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Published: 22 November 2019

MetalIntelligence is a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Innovative Training Network (ITN) run at Luleå University of Technology together with academic and industrial partners. PhD studies within this ITN involve a mobility scheme for participating in trainings given by the different network partners as well as an industrial internship. One of the work packages within MetalIntelligence is dedicated to the emerging field of geometallurgy that brings together geological sciences, mineral processing and metallurgy in order to characterize physical and chemical properties of rocks and ore from the in situ ore stage through the extraction and beneficiation stages to the final product. The aim is to optimize processes, minimize waste and reduce costs in the mine to mill operation.

The Garpenberg Zn–Pb–Ag–(Cu)–(Au) deposit in the Bergslagen ore district is a complex sulphide ore of a still indefinite origin. The ore is composed of several different ore bodies of varying mineralogical composition and character. To be able to optimize processes in Garpenberg it is crucial to identify the mineralogical variability of the ore and establish what mineralogical parameters that influences the processing of the ore. It is also critical to implement reliable and less time-consuming on-line analysis tools as a complement to more subjective characterization.

In this project the initial geological input data from the existing Garpenberg geological model will first be improved by in-depth mineralogical studies (mineral chemistry, mineral textures etc.), followed by detailed lab scale test studies of the behavior of specific minerals/particles in the flotation process. The project is aimed at improving the geometallurgical model for a complex ore type, in this instance a poly-metallic base metal ore with additional precious and penalty elements. These types of ores pose particularly tough challenges for successful production forecast because of the mixed Zn-Pb-Cu base metals, the complex association of the beneficial Ag and Au, and the presence of influential elements such as Sb, Mn and Mg. This PhD-project will comprise several aspects of mineralogy in a detailed deposit study of the Lappberget  ore body. The character of the ore will be documented in terms of mineral textures, metal content, quantitative mineralogy etc, using geometallurgical and mineralogical techniques (e.g. on-line analysis tools, Element to mineral conversion, XRD, SEM-WDS, Laser Ablation ICP-MS, QEMSCAN, and X-ray tomography).

Project Participants

  • Luleå University of Technology
  • Trinity College Dublin
  • Outotec
  • Boliden AB
  • IMA Engineering


This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (Grant agreement ID: 722677)

Find out more at:

Christina Wanhainen

Wanhainen, Christina - Professor and Head of Subject

Organisation: Ore Geology, Geosciences and Environmental Engineering, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering
Phone: +46 (0)920 492401
Glacialle Tiu

Tiu, Glacialle - PhD Student, MC

Organisation: Ore Geology, Geosciences and Environmental Engineering, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering
Phone: +46 (0)920 493237