve understanding in these areas can be provided. This module is suitable for non-specialist students and those on interdisciplinary pathways.


AIMS - intentions of the module

This module is designed to give you practical experience and a theoretical understanding of process mineralogy by introducing you to the main analytical methods applied in minerals processing and how these can be best utilised to support and enhance physical test work. The module will give you an understanding of the principles of geometallurgy, its links to process mineralogy and its importance for reducing risk in minerals processing. Innovations in geometallurgy and process mineralogy will be discussed and critically analysed.

It also aims to enable choice of the most appropriate analytical methods and strategies for routine analysis and for research. Furthermore, it teaches you best practice in sampling design, data handling and quality control.


INTENDED LEARNING OUTCOMES (ILOs) (see assessment section below for how ILOs will be assessed)

On successful completion of this module you should be able to:


Module Specific Skills and Knowledge

1. Demonstrate a systematic understanding of the main geochemical analytical techniques, including most recent innovations, and their application to minerals processing;

2. Describe the principles of process mineralogy and how analytical techniques can be used to support and enhance physical test work.
3. Describe the principles of geometallurgy and explain its importance in reducing risk, summarise the latest innovations and trends in geometallurgy.
4. Explain the types of deposits which most benefit from a geometallurgical approach and describe how such an approach is developed into working practice.
5. Demonstrate knowledge of sampling, data handling and quality control techniques.


Discipline Specific Skills and Knowledge

6. Select and use appropriate computer based tools for analysis, design and communication of designs.

7. Select and use laboratory and field instrumentation appropriately and correctly.
8. Work safely in laboratory, workshop environments etc., and promote safe practice.


Personal and Key Transferable / Employment Skills and Knowledge

9. Obtain and process information from a wide range of sources, which may be conflicting, analyse it critically and apply this information in engineering applications.

10. Communicate effectively and persuasively using the full range of currently available methods.
11. Learn independently, plan and manage self-study time and tasks; accessing additional resources to provide sufficient independent study in support of the syllabus.
12. Work in a team, which may be multi-disciplinary.


SYLLABUS PLAN - summary of the structure and academic content of the module

Process mineralogy topics

1. Consideration of the characteristics of mineral and rock samples and other materials relevant to minerals processing;

2. Analytical techniques including sampling and processing of results for:

  • Whole sample chemical techniques: EDS and WDS X-ray fluorescence, inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry, atomic absorption spectroscopy, inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectrometry;
  • Whole sample mineralogical techniques: X-ray diffraction plus very brief introduction to transmission electron microscopy, synchrotron techniques;
  • Spatially-resolved techniques: SEM, electron beam microanalysis;
  • Quantitative spatially-resolved techniques: QEMSCAN, MLA;
  • Other techniques: Raman spectroscopy, laser induced breakdown spectroscopy.

3. Practical project work integrating quantitative mineralogical analysis to inform processing, adopting a process mineralogical approach.


Geometallurgy topics

1. Introduction to geometallurgy: overview of the role of geometallurgy in the mineral extraction industry. Including the general principles and techniques associated with geometallurgy and the links to process mineralogy.

2. Geostatistical modelling: overview of geostatistical techniques used to model the spatial distribution of key processing properties in a geometallurgical framework.

3. Case studies: Examples of the application of geometallurgical modelling to mines and mineral deposits.

4. Discussion of the latest innovations and trends in geometallurgy, including critical interaction with relevant research menuscripts and conference proceedings.


Laboratory exercises

1. Students will undertake a process mineralogy investigation, including designing a test programme, interpreting analytical data and completing experiments.


Health and safety engagement

1. The health and safety implications related to comminution, physical separation will be covered. This will include discussion of safe use of devices which produce ionising radiation, the dangers of working with different mineral types, controlling and handling of chemicals, safety aspects of industrial processes and safe lab practices.


Scheduled Learning & Teaching Activities 35.00 Guided Independent Study 120.00 Placement / Study Abroad 0.00
Category Hours of study time Description
Scheduled learning and teaching activity 20 Lectures
Scheduled learning and teaching activity 15 Laboratory practicals
Guided independent study 120 Private Study


FORMATIVE ASSESSMENT - for feedback and development purposes; does not count towards module grade
Form of Assessment Size of Assessment (e.g. duration/length) ILOs Assessed Feedback Method


Coursework 50 Written Exams 50 Practical Exams 0
Form of Assessment % of Credit Size of Assessment (e.g. duration/length) ILOs Assessed Feedback Method


25 4000 word equivalent 1-2, 5-11 Electronic or written
In class test 25 1 hour 1-5 Electronic or written
Examination 50 1.5 hours 1-4, 11 Personal tutor


DETAILS OF RE-ASSESSMENT (where required by referral or deferral)
Original Form of Assessment Form of Re-assessment ILOs Re-assessed Time Scale for Re-assessment
Coursework New assignment 1-2, 5-11 Ref/def period
In class test New test 1-5 Second half of term 2
Examination New examination 1-4, 11 Ref/def period


INDICATIVE LEARNING RESOURCES - The following list is offered as an indication of the type & level of
information that you are expected to consult. Further guidance will be provided by the Module Convener

Basic reading:



Web based and Electronic Resources:


Online version of 'Chemistry of Gold Extraction':


Online version of 'Mineral Processing Plant Design, Practice and Control Proceeding':


Online version of 'SME Mining Engineering Handbook - Quality Monitoring in Chemical Analysis':


Online version of 'Wills' Mineral Processing Technology':


Other Resources:


Reading list for this module:

Type Author Title Edition Publisher Year ISBN Search
Set Marsden, John O. & House, C. Iain Chemistry of Gold Extraction 2nd Ch. 2. Society for Mining, Metallurgy, and Exploration (SME) 2006 [Library]
Set Wills, Barry A. & Finch, James A. Wills' Mineral Processing Technology - An Introduction to the Practical Aspects of Ore Treatment and Mineral Recovery 8th Elsevier 2016 [Library]
Set Mular, Andrew L., Halbe, Doug N. & Barratt, Derek J. Mineral Processing Plant Design, Practice, and Control Proceedings, Volumes 1-2 - Ch 17. Society for Mining, Metallurgy, and Exploration (SME). 2002 [Library]
Set Rollinson, Hugh R. Using Geochemical Data: Evaluation, Presentation, Interpretation Longman Geochemistry Series 1993 [Library]
Set Darling, Peter SME Mining Engineering Handbook (4.4.1 - Quality Monitoring in Chemical Analysis) 3rd Society for Mining, Metallurgy, and Exploration (SME). 2011 [Library]
Set Gill, Robin Modern Analytical Geochemistry Pearson Education 1997 [Library]
Set Jones, Meurig P. Applied Mineralogy: A quantitative approach Graham & Trotman 1987 [Library]
ORIGIN DATE Thursday 18 October 2018 LAST REVISION DATE Monday 08 April 2019
KEY WORDS SEARCH Process mineralogy, geo-metallurgy, analytical techniques, QEMSCAN, chemistry, minerals, spatially resolved techniques, ore variability