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Permanent Magnets Used in the Mining Industry

Mining is the process of drawing out natural resources from the earth. These natural resources include valuable metals, such as gold, silver, nickel, copper, and rare earth metals. Mining has been in existence as far back as the prehistoric period. However, advancement in technology has introduced changes in the procedures involved in mining. These changes are concerned with making mining faster and more cost-effective. These changes also ensure that the mined products are top-quality with as few contaminants as possible. Impurities in mined metals can be highly disruptive. They can alter the properties of the metals, such as boiling point, melting point, conduction, and so on.

Magnets Used for Magnetic Separation

Magnetic separation is a technique that is well-appreciated in the mining industry. Magnets are essential for removing large-sized metals in the initial stages of the mining process. Subsequently, they are used to remove fine ferrous contaminants. This technique has been used in the mining industry for over a century. It was first used in England and has since gained popularity in other parts of the world. The use of magnets in the mining industry helps maintain machines, protecting them from wear and tear that ferrous impurities could cause. These ferrous impurities are also referred to as tramp metals. They are generally encountered during mining. Hence magnets are highly valuable in the mining industry. There are two main types of magnets used in the mining industry. They are:

Permanent Magnets

Permanent magnets have a less powerful magnetic field than the other type of magnets used in the mining industry. These magnets do not depend on an external source to generate their magnetic field but can do so themselves. They attract tramp metals made of cobalt, nickel, and rare earth elements. An added benefit of these types of magnets is that they can be easily cleaned manually.


Unlike permanent magnets, they cannot generate their magnetic field without an external influence. They create their magnetic field from electrical current. When alternating current is converted to direct current, their magnetic field is created. They have a stronger magnetic field than permanent magnets and are generally valuable for removing large tramp metals. They are also easier to clean than permanent magnets. To clean them, all one has to do is switch off the source of the electrical current.

Types of Magnetic Separators Used in the Mining Industry

Various types of magnetic separators are used in the magnetic industry. Each is specially designed to meet a unique need in the mining industry. A few of these magnetic separators include:

Magnetic Drum Separators

The substance to be separated moves over the drum’s surface. The magnetic field of the drum remains at a position with the drum rotating about it. Ferrous impurities are attracted to the magnetic field while the cleaned product, which is usually not ferrous and not disturbed by the magnetic field, flows out of the drum. Based on their principle of operation, magnetic drum separators are usually self-cleaning.

Suspended Plate Magnets

Suspended plate magnets can be hung over a conveyor belt or mounted at the discharge end. They are made of permanent magnets and are highly efficient because they can generate their magnetic field. They are also easy to install and can be trusted to remove a vast amount of tramp metals.

Cross Belt Separators

They are quite similar to the suspended plate magnets. Just like suspended plate magnets, they are made from permanent magnets. Hence, they do not require an external source to generate their magnetic field. This makes them economical. In addition, they are self-cleaning. Crossbelt separators can be mounted over a conveyor belt or the discharge point of the conveyor head pulley.

Magnetic Head Pulley

They are made from permanent magnets, and they have an efficient technique for removing tramp metals. These magnetic separators are installed in conveyor belts. Not only are these separators self-cleaning, but they are also easy to install and maintain. The magnetic head pulley ensures that the mined products are pure and up to standard.

Materials Used in Making Magnetic Separators

There is little difference between the materials used in making magnets used in the mining industry and the materials used in other types of magnets. Let’s take a look at some of these materials. Alnico is one of the materials that can be used in making permanent magnets present in magnetic separators. This material is a composite of Aluminium, nickel, cobalt, and iron. It is capable of generating a strong magnetic field. Materials such as Neodymium and Samarium Cobalt are examples of rare-earth magnet materials which can be used to produce powerful permanent magnets for magnetic separators. Rare-earth magnets are more powerful than ceramic and Alnico magnets Another popular material for magnetic separators is the ceramic magnet which is a composite of strontium carbonate and iron oxide. Ceramic magnets have an average magnetic strength.


The mining industry is one where the purity of products is of utmost importance. Various types of magnets exist to ensure that top-notch quality products, devoid of any impurities, are produced in the mining industry. For more information, please visit https://www.stanfordmagnets.com/.

About the author

Cathy Marchio

Cathy Marchio is an expert at Stanford Magnets, where she shares her deep knowledge of magnets like Neodymium and Samarium Cobalt. With a background in materials science, Cathy writes articles and guides that make complex topics easier to understand. She helps people learn about magnets and their uses in different industries, making her a key part of the company's success.

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