Ilmenite processing in thermal plasma during electric discharge mechanical milling
The novel and advanced Electric Discharge Assisted Mechanical Milling (EDAMM) technique has been evaluated for use in the mineral processing of natural ilmenite concentrates (NIC). The authors have demonstrated EDAMM is an effective tool for inducing rapid reaction rates in oxide-gas systems, though work thus far has concentrated on synthesis reactions of high purity laboratory grade materials such as Fe2O3, PbS and Sb2O3. Using NIC as the primary reagent, phase changes during thermal decomposition and oxidation of ilmenite concentrate induced by EDAMM were established. Experiments were carried out in CO2, N2, Ar, O2 and air. Products were characterized by XRD and SEM. The results of this investigation demonstrate that thermal decomposition of the pseudorutile component of ilmenite concentrate occurs during EDAMM in less than 10 seconds and that oxidation of the ilmenite component occurs during EDAMM in less than 2 minutes in oxidising atmospheres.