Magnetic separation



Magnetic separation is the process of separating components of mixtures by using a magnet to attract magnetic substances. The process that is used for magnetic separation separates non-magnetic substances from those which are magnetic. This technique is useful for the select few minerals which are ferromagnetic (iron-, nickel-, and cobalt-containing minerals) and paramagnetic. Most metals, including gold, silver and aluminum, are nonmagnetic.


A large diversity of mechanical means are used to separate magnetic materials. During magnetic separation, magnets are situated inside two separator drums which bear liquids. Due to the magnets, magnetic particles are being drifted by the movement of the drums. This can create a magnetic concentrate (e.g. an ore concentrate).



Michael Faraday discovered that when a substance is put in a magnetic environment, the intensity of the environment is modified by it. With this information, he discovered that different materials can be separated with their magnetic properties. The table below shows the common ferromagnetic and paramagnetic minerals as well as the field intensity that is required in order to separate 𝚝𝚑𝚎 minerals.

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