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Mineral & Ore Processing

Ore processing is a chain of processing applications which treats run of mine to firstly high-grade concentrate (concentration of ores) and then to the pure mineral or metal. The refined ore is used in manufacturing equipment and machinery in numerous industries, or is for sale in industry, commerce and consumer industries.

To achieve this, ore processing separates the different mineral characteristics using various ore dressing (ore processing) methods. The primary processes are crushing and grinding of ore, ore sizing and separation. To separate the ore into applicable sizes for further processing, screening, classifying, concentration separation, heavy medium separation, gravity and/or magnetic separation, and flotation applications are used.

Subsequent to these processes, separating the from the concentrate produced or from gangue (waste material) is necessary. This is known as dewatering and allows for the water used in ore separation processes to be recycled and reused. It is subsequently sent to beneficiation plants for further processing.

Jump to:

  • Ore separation methods
  • Ore processing steps after extraction
  • Equipment for ore processing
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Multotec is a multinational specialist ore processing equipment manufacturer.

Ore separation methods

Ore sorting in mineral processing is separating the ore according to their size subsequent to the crushing and grinding of ore. For ore sorting in mineral processing, there are several methods. Depending on the mineral being processed, some may require more than one method before being determined ready for the next ore beneficiation process. The most frequently used methods to separate ore are:

  • Screening: Coarse materials undergo screening and by using a number of sections of various sized screens, several different sized ore can be produced. Screening is also used to produce as close to uniform feed size as determined by the next processing operation.

  • Classifying: Sorting particles according to their settling rate in a fluid is called classification, where the differences in an ore’s size, shape and density come into play. Classifiers separate course and fine material and, while separating ore size is the main objective, separation of minerals by density is also achieved.

  • Concentration separation: The concentration of ores as an ore separation method uses the valuable mineral concentration to determine if the ore contains valuable minerals, and separates them from those with gangue particles. Valuable minerals are separated into a concentrate and gangue into a tailings product. This method helps maximise valuable mineral recovery at a grade that can be further processed or sold.

  • Heavy medium separation / dense medium separation: This separation type is typically used for preconcentration of minerals before the final grind. This process relies specifically on the differences in mineral density. The mixed ore is added to a liquid with density levels between that of the two minerals, and the heavier mineral sinks, while the lighter one floats.

  • Gravitational separation: Machine-generated gravitational force enables mineral separation. Separation occurs by the particle movement in response to gravitational forces and the resistance applied by the fluid used for the separation process. This is a cost-effective type of separation.

  • Magnetic separation: This method is used when one of the mineral components has strong magnetic susceptibility, it can be separated from the others.

  • Flotation: Flotation is used by taking advantage of the differences in the physico-chemical surface properties of different minerals. Chemical reagents added to the pulp selectively react with the surface of valuable ore particles and makes it non-wettable (hydrophobic). This allows them to attach to air bubbles and, by including a frothing agent, form a stable froth at the pulp surface.

Get more for your ore with mineral processing solutions from Multotec, world leader in ore processing equipment.

What are the steps in mineral processing after ore extraction?

Immediately following extraction, ore crushing and grinding, known as comminution, takes place. This reduces ore to manageable sized particles and releases its valuable components while discarding non-valuable ore, called gangue. For effective comminution, large-sized ore is crushed in a crusher developed for this specific process, and the resultant smaller ore is achieved using rotating steel mills.

With manageable sized ore in-hand, the rest of the ore processing steps are determined by the ore type. Ore processing flow sheets spell out the most appropriate processing method for each mineral.

Copper ore processing

Leaching copper ore yield excellent results

  • For copper ore extraction, the ROM stockpile goes to a copper processing plant and begins with a hammer sampler & overbelt magnet for sampling & tramp metal removal
  • SAG mill & trommel screen for comminution
  • Separation process begins using high capacity cyclone cluster
  • Particles above stipulated cut-point sent to secondary ball mill & trommel screen for more crushing
  • Particles beneath cut-point undergo primary & secondary flotation treatment
  • Final slurry transfers to feed tank & slurry sampler
  • Slurry transferred to concentrate thickening pond
  • Finally dewatering & filtration

Gold processing

crushing gold ore is the first step in processing gold after ore extraction.

  • Gold extraction methods from ore, or gold beneficiation begins with ROM from the stockpile conveyed to the gold ore processing plant beneath a magnet for tramp removal & delivered to cone crusher
  • Screening & sampling follows before being directed to a cyclone circuit where it undergoes milling & screening via ball mill & trommel screen
  • The resultant slurry transfers to thickening pond for flocculation & subsequent sampling
  • It is now time for cyanide leaching of gold (gold leaching or gold cyanidation) & subsequent carbon loading via an interstage screen
  • The carbon attached to the gold is removed on a regenerated carbon screen, and the slurry transferred for residual screening & sampling
  • Further separation occurs via flotation and gravity concentration

Iron ore processing

dry beneficiation of iron ore is a common iron ore processing method.

  • For iron ore extraction, the iron ore processing plant receives ROM where it undergoes crushing and subsequent screening on a grizzly screen.
  • It is then sized and above cut point ore sent for further crushing and additional sizing
  • Coarse material has tramp removed via an overbelt magnet and into a DMS drum
  • Coarse waste is sent to a drain & rinse screen and wet high magnetic separator
  • Finer material is transferred to a desliming screen to separate the iron ore into fine and medium products

Zinc ore processing

Zinc extraction from ore consists of various mineral processing applications.

  • From ROM the ore undergoes primary crushing before being sent for milling via SAG and ball mills
  • It is then sized and sorted via a cyclone cluster and sent for flotation where copper and zinc are separated
  • Zinc undergoes agitation and flotation while remaining copper undergoes regrinding and cleaner flotation for additional zinc extraction
  • The zinc slurry now undergoes regrinding and cleaner flotation for additional sorting. Agitation and flotation is repeated until the required composition is achieved
  • Slurry is transferred to thickening tanks and filter press for dewatering
  • Zinc concentrate is removed and is ready for the smelting process.

Lithium ore processing, manganese ore processing and nickel ore processing, while having unique processing flows, all make use of similar equipment, each tailored for their unique processing requirements.

Generally, this equipment includes but is not limited to: flotation wear components, magnetic separators, spiral concentrators, hydrocyclones and slurry pumps for metal ore extraction, processing gold ore and many other mined minerals.


Screening ore is one of the primary steps in ore processing methods.

Trommels, sievebends & statics, baskets, polyurethane, rubber & wedge wire modular screen panels.

magnetic separation is one type of ore separation used in mineral processing.

Effective separation of ferromagnetic & paramagnetic particles from dry solids, slurries or removing tramp metal.

During ore processing sampling is conducted at various stages to collect ore samples, to determine the quality of the mineral.

Wet sampling, dry sampling & ancillary dry sampling that collects accurate, unbiased ore samples.



All ore processing equipment is subject to wear. Wear solutions increase product longevity.

We supply & install rubber, composite & ceramic wear liners for chutes, pipelines & transfer points in ore processing plants.

Mills and scrubbers experience severe impact and achieve a prolonged life if mill & scrubber linings are used to minimise ore impact.

We design and manufacture rubber & steel liners for ball mill, SAG mill, AG mill or scrubber, providing maximum protection.

Solid liquid separation techniques are used in the dewatering process.

A range of industrial centrifuges, polishing filters & ion exchange technologies that enhance your dewatering applications.



Primary ore is fed to an ore processing plant on conveyor systems, which require maintenance and general upkeep. Conveyor system solutions simplify these processes

Maximise uptime with our pulley laggings, rubber loading points, fasteners & cleaners for conveyor belts.

Slurry Pumps perform a pivotal task to ensure slurry moves throughout the ore processing plant uninterrupted.

A range of robust industrial & slurry pumps that provide low energy consumption & reliable performance.

Spirals are used in solid/liquid separation used in ore processing.

Range of sizes, configurations, end-to-end solutions incl. process audits, test work & spiral concentration plants.



cyclones are used in ore processing, food processing, waste water treatment and other industrial applications where separation is required.

A range of cyclones incl. classification, dense medium & tailings dam cyclones from food processing to wastewater treatment.

Enhancing your overall plant performance

We help our customers meet their ore processing product and equipment demands, and optimise their lifespan and efficiency. As a part of this, we provide complete life-of-plant technical services aimed at increasing metallurgical efficiency to optimise your plant throughput.

Holistic plant evaluation, sampling and testing, flow sheet optimisation and investigating plant-wide processing problems, enables us to provide solutions that offer a direct improvement to the process. Our support structures include, engineering services (including test work) and after-sales services including field service maintenance, as well as product performance monitoring and technical support.

Our expertise on your doorstep

Multotec has a global presence with local expertise on your doorstep. We have branches and representatives in 100 countries across 6 continents:

Through this strategically located network of sales and service branches, our knowledge is shared with our customers, wherever they are.

With leading metallurgical expertise on your doorstep, Multotec continually develops capacity, skills and infrastructure in our local operations around the world. We strive to do this as close to our customers’ plants as possible, which ensures a quick and effective response to your requirements and challenges.

Our strategic stockholding of equipment and comprehensive spares, along with tailored field services, helps you get more from your ore.

Global presence. Local expertise. Technically advanced products.


Bheka Majola

Your Ore Processing specialist

Majola has over 20 years of experience in mining and extractive metallurgy. He has held a wide range of positions in the mineral and ore processing industry, including that of Production Metallurgist and Senior Plant Metallurgist, and has worked in sales. He has been with Multotec since 2013.

Multotec products & equipment are engineered to optimise the lifespan, efficiency and cost of ore processing plants worldwide.
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