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Energy efficient tech to reduce size of hard materials: Image of crushed granite gravel

A yet2 client seeks the next generation technologies, or enhancements to existing technologies, which can reduce the size of rock-like material through breakage, grinding, crushing, cutting or vibrating, in order to provide superior energy efficiency and/or greater control of particle size distribution than current methods used in mineral processing. The client is interested in a wide range of stages of development from conceptual designs and research to commercially available. This includes technologies being developed in other industries which may be transferable to mineral processing.


Comminution technology is used in the mining industry to crush rocks and ore bearing minerals from 1.5m to smaller particle sizes (to below 10 microns in some applications), typically allowing the valuable mineral content to be liberated (surfaces exposed) and thereby effectively recovered. (Note that Industrial minerals applications typically target particle size per se as a functional requirement for fillers and other applications).

Current comminution technology used within the mining industry such as Cone crushers, High Pressure Grinding Rolls (HPGR), SAG mills, and ball mills all together consume up to 50% of the electrical energy on mine sites. Therefore, identifying technologies with increased energy efficiency has strong potential to help mining companies reduce their carbon footprint.

One significant challenge with existing comminution technology is that there is typically poor control over particle size distribution, leading to an excessively broad-spectrum of particle sizes in the final comminution product. Too many fine particles can inhibit both comminution machine capacity and downstream recovery. Conversely, the value contained in coarse particles may be difficult to recover. In other words, most applications require tight control over particle size to achieve optimal results. Therefore, one avenue for exploration is a more efficient grinding and size classification process that can maintain final product size at close to optimum for any given application, without excess production of either fine or coarse material.

Possible Solution Areas

  • Novel crushing and grinding techniques
  • Novel particle size classification techniques
  • Upgrade/optimization of current machinery e.g. HPGR
  • Upstream preparation of material e.g. Microwave frequency treatment, super critical CO2, pulse and beam technologies

Desired Outcome of the Solution

yet2’s client is willing to consider a variety of partnership avenues including collaboration and joint development. The client is also interested in all levels of stage of development from conceptual designs and research to commercially available.

Field of Use and Intended Applications

Comminution: breakage, grinding, crushing, cutting, or vibrating of rock-like material for mineral processing.

Classification: efficient separation of mixed particle streams into sharply separated fine and coarse particle streams on a continuous 24/7 basis (cut size is application dependent)


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Photo Credit: Pexels from Pixabay

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