What Are the Advantages of Mineral Processing?

“If it can’t be grown it must be mined” is a common adage in the mining industry, and that’s not much of an exaggeration. It’s hard to think of any item we use regularly that doesn’t consist of metals and minerals or doesn’t depend on metals and minerals for its production. 

One reason the United States is a world leader is because of our immense amounts of mineral wealth. Enormous amounts of various kinds of metals are necessary to produce most of our electrical equipment and electronic devices. This is why mining is the world’s primary industry. 

Mineral processing plays a crucial role in that industry, which continues to develop advanced, more environmentally friendly methods. STET, located in Needham, MA, is one mineral processing equipment company leading the way in innovative beneficiation and dry minerals processing.

What is Mineral Processing?

Mineral processing is the treatment of ores extracted by mining in order to separate valuable minerals from waste rock. The first step for most ores after leaving the mind is called mineral dressing (processing), also referred to as ore dressing or ore beneficiation. 

Ore dressing mechanically separates the mineral molecules from the gangue (unusable) minerals, resulting in a concentrate made up of most of the ore minerals and a tailing (discard) containing the bulk of the gangue minerals. 

Why is Mineral Processing Important?

Despite its vital importance in keeping the world running, most of us never think about mineral processing. Whenever we buy fruits and vegetables, we’re aware that produce comes from a farm or garden, and had to be harvested and transported to the grocery or farmstand. But does anyone think about origins when it comes to bicycles or cellphones or waffle irons? These items didn’t just come from a store. At the most basic level, they came from a mine.

Advantages of Mineral Processing

  • It makes mineral resources profitable.
  • It increases the value of the ore by removing gangue.
  • It allows for increased mining production. 
  • It supports the extractive metallurgy industry by minimizing metallurgical losses.
  • It’s less costly (when compared to the direct purification of mineral ore).
  • If done mechanically (by crushing, grinding, agitation, screening, gravity separation, magnetic separation, or electrostatic separation) it’s eco-friendly.
  • It recycles old mine tailings products.
  • It produces contaminant-free, clean, industrial materials.

What Are Some Challenges Facing the Industry?

The massive, and ever-increasing, demand for metals and minerals has led to a boom in metal mining. But because ores are finite resources, this has put a strain on the supply. In addition, the high water and energy requirements necessary for processing ore further deplete the environment. 

To transition to a more sustainable industry, finding new ways to recycle is essential in mineral processing. Most of us recycle items once they’re no longer useful, and recycling single material articles made from glass, copper or lead is a straightforward process. However, for metals that have been alloyed with other metals or non-metals, recycling becomes a much more complicated process. Especially challenging is recovering metals from waste electrical and electronic equipment, as well as other complex high-tech products. 

Why Choose ST Equipment & Technology For Your Mineral Separation Equipment?

Founded in 1989, ST Equipment & Technology LLC (STET) is a major player in the dry minerals separation equipment industry. We develop and sell mineral separator machinery used for the mineral dressing of fine particle materials. 

This includes a compact, automated triboelectric separation that’s easy to permit as well as good for the planet. It processes, completely water-free, has a wide range of particle sizes, and can be used to beneficiate materials within several industries. To find out more about its applications, click here, or contact us for information about our products and services.