The Minerals Research Laboratory offers bench-scale testing, pilot plant testing, and technical assistance services.
MRL provides specialty services in the following areas:
- Bench laboratory testing
- Continuous pilot plant testing
- Conceptual plant design and preliminary feasibility
- Plant evaluation
- Technical assistance
- Process audits and assessments
- Industrial services
- By-product and waste utilization studies
The equipment page describes some of the mineral processing and analytical support equipment in the MRL facility.
Batch Scale Testing
The MRL facility includes laboratories for flexible small-scale testing for the beneficiation of industrial minerals. This includes wet and dry grinding, gravity separation, magnetic separation, electrostatic separation, solid-liquid separation, sizing, and flotation. Using the data obtained from batch scale tests, MRL can scale up to pilot plant testing and flowsheet design.
Pilot Plant Testing
The strength of MRL is its ability to design flow sheets from batch-scale laboratory data and operate continuous pilot plant tests. The laboratory has extensive inventories of pilot plant equipment which enables it to simulate virtually any flow sheet. Studies may be conducted either on-site in Asheville or off-site in the sponsor’s plants. Pilot plant testing helps establish design criteria, operating parameters, process efficiency, and economic process feasibility. The pilot plant is often used to provide bulk samples for product evaluation in the marketplace. MRL has an excellent track record scaling up from pilot plant studies to commercial plant design.
Technical Assistance Services
The MRL staff provides technical assistance to private sponsors on mine operations, source characterization, and mineral processing technology. For a brief summary of our primary researchers’ backgrounds, see the staff expertise page.