Magnetic Disc Separator for Processing Coltan

By Paul Fears | 19 November 2018

A Magnetic Disc Separator (MDS) has been manufactured and despatched to Nigeria for use in the processing of Coltan (a combination of columbite and tantalite).  The Magnetic Separator is used in a process to primarily extract Tantalum.  Tantalum is a key raw material in the manufacture of batteries for electric cars, mobile phones and other electronic products.  Deposits of Coltan have been mined in Central Africa for several decades.

Master Magnets Disc Magnetic Separator at Site
Magnetic Diisc Separator in operation in a coltan processing plant in Africa

The Magnetic Disc Separator enables the separation of different minerals with varying levels of magnetic susceptibility.  Concentrated fractions of minerals are collected and then further processed.

For this new project, tests were undertaken in the Bunting’s customer experience centre test facility at Redditch, UK.  The tests confirmed the level of separation, capacity and the magnetic separator configuration.  Once completed, the samples were returned to the client in Nigeria for analysis.  On receiving confirmation that the separation matched their processing requirements, an order was placed.

Design of the Magnetic Disc Separator

A model MDS3-375 Magnetic Disc Separator was recommended.  This featured three high-intensity electromagnetic discs, (with 6 electromagnetic coils) each set at a different height from a 380mm wide feed conveyor.  The first disc was set the furthest from the feed material to extract only the most magnetically susceptible particles.  The second and third discs are set at lower gaps, increasing the magnetic force at each disc and therefore separating different grades of magnetic material.

Disc separators training meeting
3-Stage Magnetic Disc Separator

The tests had determined that the MDS3-375 Magnetic Disc Separator could process between 500 and 600 kg per hour.

Further information on the Magnetic Disc Separator, including a video featuring leading magnetic separation expert Professor Neil Rowson, can be seen in the article:

Related Mineral Processing Technical Articles

Magnetic Separators – Mineral Processing Laboratory

Bunting-Redditch has one of the most comprehensive magnetic separation mineral processing testing laboratories in the world.  Their Laboratory Technicians have decades of experience in mineral processing.  Controlled tests ensure that the most suitable and cost-effective machinery is recommended for each application.  The laboratory is equipment with a wide range of equipment including:

  • Smaller scaled versions of industrial Magnetic Separators.  This equipment is used to accurately scale up to industrial capacities and calculate performance guarantees;
  • X-Ray Fluorescence and X-Ray Diffraction analysis are available for chemical assay and mineralogical identification to aid the development of a viable process route for each application;

For further information on our range of magnetic separation equipment designed for purifying ceramics and non-metallic minerals, or to arrange sample tests in our laboratory, please contact us on:

Email: Gordon Kerr at

Via the website

Telephone:  +44 (0) 1527 65858

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