In its pure form, tungsten has the highest melting point and tensile strength of any metal on the planet. It resists oxygen, acids, alkalis, and when combined with steel, forms a strong alloy. It has uses that range from lightbulb filaments, spacecraft applications, to jewelry. It’s also very amenable to gravity separation

Tungsten has some unique characteristics. There are only a few tungsten minerals found in economic grades and quantities, such as wolframite and scheelite, both of which are friable. They break down into fine particles very easily, which can interfere with flotation. It’s also very difficult and inefficient to leach in large quantities. Tungsten metal is almost impossible to melt and is resistant to chemicals. However, tungsten metal has a very high specific gravity, making gravity separation the most efficient way to recover it.

Equipment Used For Tungsten Recovery

There are three different types of gravity separation equipment that can be used to recover tungsten including jigs, dense medium separators, and gravity concentrators

Dense Media Separators 

Capable of making a high-grade tungsten concentrate, the Sepro Condor Dense Media Separator is one of the first pieces of gravity separation equipment used in a recovery circuit. Abrasive or friable ore with a particle size above 1mm can be fed in dry via conveyors  which reduces power requirements, ore breakage, and fines generation compared to other methods that require coarse particles to be pumped in. 

The Condor Dense Media Separator as a preconcentration process also rejects barren material earlier in a recovery circuit to reduce downstream capital requirements and processing costs. Learn more about pre-concentrating tungsten by contacting your mineral processing experts at Sepro. 

Gravity Concentrators

Tungsten is often broken down very finely in grinding circuits, making efficient recovery difficult. These fine tungsten particles are typically rejected from mineral processing plants as slimes. Falcon Gravity Concentrators can be used to recover these fine particles to increase recovery rates. 

The Falcon C Gravity Concentrator is capable of recovering fine tungsten missed by low-G gravity separation processes like spirals or shaking tables. It can also be used as a preconcentrator to reduce downstream CAPEX and OPEX costs. 

The Falcon UF Gravity Concentrator is the key to recovering ultra-fine particles down to three microns from slimes. It can operate anywhere from 50-600Gs, making it possible to recover particles previously thought too fine to respond to gravity concentration or flotation.

Improve Your Tungsten Recoveries

Tungsten is only found in a few spots on the planet, making low-grade mines economically viable. However, for these mines to succeed, they need to use the right gravity separation equipment. Want to learn more? Contact the mineral processing experts at Sepro Minerals.