Saturday, 28 November 2020
Magnetic Field Sorting (MFS) Technology for the Resources Industry
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Magnetic Field Sorting (MFS) Technology for the Resources Industry

Curtin University is looking for a collaboration partner to help develop a 10tph proof-of-concept magnetic field ore sorter over the next 24-36 months. 

Magnetic Field Sorting (MFS) technology focuses on the development of a high-throughput ore sorter for granular materials, such as iron, copper and base metal ores, and is based on the differential magnetic response of the individual ore particles.  The functional principle of the MFS technology consists of exposing suspended-in-air moving feed materials to the influence of a magnetic field so that the individual particles are deflected selectively according to their differential magnetic response.  As a result, the feed stream of material is separated by the magnetic field into two or more individual material streams as required, each individual stream comprising particles of similar mineralogical/chemical composition.  The MFS technology differs from the existing magnetic sorting technologies in three significant ways: it is suitable for larger size particles, it is suitable for a wider range of ores (i..e not just ferromagnetic), and it has extremely low power requirements.

Potential MFS technology applications include sorting / pre-sorting of the Run-Of-Mine ore, material sorting after crushing and other processing steps where ore sorting is required, as well as extracting low-grade mineralised waste from barren waste to produce saleable product.

MFS is a project that has been conducted by the Western Australian School of Mines of Curtin University in Perth WA, initially in conjunction with the Rio Tinto Centre for Materials and Sensing in Mining.

MFS technology advantages:

  • High throughput (up to 1,000 tph), at extremely low power consumption requirements.
  • No minimum or maximum particle size limit (from a few millimetres to 250mm particles potentially achievable) – reducing need for high-energy crushing processes
  • Effective detection and separation of ore particles in a single step.
  • No particle ejection system or air supply requirements – reducing capital and operating cost.
  • A dry process (i.e. no water required) – reducing environmental impact.
  • Applicable to ferromagnetic, weakly paramagnetic, or diamagnetic ores.
  • Simplicity the technology allows it to be applied via portable or hire equipment flowsheets, enabling flexible targeted use to one-off situations, such as recoveries of ore from low grade stockpiles or small deposits.
  • Two equally effective ore feed presentation geometries: i.e. horizontal and vertical.

MFS technology  development status

The Technology has been concept-proven, on a laboratory scale, using individual quasi-spherical nominal 20mm diameter haematite particles in a range of nominal grades from <40%Fe to >60%Fe, with up to 6m/s ore particle speed, in both horizontal and vertical feed arrangements.

Inventor and researcher

Professor Vladimir Golovanevskiy, Western Australian School of Mines has over 30 years’ experience in fundamental and applied research, industry, management and consultancy. Vladimir worked across the globe in a range of industries from heavy engineering for underground mining to International Space Program to composite materials to artificial gems manufacture to cryogenics.  He has a proven track record with the resources industry, one of his recent roles as inaugural Director of the Rio Tinto Centre for Materials and Sensing in Mining at Curtin University from 2008 to 2013 developing step-change technologies for the mining and materials handling industry. 

Intellectual Property

MFS technology is protected by 2 patent families in the name of Curtin University which have published as WO2011026195 and WO2013063636.


Curtin University is seeking partners or investors to develop the MFS technology further. If you are interested please contact:

Roger Plumb
Tel | +61 8 9266 4925

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