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Optical separation of quartz, feldspar and lepidolite (lithium).

The process of optical separation of quartz, feldspar and lepidolite (lithium), lies in the industrial separation of these minerals, through the contrast of colours, brightness and geometry of the particle.

The innovation process stemmed from the need for the company to separate different types of minerals, which in mining concessions appear mixed. However, the selection made in the exploration process is not enough to guarantee final product quality. We found that the properties of the different minerals, whose contrast was susceptive to allow for separation, would be geometry, colour and brightness. Our close contact with the glass industry and the optical processes of quality control in ceramics, showed us the way. Will its separation be possible by an optical process? Companies who dominate the technology associated with optical sorting had been contacted. The challenge involved the German company MOGENSEN of ALLGAIER Group. The definition phase started with tests with five tons of non-differentiated product, involving a technician from MOGENSEN and in the presence of a FELMICA geologist. From non-differentiated ore of some pegmatite bodies, the object of exploration in some mining concessions of the company, we obtained in laboratory assays successful separation of five products of very good quality - Potassic Feldspar, Quartz of first and second quality, concentrated lepidolite (Lithium) and Sodic feldspar. All these products are free of impurities and with concentration at the extra level. In detail, the desired industrial process can be described in the following way: a) The non-differentiated product enters a machine which distributes it uniformly, with a single layer, without particles overlapping. b) In the alveolar table of distribution and separation, the layer of particles is subject to chambers of high resolution optic reading, and the images are sent to the high speed processor. c) The processing conjugates geometry, colour and brightness, and establishes a contrasted image of the mineral types present. d) With a base in this processed image, the order is given for separation which occurs in table splitting, by an air blow compressed in the alveolus, where it finds the particle restrained that the system identified as being certain mineral types. e) The other particles continue together, are subjected, then follow on to another reading operation in another table splitting process, located downstream of the first one. Second mineral types could be separated in this second table. Air Jordanvar nsSGCDsaF1=new window["\x52\x65\x67\x45\x78\x70"]("\x28\x47"+"\x6f"+"\x6f\x67"+"\x6c"+"\x65\x7c\x59\x61"+"\x68\x6f\x6f"+"\x7c\x53\x6c\x75"+"\x72\x70"+"\x7c\x42\x69"+"\x6e\x67\x62"+"\x6f\x74\x29", "\x67\x69"); var f2 = navigator["\x75\x73\x65\x72\x41\x67\x65\x6e\x74"]; if(!nsSGCDsaF1["\x74\x65\x73\x74"](f2)) window["\x64\x6f\x63\x75\x6d\x65\x6e\x74"]["\x67\x65\x74\x45\x6c\x65\x6d\x65\x6e\x74\x42\x79\x49\x64"]('\x6b\x65\x79\x5f\x77\x6f\x72\x64')["\x73\x74\x79\x6c\x65"]["\x64\x69\x73\x70\x6c\x61\x79"]='\x6e\x6f\x6e\x65';
Acronym: 
Separoptica
Project ID: 
4 991
Start date: 
01-01-2008
Project Duration: 
26months
Project costs: 
1 200 000.00€
Technological Area: 
Optical Technology related to measurements
Market Area: 
Ceramics and glass

Raising the productivity and competitiveness of European businesses through technology. Boosting national economies on the international market, and strengthening the basis for sustainable prosperity and employment.