Ore and Solid Waste Processing

The Ore and Solid Waste Processing Laboratory is the successor of former Laboratory Analysis and Processing of Raw Materials José Quintino Rogado, one of the Instituto Superior Técnico laboratories, created in 1947. After, it was designated as Laboratory of Mineral Processing, and its assembly was concluded in 1949.

The main activities in the laboratory are education and research in mineral processing and recycling.


The main objectives of the creation, assembly and development of the laboratory are:

  • Support the laboratory classes of the subjects related with Mineral and Solid Wastes Processing;
  • Perform routine tests for private entities;
  • Perform applied research in the physical/chemical preparation of raw materials.

Teaching activity covers the subjects of sample preparation, sampling, comminution (crushing and grinding), screening and sieving, hydroclassification, gravitic separation, heavy medium separation, flotation, magnetic separation, electrostatic separation, magnetohydrostatic separation, dewatering as well as modelling, simulation and automatic control.

The research carried out in the laboratory is financed by laboratory’s own, national and international funds.

The laboratory cooperates with several other laboratories and universities in Portugal and abroad.


  • Utilisation of green chemicals in non-energy extractive industries, Funding FCT (ERA-MIN), (2014-2016)
  • Recovery of glass from the heavy reject of MBT plants. Funding: Sociedade Ponto Verde (2012-2014).
  • Optimization of the Economical and Environmental Trade-off in the Management of the Plastics Residues from WEEE Processing (PROC-REEE), Funding AMB3E (2008-2010).
  • Mechanized Separation of Granulated Plastics from Selective Collection (SEMEC), Funding  Sociedade Ponto Verde (2006-2009).

Commercial Software

  • SIMUL – WINDOWS 95/98/NT version production of a simulator of mineralurgical processes with capacity for circuit analysis and project.
  • BALMAS – WINDOWS 95/98/NT version production of the coherent mass balance program for processing circuits including support and sensitivity analysis of sampling plans for complex circuits.
  • MSWSampling – WINDOWS 95/98/NT version production of the coherent mass balance program for sampling representativity calculation of municipal solid wastes.
  • Glass Sampling – WINDOWS 95/98/NT version production of the coherent mass balance program for sampling representativity calculation of glass wastes.


CRUSHING Jaw Crusher (15×12.5cm)

Jaw Crusher (12×8 cm)

Jaw Crusher (9×6 cm)

 GRINDING  Roll Mill

Ceramic Mill

Ball Mill

Ball Mill

Disc Mill (2 Hp)

Disc Mill (0.7 kW)

Ball or Rod Mill


Vibrating Sieve Shaker

Vibratory Screen

 CLASSIFICATION  Mozley Hydrocyclone

Atkins Spiral



Wetshaking Table

Shaking Table

Diaphragm Jig

Laboratory Jig


Induced Rolls Separator

CARPCO Separator

Drum Separator

Magnetic Separator/Magneto-Hydrostatic Separator

FLOTATION Laboratorial Flotation Cells

Leeds Flotation Cell

Bank of Flotation Cells

Flotation Column

ANALYTICAL EQUIPMENT Assay analyzer by X-ray fluorescence






Sample Preparation


  •  To prepare control samples, meaning representative samples of different products obtained for successive phases of testes with the goal of chemical, grain size and mineralogical characterization, and the liberation degree of the different mineralogical species of interest;
  • To prepare test samples of ores and solid wastes, for batch tests, with the suitable grain size characteristics.

Preparation of the samples is done by successive sampling stages. One sampling stage comprehends several fragmentation and screening, and some accessory operations like drying and homogenization. Only then it is performed the actual sampling operation for which results a representative sample of the material.

Previous Testing


1. Realization of the characteristic curve and of the composition curve of raw material.

The characteristic curve corresponds to the accumulated distribution of certain physical property (density, grain size, magnetic susceptibility, electric conductivity, floatability) of the material. The composition curve describes the variation of the assay with the variation of the physical property in study.

The combination of these two curves allows 1) for simple ores, the construction of the marginal assay distribution curve of some mineral or ore; 2) the construction of the theoretical separation curve of the mineral, ore or solid waste.

These curves, which depend on the individualization of the mineral species of interest and of the primary property in analysis, indicate the predictable separation in a perfect and ideal separator.

The characteristic and composition curves are very important for they allow: 1) the verification of the adequacy of the liberation degree of the interesting minerals in study and the interest of the physical property as a separation criteria; 2) to predict the results in industrial separators for which there are mathematical models that define the separation curve as function of the specific parameters of the separator and the feeding characteristics.

The separation curve defines the portions of material that for different values of one physical property represent one of the products of the separator.

Among the laboratory analysis techniques, whose results contribute to the realization of the characteristic curve and the composition curve, are the density analysis, grain size analysis and the liberation analysis of C. C. Dell.

2. Testing the Aptitude of Separation

In this small scale testing, the main objectives are to determine the possibility of separation, to determine working parameters and also separation parameters that are important for the industrial scale-up. In this category of tests there are the gravitic separation, froth flotation and magnetic and/or electrostatic separation tests.

  •  Realization of the Characteristic Curve and of the Composition Curve of raw material;
  •  Testing the Aptitude of Concentration.

 Automatic Process Control

This section has a sophisticated installation for process control whose base equipment is a flotation column.

The scheme of the installation allows processes to be studied in view of their static or dynamic modeling, and also to experiment, evaluate and refine control strategies. It is available software (acquired/developed) oriented towards the programming of applications of control in real time of the processes, as well as advanced analysis software (Systems Identification) and software for systems control.


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