Current situation, problems and Countermeasures of

2022-08-09
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The current situation, problems and Countermeasures of the utilization of lean mineral resources of bulk minerals in China

the situation of lean mineral resources of bulk minerals in China

bulk minerals refer to minerals that are in great demand and have an important impact on the development of the national economy. The bulk minerals mentioned in this paper mainly include iron ore, manganese ore, copper ore, bauxite, phosphate ore, etc

lean ore, also known as low-grade ore, is relative to high-grade rich ore. there is no unified classification standard in the world. The determination of the grade standard of poor and rich ores in a country mainly depends on the status of mineral resources and the level of mining, beneficiation and smelting technology. Lean ore is not only a technical concept, but also an economic concept. Technically, lean ore refers to mineral resources that cannot be utilized by current mining, beneficiation and smelting technologies due to low ore grade. Economically, lean ore can be understood as mineral resources with poor economic benefits due to ore grade

there are many important bulk mineral resources in China, with more lean ores, more difficult beneficiation and less rich ores, which have a very important impact on the development and utilization of mineral resources in China. For example, among China's iron ore reserves, lean iron ore accounts for 98.1% of the total iron ore reserves, and so do others such as copper ore, bauxite, manganese ore, phosphate ore, pyrite, etc. Among the unused mineral lands of bulk minerals in China, one of the important reasons for the unprofitable use of polyurethane is the low grade of ore. Among the identified resource reserves of iron ore, manganese ore, copper ore, bauxite, gold ore, phosphate ore and other bulk minerals in China, the proportion of rich ore is very small, while the proportion of poor ore is very high. The development and utilization of low-grade poor ore resources has great potential. Table 1 the proportion of iron ore, manganese ore, copper ore, bauxite, gold ore, phosphate ore and lean ore in China

remarks: the grade of rich iron ore is ≥ 48%; Manganese rich ore grade ≥ 28%; Rich copper ore grade ≥ 1%; Phosphorus rich ore grade (P2O5) ≥ 30%; The grade of rich gold ore ≥ 6 g/T

* is trihydrate bauxite

1. Iron ore

by the end of 2003, the identified resource reserves of iron ore in China were 57.662 billion tons (ore volume), most of which were poor ores, and the identified resource reserves of rich iron ore were only 1.085 billion tons, accounting for only 1.9% of the total identified resource reserves of iron ore

the average grade of China's iron ore proved resource reserves is about 33%, which is quite different from that of Brazil, Australia and other countries. From the tonnage grade distribution histogram of China's iron ore proved resource reserves, it can be seen that the grade of most of China's iron ores is between 25% and 40%, accounting for 81.2% of China's iron ore proved resource reserves; The proved resource reserves with grades below 25% account for 4.6% of the total proved resource reserves of China's iron ore; The identified resource reserves with grades of 40 ~ 48% account for 11.5% of China's total iron ore reserves; The proved resource reserves of rich iron ore with a grade of more than 48% only account for 1.9% of the proved resource reserves of iron ore in China

Figure 1 tonnage grade distribution map of China's iron ore resources

the identified resource reserves of China's unused large and medium-sized iron ores are 26.56 billion tons, of which 22.269 billion tons are identified for iron ores with grades less than 35%, accounting for 83.8%, and 4.290 billion tons are identified for iron ores with grades greater than 35%, accounting for 16.2%. The identified resource reserves of rich iron ore with a grade of more than 48% are 295 million tons, accounting for only 1.1%

2. Manganese ore

by the end of 2003, the verified resource reserves of manganese ore in China were 71.1676 million tons (ore volume), of which the verified resource reserves of rich manganese ore were 37.238 million tons, accounting for only 5.2% of the total verified resource reserves of manganese ore in China

the average grade of manganese ore in China is only 19.6%, of which the verified resource reserves of manganese rich ore with a grade greater than 30% are only 37.238 million tons, accounting for 5.2% of the total verified resource reserves of manganese ore in China. The average grade of manganese oxide ore is 23.0%, the average grade of manganese carbonate ore is 20.5%, and the average manganese content of manganese iron lead zinc (symbiotic) ore is 14.5%. Manganese ores in China have complex material components and fine mineral particles, which are difficult to separate. Manganese ores contain high contents of phosphorus, iron, silicon, cobalt, nickel and so on

among the 186.05 million tons of unused manganese ore in China, 151.76 million tons of manganese carbonate ore, accounting for 81.6%, 26.634 million tons of manganese oxide ore, accounting for 14.3%, 7.656 million tons of manganese iron lead zinc (symbiotic) ore, accounting for 4.1%, and most of the unused manganese ore is manganese carbonate ore that is difficult to beneficiate and smelt. China's manganese ores have not been identified in large mineral areas, of which the identified resource reserves of manganese ores with grades lower than 25% are 128.25 million tons, accounting for 94.0%

Figure 2 tonnage grade distribution histogram of manganese ore resources in China

3. Copper mine

by the end of 2003, the identified resource reserves of copper mines in China were 67.0873 million tons (metal quantity), of which the identified resource reserves of rich copper mines (grade>1%) were 20.4511 million tons, accounting for only 30.5% of the identified resource reserves of all copper mines in China

Figure 3 tonnage grade distribution histogram of copper resources in China

the average grade of identified resource reserves of copper deposits in China is 0.87%, of which the average grade of porphyry copper deposits is 0.55%, lower than 1.0 ~ 1.6% in Chile and Peru; The average grade of sand shale type copper deposits in China is 0.5 ~ 1.0%, which is lower than 2.0 ~ 5.0% in DRC, Zambia and Poland

the proved resource reserves of unused copper mines in China are 2759.4, accounting for 41.0% of the total proved resource reserves of copper mines, with an average grade of only 0.45%, which is only slightly higher than the industrial grade of copper mines; Among them, the identified resource reserves of copper mines with grades lower than 1% are 20.7954 million tons, accounting for 89.6%

4. Bauxite

by the end of 2003, the identified resource reserves of bauxite in China were 254.54 million tons (ore volume), ranking first in the world; However, unlike the vast majority of bauxite resources in other countries in the world (86%) are trihydrate bauxite resources, 98.8% of China's bauxite resources belong to diaspore bauxite, with low aluminum, high silicon, low iron and low aluminum silicon ratio. In 2003, China produced 16.25 million tons of bauxite and 6.11 million tons of alumina. The ratio of bauxite to alumina was 2.6:1

5. Phosphate rock

as of the end of 2003, the identified resource reserves of phosphate rock in China were 16.364 billion tons (ore volume), including 3.902 billion tons of basic reserves and 12.462 billion tons of resources. The proved resource reserves of China's phosphate rich ores (P2O5 ≥ 30%) are 1.383 billion tons, accounting for 8.5% of the total proved resource reserves of phosphate ores

the proved resource reserves of unused phosphate rock in China are 5.747 billion tons, and the average grade of P2O5 is only 14.4%. The proved resource reserves of phosphorus rich ores with P2O5 grade greater than 30% are less than 60 million tons, accounting for 1.0% of the proved resource reserves of unused phosphorus ores. Almost all the proved resource reserves of unused phosphorus ores in China are poor ores

Figure 4 tonnage grade distribution histogram of China's phosphate rock resources

the utilization of lean ore resources is an inevitable choice to ensure resource safety

1. The uneven distribution of mineral resources between the rich and the poor is a global law, and in general, the world's mineral resources are dominated by lean ores

one of the basic characteristics of China's mineral resources is that there are more lean ores and less rich ores, especially iron ore, copper ore, manganese ore, bauxite and other bulk minerals; In fact, this is also the common feature of the major mineral resources countries in the world. Except that a few countries have advantages over a few minerals, many minerals in most countries are characterized by more lean minerals and less rich minerals

the average grade of iron ore in China is only 32%. However, China is not the only iron ore resource country in the world that is dominated by lean ores. Several other large iron ore resource countries are dominated by lean ores. The iron ore reserves of the former Soviet Union rank first in the world, with an average grade of only 36.9%, and rich iron ore accounts for only 14% of industrial reserves. The quality of iron ore in the United States is similar to that in China, with an average grade of only 30%. Canada is also quite rich in iron ore, but taking lean ore as an example, the average grade of iron ore is only 34.4%. Sweden, a large iron ore country in northern Europe, has an average of only 47.5% of iron ore. The average grade of iron ore in the world is 46.7%. Only Brazil, Australia, India, South Africa, Venezuela and other iron ore resource countries have more than 60% of the ore, but their reserves only account for 29% of the world's total reserves. Two thirds of the world's iron ore reserves are low-grade lean ores

manganese ore is also from a similar situation. As the second largest manganese resource country in the world, Ukraine's proved reserves account for 21% of the world's total, second only to South Africa, but 70% of its manganese reserves are carbonate type low-grade ores. Among the world's major manganese ore resource countries and producers, only South Africa, Gabon, Brazil, Australia and other countries are rich in high-grade ores containing 37-52% manganese, which produce 60% of the world's manganese ores. The same is true of copper mines. In the world, only Chile, Zambia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and other countries have relatively high copper grades; Other large copper resource countries, such as the United States, Canada, the Philippines and so on, have copper ore grades similar to those of China, and are also dominated by lean ores

2. Human development and utilization of mineral resources must follow the law from rich to poor

practice shows that the development and utilization of mineral resources in human society always begins with rich minerals. With the progress of society, the growth of demand for mineral resources, the improvement of economic and technological level, and the gradual depletion of high-grade mineral resources, the direction of development and utilization has gradually shifted to low-grade lean ore, so that the mining grade of ore has gradually decreased

before the 1950s, countries in the world basically used only iron rich ores. According to statistics, around 1951, the average grade of self-produced iron ore in some major steel producing countries in the world was 49.5% in the United States, 52% in the former Soviet Union, 54.5% in Canada and 60% in Sweden. Due to the poor quality of resources, the mining grade of Britain and France is lower, 30% and 33.5% respectively. With the depletion of rich iron ore resources, the mining grade of iron ore in various countries decreased rapidly: 50% in 1955, 44.5% in 1960, 37.3% in 1970 and 33.4% in 1988 in the former Soviet Union; The mining grade of iron ore in the United States fell faster, falling to 27.75% in 1965, 24.87% in 1970, 20.7% in 1980 and 19.67% in 1990

the mining grade of copper mines in the world has decreased more. Take the United States as an example. In the 250 years since 1750, the minable grade of the mined copper mine has decreased from 16% to less than 0.5%, a 32 fold decrease. According to statistics, the average grade of copper deposits in Western and developing countries decreased from 18.5% in 1950 to 1.33% in 1960, 1.09% in 1970 and 0.9% in 1975

Figure 5 Schematic diagram of minable grade of copper deposits in the United States over the past 200 years (quoted from: USGS, 2001)

the mining grade of lead-zinc ore, another major mineral, has also decreased exponentially. In the 30 years from 1950 to 1980, the average grade of lead in important polymetallic mining areas in Australia, Canada, the United States, Mexico and other countries decreased from 3-5 to 1.5-2.0%, and that of zinc decreased from 8-10% to 4-6%

3. The full development and utilization of lean mineral resources is one of the important guarantees for all countries to achieve the safety of mineral supply

there are only two ways to solve the shortage of domestic resources, one is to make full use of foreign resources, the other is to make full use of domestic lean minerals. Making full use of their rich lean mineral resources has become an important strategic measure for many countries to get rid of their heavy dependence on foreign mineral resources

the United States is one of the major steel producers in the world. Although there are many iron ore resources, the grade of iron ore generally does not exceed 30%. In order to reduce the dependence on imported rich ores as much as possible and achieve the long-standing goal that the dependence on imported iron ores does not exceed 1/4 of the consumption, we have always attached importance to the development and utilization of domestic lean iron ores. It is understood that in 1952, the output of rich iron ore that can be directly shipped and sold in the United States once accounted for 55% of its total raw ore output, which fell to 2% in 1978. Since then, all lean iron ore has been mined. Due to the high importance attached to the utilization of lean iron ore, the United States' dependence on imported iron ore was only 20.5% in 2000, far lower than China's 49.3% in 2002

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