A novel technology using high voltage pulses (HVP) to pretreat ore and improve ore processability has been developed by Dr Frank Shi and his team at the SMI-JKMRC.

This technology has the potential to significantly improve the profitability of mining operations. Application of relatively low levels of HVP energy to selectively break mineral particles from barren rocks, followed by size-based screening separation enables the feed ore to be split into high grade and low grade products. The HVP pretreatment also generates cracks/microcracks on the disintegrated particles, reducing the energy required in subsequent breakage.

HVP treatment followed by conventional grinding also results in improved liberation of the valuable minerals. The three major improvements in ore processability through HVP pretreatment have the potential to facilitate rejection of low grade ore prior to processing, increase production rates, reduce the energy required for comminution and improve flotation separation recoveries. In recognition of the importance of this research, a JKMRC paper on the HVP technology received the prestigious 2017 CEEC Medal award.

A number of research projects are currently being developed with the objective of transforming the HVP technology from laboratory to a viable large scale application.