In addition to having a fully-stocked warehouse of spare parts in Perth, Sepro also takes and fulfills orders for capital equipment all across Australia. Orders for several Condor Dense Medium Separators are being fulfilled as we speak! These are outstanding equipment for commodities such as lithium mining, and our customers frequently ask about their technical advantages over other options in the market.

A Condor DMS unit recently completed in Australia

What Is a Condor Dense Medium Separator?

Sepro’s Condor Dense Medium Separators (DMS) provide a simple, cost-effective way to separate and recover valuable minerals.  Dense medium separators are used for preconcentration in mining, to separate coarse sized waste particles from the valuable minerals.  They are typically used prior to additional milling and beneficiation to divert waste material away from grinding mills and tailings dams.

This reduces the amount of material requiring downstream processing.  The technology has been used extensively in the coal and diamond industries.  Other applications include lithium, iron, manganese, copper, lead, zinc, and fluorspar.

Ore pre-concentration lowers capital and operating costs by reducing water, energy, and chemical consumption.  It also produces a more consistent feed grade to the downstream circuit, stabilizing these processes which often leads to an improvement in overall recovery.  In some cases, a marketable concentrate can be produced via DMS without the requirement of further downstream upgrading.  

A major advantage of the Condor separator over conventional cyclone separators is that the ore is gravity fed into the separator (rather than pumped) and does not need to be mixed and pumped together with the media before the separator. Only the media is pumped fed into the separator while the ore can be gravity fed from a conveyor or a vibrating screen.  The DMS Condor units therefore reduces power requirements and pump operating costs.

3 DMS units side by side

What Is Dense Medium Separation?

Dense medium separators (DMS) separate particles based on their density and can process coarse particles ranging from 0.5 mm to 50-70 mm, usually in the 1- 50 mm range.  The Condor separator can separate particles into either two (concentrate and tailings) or three products (concentrate, middlings, and tailings). 

Ore and a small amount of slurry is introduced into the Condor’s feed hopper.  The slurry is a suspension of heavy medium (ferrosilicon or magnetite) in water and is introduced through the tangential medium inlets at the bottom end of the separator. 

The high-density particles are separated and transferred through the sink’s outlets.  Lower density material is transferred to the second scavenger stage of separation where more sinks material is recovered.  The final low density material reports to the floats discharge at the bottom end of the unit.  Each chamber of the machine is equipped with an involute medium inlet and a sinks discharge outlet, ensuring efficient separation.

This technology has been around for decades under different names including TriFlo and Dyna Whirlpool.  The Condor multi-stage separator is based on the TriFlo design, but with an involute medium inlet. These units can be supplied in single, double, or triple stage configurations. 

Sepro’s DMS separators can be found worldwide in Canada, China, Greece, UK, Italy and, of course, with an Australian installation underway.            

Contact Sepro to learn more about our Condor DMS units

DMS Testwork

Sepro’s laboratory performs testwork to assess the amenability of ores to DMS separation.  Several pilot-scale test programs and plant installations have been completed.  The testwork and subsequent feedback from customers involved with the plant installations and operations, has demonstrated successful separation and upgrading of lead, zinc, copper, and lithium-based ores.  

Pilot plant test work on fluorspar ore showed that 41.6% of the mass was rejected to the tailings stream, while 95.3% of the CaF2 was recovered to the product stream. On a spodumene sample that was tested, 55% of the mass was rejected to tailings while maintaining over 90% lithium recovery.

Bench scale HLS test work is the preliminary step in pilot scale DMS testing.  HLS testing simulates the separation of the minerals under ideal conditions. Currently, there are no heavy liquids that can be used in a full-scale production plant due to impracticalities and cost. Instead, an artificial heavy liquid is created by suspending a fine high-density powder (FeSi or Magnetite) in water. This mixture is called a heavy medium.

The Condor DMS is currently operating at Canada’s first (and currently one of just two) operating lithium mines, and is available for purchase all around the world. Contact us to learn more!

If you are considering Dense Medium Separation for your project or current circuit, Sepro’s Condor Dense Medium Separator should be included in your study.

To learn more about dense medium separation, give Sepro a call today.