The mineral processing research team at SSW includes Professors Brian Hart and Stamen Dimov, Dr. Liuyin (Lucy) Xia and Dr. Mark Biesinger, graduate students and a number of research assistants actively engaged in research directed towards the mineral processing sector. Along with a number of other SSW Research Scientists routinely consulted in reference to their specific area of expertise, the SSW team has more than 30 years expertise in the application of surface chemical analysis to mineral processing related research and process optimization. SSW is a unique research facility in that it houses some very sophisticated surface analyses tools. Complimentary tools utilized routinely in mineral processing investigations include an ION TOF TOF-SIMS IV, an AXIS Ultra and AXIS Nova XPS instruments, an AFM, FTIR and laser Raman spectrometers, along with several of SEMs. The team is actively engaged in defining testing protocols with the analytical tools to meet the needs of the mineral processing industry.
In order to address the needs of the mineral processing community SSW team directs research towards optimizing the capacity and developing new applications of the various analytical tools for both exploratory and routine analysis as requested by clients. The team has been successfully implementing these tools to commercial metallurgical performance issues for the past 10 years and, annually provide mineral processing contract research to 15 different companies and generate more than 30 detailed reports on various aspects of process optimization.
Together with Professor Roger St.-C. Smart (University of South Australia) we have pioneered the use of principal components analysis (PCA) for mineral recognition and championed the use of TOF-SIMS and XPS for identifying discriminating factors promoting or inhibiting mineral flotation. Through an NSERC CRD project with SGS Lakefield, we have developed a chemical reactivity test where element transfer during grinding is measured and used to predict the degree to which inadvertent flotation of minerals within an ore might be affected. In response to a client request, Drs. Hart and Dimov developed a technique utilizing Raman spectroscopy and TOF-SIMS to link the maturity of different C species within ore to its capacity for Au adsorption from solution.