TIMA in Metallurgy Process Design – Value Chain Benefits

Mineral textural information is crucial to the design and optimisation of metallurgy processes. Automated mineralogy generates mineral textural information to optimise individual processes such as grind size, reagent, flotation and regrind strategies for your process. Samples can be taken from various points in the process and analysed in near real time. By acquiring this data in a timely fashion, you are able to fine tune your entire process on the fly to maximise recovery, reduce energy consumption and increase profitability.

The following graphic demostrates where automated mineralogy can be implemented in your metallurgy process design to bring about process improvements including increased efficiency, increased revovery, lowering running costs, ultimately improving your bottom line.

Automated Mineralogy metallurgy process design

What Can Automated Mineralogy Tell You About Your Metallurgy Process

The TIMA-X automated mineralogy solution can generate valuable data that can be used to optimise your process including:
  • Identify and quantify to 0.01% concentration
  • All the minerals present, ore and gangue
  • Mineral association of ore with gangue
  • The minerals in which your element deports- major and minor minerals 
  • Characterisation for solid solution substitutions in key minerals that may affect flotation performance
  • The mineral size versus grain size for optimal grind size for liberation of these mineral
  • Mineral inter-growths that may affect performance in flotation, recoveries or quality of concentrate
  • Full characterisation of quality of concentrate for shipment samples

TIMA in Continuous Mini Surveys of Individual Sub-Circuits of the Overall Process Flowsheet

The TIMA-X can be used to analyse samples at various stages throughout a metallurgical process. Data from these analyses can be used to optimise these individual stages/items in the process.

Crushing & Grinding Ore

  • Particle size versus natural grain size to confirm whether or not the liberation of ore minerals is adequate to remove gangue
  • Gangue-particle size and liberation of deleterious minerals such as sericite, muscovite and chlorite


Automated mineralogy and liberation studies can determine if ore in your tailing has arisen from insufficient grinding or poorly optimised flotation cells or other process inadequacies. A detailed understanding of materials generated by each of these stages can result in increased recovery and assist with fine tuning of such things e.g.
  • Tailing have large liberated particles →  Investigate flotation/suppression agent strength and optimal pH for activation.
  • Tailing have small liberated particles → Investigate alternate scavenger cleaner circuits

Advantages of Automated Mineralogy

Chemical analysis of tailing only tells you how much of the element you are losing, not whether you are losing a primary or secondary mineral. Automated mineralogy informs of the mineral particle size, liberation and association of the minerals
Variability and elemental substitution in mineral species effects flotation and electrochemical interaction with collectors depending on species oxidation state and substitution.

TIMA for Monthly Plant Composites

Use of automated mineralogy solutions like the TIMA-X  can also be used to build up quality reference data for longer term plant monitoring. Data can be used for:
  • Providing a baseline of the feed characteristics and performance over time
  • Measuring the variation of commodity source minerals in plant feed
  • Determining individual mineral recovery by size, liberation and locking characteristics, grain size versus particle size, mineral association & mineral maps.
  • Understanding the nature of commodity losses and formulate strategies to improve recovery
  • Analysis of concentrate allowing you to measure the levels of penalty elements to determine if you need to find ways to reduce them.
 Optical MicroscopyLA-ICPMSEPMAXRFXRDSEMAutomated Mineralogy
Element (%)
Mineral ID
Mineral (%)
Mineral Association
Mineral Liberation
Particle Size
Grain Size
CommentSubjective and slowLarge 50µm spot size2µm spot size point analysisOnly elemental informationNo liberation dataSlowCUSTOMISED FOR GEOSCIENTISTS