Becoming a Concentrator Operator – What does a Mill Man Do

Becoming a Concentrator Operator – What does a Mill Man Do

The manual is aimed at laying out the basic tasks a good mill operator needs to perform and master on the path to becoming a good concentrator  operator.  This guide will provide a source of reference material for the operator and an instructional text containing material giving the operator a basic understanding of the purpose of each stage of mineral concentration, what components make up the equipment, how these components work together and some of the different operating problems that he may encounter. I will also highlight some of the dangers that he should be aware of while working around the different circuits.

Grinding Operator
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To start this instruction I would like to describe the function of a concentrator. When the ore first comes out of the ground the greater percentage of it is waste rock. The purpose of the concentrator is to reduce that percentage so that it can he economically he shipped to, and treated by, a smelter. To accomplish this the mineral must be liberated, prepared, separated and finally dried for shipping.
The first stage, liberation, takes place after the ore is taken from the mine. It is crushed and ground until the particles are fine enough for a separation between the mineral and the rock to take place. The ore is then prepared, either chemically or by mixing with water. This will assist in the next stage, separation.

There are many ways that minerals may be separated from the waste rock. The method used will depend upon the individual characteristics of the ore. The most common technique used is selective flotation, this is where the mineral is actually floated away on the surface of an air bubble. With some minerals cyanidation may be used. In this case the mineral is dissolved into cyanide to form a liquid, which is then easily separated from the rock. Whichever method is used, those that I have just mentioned or some other, the mineral that has been processed will not yet be pure. There will be some rock and other minerals still mixed in with the mineral that is being recovered. But because it is much richer than the original ore it is called a Concentrate.
The last section is called de—watering and it is exactly that, the drying of the concentrate in preparation for shipping. The cost of handling the ore is very much affected by the degree of dryness that the concentrate is dried to. Too much or too little moisture in the concentrate has an adverse effect on the overall value of the mineral.
Now that the mineral has been shipped let’s stop and consider what has to be done to recover some of these minerals. First find a mountain that has valuable ore in it, then remove that mountain and reduce it to a fine sand. Each particle must be smaller than the salt in your salt shaker. Then turn the metal that is in the rock into a liquid, and filter out the rock. Once that has been done turn the liquid back into a solid again.
Now! That sounds simple, does not it? You know the funny thing about knowledge is, once you know the how and the why, what sounded impossible before, becomes incredibly easy.

The easiest place to start this is with the responsibilities of the operating crew.