The Application of Mineral Processing Techniques to the Scrap Recycling Industry

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Virginia Tech


The scrap metal recycling industry is a growing industry that plays an important role in the sustainability of a large global metal supply. Unfortunately, recycling lacks many standards, and test procedures in place for mineral processing. These standards and practices, if used in recycling, could aid recyclers in determining and achieving optimal separations for their plant.. New regulations for scrap imports into China make it difficult to obtain the metal recoveries that have been achieved in the past. In order to help scrap yards adhere to the new regulations the Eriez RCS eddy current separator system was tested in full scale. The principles this system uses, called circuit analysis, have been used by the mining industry for years, and can be used with any separation system. The Eriez RCS system surpassed the requirements of the Chinese regulations, while simultaneously increasing the recovery of metals. In order to further analyze eddy current separator circuits, tree analysis was attempted for single eddy current separators, as well as more complex circuits mimicked using locked cycle tests. The circuits used in the locked cycle test were a rougher-cleaner, a rougher-scavenger, and a rougher-cleaner-scavenger. It was found that it is possible to use tree analysis to compare different eddy current separator circuits using the same settings, however standards for this practice need to be established for it to be useful. Using the data analysis methods developed for this particular tree analysis, the rougher-cleaner-scavenger test had the best performance overall. This is the same result as the full scale testing done on the Eriez RCS system, but more testing should be conducted to confirm the data analysis techniques of calculating theoretical efficiency, recovery efficiency, and rejection efficiency.



Recycling, Metal, Circuit Analysis, Tree Analysis