Mining and Minerals Engineering

CSMM438 - Principles of Minerals Process Engineering (2019)

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MODULE TITLEPrinciples of Minerals Process Engineering CREDIT VALUE30
Number of Students Taking Module (anticipated) 10
DESCRIPTION - summary of the module content

Principles of mineral extraction is the first of two core technical modules for the Professional PG Dip / MSc Minerals Processing. The module would cover the fundamental science which underpins mineral processing and extractive metallurgy. The module will particularly cover the fundamental principles and forces exploited in mineral separation processes and models used to predict behaviour in minerals processing. This will include comminution, flotation, physical separation, materials handling, dewatering, waste management and aspects of hydrometallurgy, pyrometallurgy and electrometallurgy.

The latest innovations and current research will be presented and attention will be focussed on the relationship between mineralogical textures and associations and the intrinsic chemical and physical properties which ultimately determine the success of these separation processes.

The health and safety implications related to the study and analysis of minerals will be discussed. This will include discussion of the dangers of working with different mineral types, controlling and handling of chemicals, safety aspects of equipment and safe lab practices.

Prerequisites: CSMM177, CSMM178, CSMM179, CSMM180

AIMS - intentions of the module

The module aims to advance your understanding of the basic minerals processing principles taught in the Year One ‘Mining Life-Cycle’, by providing you with the details of the fundamental principles which underpin techniques in minerals process engineering.

Practical, hands-on activities using case studies and the latest research will improve your key key knowledge of comminution, flotation, physical separation, materials handling, dewatering, waste management and aspects of hydrometallurgy, pyrometallurgy and electrometallurgy.

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. Evaluate the nature and characteristics of minerals and explain how these will affect behaviour during mineral processing, extractive metallurgy and in waste management
2. Demonstrate an understanding of the physical, chemical, fluid mechanic and thermodynamic principles which underpin the many processes and techniques undertaken during mineral processing and extractive metallurgy.
3. Calculate appropriate masses for samples and explain the statistical theory from which the calculation of sample mass is derived.

Discipline Specific Skills and Knowledge

4. present ideas clearly and concisely, debate alternative ideas and concepts
5. prepare company style reports and research project reports addressing extractive minerals industry related topics.
6. demonstrate competent IT Skills for accessing additional, computer-based independent study resources
7. work safely in laboratory, field and industrial environments

Personal and Key Transferable / Employment Skills and Knowledge

8. communicate complex information and high-level arguments effectively in both written and verbal forms appropriate for different academic and business audiences
9. plan and manage self-study and learn independently; including reflecting on your own performance; identifying and managing your own personal development needs and goals.


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

Unit 1 Comminution, flotation and physical separation topics

1. Introduction to the link between mineralogy of an ore and physical properties which can be exploited for selective concnetration.

2. Physical principles which govern breakage behaviour and models to predict energy In breakage. Methods of modelling breakage behaviour including population balance modelling and finite element and discrete element modelling.

3. Physical principles of various crushers and mills, and current research and practice in novel comminution methods, pre-weakening and assisted comminution.

4. Screening and classification: fundamental principles of screening and classification processes (e.g. hydrocyclones)

5. Surface chemistry and surface characterisation in the context of flotation; Classification of reagents and adsorption mechanisms. Current research and innovations in the fundamental understanding of flotation will be covered.

6.Exploration of the principles underpinning physical separation processes including: Dense medium separation (DMS), gravity separation, sensor-based ore sorting, magnetic and electrostatic separation.

7. Health and safety issues relating to comminution, physical separation and flotation will be discussed. This will include relevant issues around use of chemicals, different minerals and legislation.

Unit 2 Extractive metallurgy topics

1. Overview of the chemical, electrical, thermodynamic, and fluid mechanical principles which underpin the use of hydrometallurgy, pyrometallurgy and electrometallurgy. This will include discussions of leaching, solution purification, precipitation, roasting, smelting, refining, electrowinning, electrorefining and molten salt electrolysis.

2. Introduction to biohydrometallurgy: the specialised case of biohydrometallurgy will be discussed including: definitions and the basic microbiology and biochemistry of biohydrometallurgy.

3. Health and safety issues relating to extractive metallurgy will be discussed. This will include relevant issues around use of chemicals, heat, high pressures and legislation.

Unit 3 Materials handling, dewatering and waste management topics

1. introduction to the mechanical principles involved in the movement of dry and wet material. The flow of solids, nature of slurries, use of pumps and the bulk mineral and effects of slurry properties will be included.

2. The basic principles which underpin dewatering (solid-liquid separation) will be covered. Discussions of thickening, filtration and drying in the context of the flow of mass and heat as well as forces involved and rate kinetics will be included.

3. Waste disposal techniques: The basic principles involved in these techniques will be described alongside a discussion of the potential environmental impact and how this links to the mineralogy and processing techniques.

4. Health and safety issues relating to materials handling, dewatering and waste management will be discussed. This will include relevant issues around use of chemicals, different minerals, ground stability and legislation.

Unit 4 Process mineralogy topics

1. The principles behind typical analytical techniques used in the extractive minerals industry will be discussed. This will include whole sample chemical techniques (e.g.X-ray fluorescence, inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry, atomic absorption spectroscopy, inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectrometry) as well as mineralogical techniques (e.g. QEMSCAN, electron microprobe,

2. Health and safety issues relating to process mineralogy will be discussed. This will include relevant issues around use of ionising radiation, chemicals, different minerals and legislation.

Unit 5 Statistics and sampling theory topics

1. statistical distributions and basic concepts (e.g. uncertainty, bias, and error) will be covered. This will lead on to discussions of the derivation of sampling variance equations and sample size determination and optimisation.

2. Health and safety issues relating to material sampling will be discussed. This will include relevant issues around safe practice, different minerals and legislation.

Scheduled Learning & Teaching Activities 100.00 Guided Independent Study 200.00 Placement / Study Abroad 0.00
Category Hours of study time Description
Scheduled learning and teaching activities 100 Residentials, Group work, site visits, field trips, discussions, activities, presentations and assessments
Guided independent study 200

Using online resources with help and guidance from UoE staff, includes e-activities and discussion boards



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
On-line e-activities

1-5 hours (several short activities)

1-3,6,9 electronic
Discussion boards variable 1-4,6,8-9 electronic


Coursework 40 Written Exams 40 Practical Exams 20
Form of Assessment % of Credit Size of Assessment (e.g. duration/length) ILOs Assessed Feedback Method
Assignment 1 15 1,500 word equivalent 1-5,8-9 Electronic
Assignment 2 25 3,000 word equivalent 1-9 Electronic
Presentation 20 15 minutes 1-9 Written and verbal
Examination 40 1.5 hours 1-3 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
Assignments Assignments All

Approx. 6-8 weeks after residential

Presentation Recorded and annotated Powerpoint presentation All Approx. 3 weeks after residential
Examination Examination All At next residential



All referral marks are capped at 50%.

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:

Bulatovic, S. M.. (2007). Handbook of Flotation Reagents - Chemistry, Theory and Practice, Volume 1 - Flotation of Sulfide Ores. Elsevier. Online version available at:

Fuerstenau, M. C. Han, K. N.. (2003). Principles of Mineral Processing. Society for Mining, Metallurgy, and Exploration (SME). Online version available at:

Han, K. N.. (2002). Fundamentals of Aqueous Metallurgy. Society for Mining, Metallurgy, and Exploration (SME). Online version available at:


Wills, B. A. and Finch, J., Wills’ Mineral Processing Technology, Eighth Edition: An Introduction to the Practical Aspects of Ore Treatment and Mineral Recovery, 8th edition. Butterworth-Heinemann, 2015. Online version available at:




Other Resources:



Reading list for this module:

Type Author Title Edition Publisher Year ISBN Search
Set Gill, R. Modern Analytical Geochemistry Pearson Education 1997 [Library]
Set Habashi, F. A Textbook of Hydrometallurgy 2nd edition Metallurgie Extractive Quebec 1999 [Library]
Set Jones, M.P. Applied Mineralogy: A quantitative approach Graham & Trotman 1987 [Library]
Set Napier-Munn, T.J., Statistical methods for mineral engineers - how to design experiments and analyse data Julius Kruttschnitt Mineral Research Centre, Indooroopilly, Queensland, Australia 2014 [Library]
Set Rawlings, D. E. and Johnson, D. B. Biomining Springer 2007 [Library]
ORIGIN DATE Tuesday 10 July 2018 LAST REVISION DATE Tuesday 10 July 2018
KEY WORDS SEARCH Minerals Processing (Professional), mineral process design and modelling, comminution, physical separation, flotation, extractive metallurgy, fundamental principles and forces, process equipment design, process equipment modelling, simulation, JKSimMet,