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Pelletisation of

ferromanganese ore
with particle sizes less
than 4mm an
introduction
TC Kruger and JD Steenkamp

Introduction

Ferromanganese is produced in a SAF


SAF requires a permeable burden
Pellets are preferred
higher porosity, uniform size and uniform shape

Up to 30 per cent of ore produced is smaller


than 3mm (fines)
Large fines dumps are common both at mines
and at smelter plants
One process to utilise fines is pelletisation

This paper gives an overview of:


the factors relevant to pelletisation in general
the pelletisation of manganese ore fines specifically
reports on initial pelletisation test work conducted on
-4mm manganese ore fines

Principles

Wetting and nucleation

a binder liquid is added to the feed


individual wet particles stick together to
form nuclei

Principles
Consolidation and growth

nuclei are joined by more fines through collision and


further sticking together to form a micro pellet
two micro pellets - surrounded by liquid films - are
brought into contact with each other
A seed pellet is formed that capture dry and wet
particles until the desired pellet size is obtained
Pellet porosity decreases due to the continual impact

Principles
Breakage and attrition

Breakage occurs when:


Equilibrium size is reached, and
Binding force can no longer maintain the load.

The surface of the pellet is smoothened by


attrition of the sharp edges

Pellet growth
Growth pellets is controlled by two properties:
plasticity of the green pellet and
the viscosity of the superficial water layer

Plasticity is controlled by moisture content


The minimum plasticity defines the minimum
moisture content required
The minimum moisture content value is
material specific

Pellet growth
Binder liquid is squeezed to the pellet surface
The viscosity of the binder liquid influences the
rate
The viscosity has to be low enough for colliding
pellets to combine within the time available
during collision (uncontrolled growth if too low)
Viscosity of binder liquid is influenced by:

Binder dosage;
Temperature;
Material properties of the binder
Process parameters

Processes
Pressure
Briquetting, compaction, tableting

Tumbling
Drum, disc, cone and pin agglomerator

Extrusion
Screw and gear pelletiser as well as pellet mills

Thermal
Sintering, prilling, pastillating and flaking processes

Binders
Binders accomplish two important
functions in pelletisation, namely:
Makes the moist ore plastic; and
During drying and sintering, the binder holds
the particles in the pellets together

Binders
Types of binders

Bentonite (0.25 to 2.5 per cent by mass)


Cement (5 per cent by mass)
Lime (5 per cent by mass)
Cane molasses (3 per cent by mass)
Calcium chloride
Silicate or fluorosilicate of sodium

Characterisation

Pellet size distribution


Pellet shape
Pellet hardness
Pellet solubility in a liquid i.e. slag
Pellet dispersability in a liquid i.e. slag
Binder addition requirements
Pellet impact strength
Pellet abrasion strength
Pellet attrition index
Pellet compression strength
Pellet reducibility
Pellet porosity

Impact strength (drop strength)


Represents its ability to survive multiple drops
in material handling systems
Is determined by repeatedly dropping a pellet
onto an iron surface from a fixed height until
the pellet fractures or chips
Is quantified as the number of drops that a
pellet survived before fracture.
A typical value for green pellets is between 5
and 20 drops

Compression strength (crushing


strength)
The compression strength of a pellet represents
its ability to resist compressive forces without
breaking
Is determined by placing pellets between two
steel plates and evenly applying a measured
pressure until the pellet fractures
The compression strength is expressed as the
applied pressure in Newton or kilogram per
pellet
A typical value for green pellets is between 0.5
and 5 kg per pellet

Equipment

Disc pelletiser
Drum pelletiser
Extruder
Pin agglomerator
Briquette making machines
Sintering machines
High-intensity mixers

Case studies
Mexico

Purpose of Study
Material Pelletised
Particle Sizes
Equipment / Process
Binder and quantity
Moisture and quantity
Curing / Drying
Firing
Testing
Drop Tests
Cold crushing strength
Tumble index

Case studies
Brazil (INCOMI)

Purpose of Study
Material Pelletised
Particle Sizes
Equipment / Process
Binder and quantity
Moisture and quantity
Curing / Drying
Firing
Testing
Drop Tests
Cold crushing strength
Tumble index

Case studies
Brazil (University of Sao Paulo)

Purpose of Study
Material Pelletised
Particle Sizes
Equipment / Process
Binder and quantity
Moisture and quantity
Curing / Drying
Firing
Testing
Drop Tests
Cold crushing strength
Tumble index

Case studies
India (Visvesvaraya regional college of Engineering)

Purpose of Study
Material Pelletised
Particle Sizes
Equipment / Process
Binder and quantity
Moisture and quantity
Curing / Drying
Firing
Testing
Drop Tests
Cold crushing strength
Tumble index

Case studies comments


Comments

Mexico2

Brazil (INCOMI)3

Brazil (University of Sao Paulo)4

India (Visvesvaraya regional


college of Engineering)5

Wider size distribution


of feed materials
yields higher pellet
strength. This was
achieved by mixing
the ore with off gas
dust in a ratio of 2:1.

The first commercial


plant in the world to
successfully produce
pellets from manganese
ores.
Bentonite increased
the drop test values (to
30) and the dry
compression values by
100%.

Notes were made of the effect of


particle sizes on the results obtained:
In general, the smaller particles
performed better than the larger
particles;
Larger particles required more
water for pelletising; and
Larger particles are more suitable
to bentonite but have on average
lower strengths.

Increasing the bentonite content


improved pellet properties
(commercial limit: 1.5 mass per
cent).
Slip of material indicated the
optimum moisture content.
Pellets opening due to centrifugal
forces indicated insufficient moisture
content.
Particle size distribution was the
dominating factor for good strength.
Large contact surfaces (small particle
sizes) and capillary forces were
required for high wet and dry
strength and required less moisture
resulting in green pellets with lower
porosity and moisture content
produced in shorter time intervals.

Trials

Aim

To produce pellets from South African


manganese ore fines with sufficient
strength to be used in major processing
units i.e. in sintering and SAF
operations

Experimental design
porosity was used as design control variable
literature was used as reference for aim porosity
less than 30 per cent

controlling pellet porosity by controlling the content of


very fine material in the mix resulted in high strength
pellets
bentonite as a binder
pellets characterised by measuring their compression
strength (aim of 5 kg per pellet) and impact strength (a
minimum of 5 drops for a green pellet and 20 drops for
a dried pellet)

Samples
Sample 1 consisted of material smaller than
4mm which represented fines screened from
ore at the mines prior to transportation and at
smelter plants prior to processing.
Sample 2 consisted of material smaller than
1400 microns; and
Sample 3 consisted of material smaller than
250 microns

Porosity
Bulk porosity of the ore was measured using
the method of volume displacement
Manganese Sample

% Porosity

Sample 1 (4mm)
Sample 2 (1.4mm)
Sample 3 (250 m)

32.2%
33.3%
30.6%

Binder

Where:
b
P
SVb
m

=
=
=
=

bentonite in grams
aim porosity in ml
Swelling Volume of bentonite = 22-26 (ml/2g)23
mass of material to be pelletised in grams

Calculated bentonite content of each pelletising mix was thus calculated as:
Sample 1 0.53 mass per cent;
Sample 2 0.57 mass per cent; and
Sample 3 0.55 mass per cent.

Pelletising
5 kilogram sample of each size fraction
Measured bentonite
Placed in the Eirich RV02 high intensity mixer
and mixed for 60 seconds
1.2m diameter Radicon disc pelletiser
Angle of 35and a rotation speed of 75 rpm
Pellet diameter was controlled between 10 and
12.5mm

Testing
Compression strength:
30 balls of each sample
Instron Technologies crushing strength
machine, model 1011

Impact strength:
30 balls of each sample
Drop height of 450mm

Compression strength
Sample
Sample 1

Average
5.7

Min
3.7

Max
8.3

Std Dev
1.3

Sample 2

4.4

1.8

6.9

1.4

Sample 3

1.5

0.4

2.2

0.8

Impact strength
Sample
Sample 1

Average Min
6.1
3

Max
12

Std Dev
2.9

Sample 2

8.4

17

5.2

Sample 3

1.5

0.5

Conclusion
Larger particles can be pelletised
Characteristics improved with increase in
top size
Results show that pellets produced may
have adequate strength for sintering
processes
Further work is required to produce
pellets suitable for SAF operations

Recommendations
Increasing the size range of particles
Increasing the -250 micron material content of pellets
in increments;
Expanding the range of binders;
Increasing the range of the quantity of binder added;
Using a single, experienced operator to produce all
pellets in the test program;
Characterising pellets by microscopic analyses;
Studying the effect of bulk porosity of pellets on the
strength of pellets

Acknowledgements
Mr. L Lourens, Manager, Technology and IP,
Exxaro Resources, Alloystream
Mr. A Dippenaar; Kumba Iron Ore, R&D Raw
Material Technology
Dr. A-M Bonthuys, Independent Contractor
(Editor, Translator, Proof reader, Writer)
Mr B Allison, contractor, Exxaro Resources,
Alloystream

Questions