Introduction to upscaling and laboratory-scale tests


The first course of the PROCHAINE series covers the theory and fundamental approaches related to ore characterization and design of mineral processing operations including basic flowsheet design. A general introduction to the mine value chain and basic mineral processing is provided at the beginning of the course. The implementation contains both theoretical lectures and practical exercises linked to process simulation and laboratory and bench scale tests for evaluation of mineral processing performance. At the end of the course, a brief introduction will be given towards the next step of process development, mini-pilot and pilot based tests, which will be covered within the subsequent modules of the course series. The first course module is offered in collaboration between LTU and Outotec.

Target audience

The course is intended for mining industry professionals with engineering background such as process and development engineers working with issues related to mineral processing. The course can also be of interest for various supplier companies to the mining industry, such as chemical and equipment providers and consultancies. The course is at intermediate level. Therefore, successful participation requires some basic understanding of mineral processing. The module is designed for a maximum of 24 participants and held in English.

Learning objectives

After completion of this course module, the student shall be able to:

  • Describe the mine value chain and its challenges
  • Plan and conduct sampling, and error estimation
  • Use and analyse results from the most common characterisation techniques (e.g. particle size, density, surface area measurement)
  • Conduct laboratory scale testing of selected mineral processing unit operations, including results analysis and evaluation
  • Conduct plant flowsheet planning and simulation (based on input from material characterisation and lab-scale tests)
  • Combine, analyse and evaluate results of the material characterisation, laboratory-scale tests and flowsheet simulations
  • Describe the steps involved, along with their challenges and limitations, for process upscaling

Course content

The contents of the course include the following topics:

  • The mine value chain
  • The geometallurgy concept (links between material characteristics and process performance)
  • Sampling and sample preparation, including error estimation
  • Material characterization (eg microscopy, MLA, particle characterisation)
  • Introduction to mineral processing (composed of a selection of processes as listed below, depending on the needs of the participants):
    • Material handling
    • Comminution
    • Screening and classification
    • Gravity separation methods
    • Separation based on magnetic and conducting properties
    • Flotation (theory and circuits, introduction to basic surface chemistry)
    • Dewatering
  • Fundamentals of flowsheet design
  • Introduction to flowsheet modelling and simulation
  • Environmental aspects and health and safety issues
  • Introduction to pilot plant tests
  • Practical exercises (including a set of laboratory exercises and simulations)


The general structure of the labwork is designed to include 1-2 hours of theoretical introduction as well as a description of how to analyse and report results. Labs are carried out either hands-on by students, or as demolabs.


Material characterization 2+4h X X
Laboratory grinding tests 2+5h X X
Classification 2+3h X X
Wet gravity separation 2+3h X X
Magnetic separation 2+4h X X
Flotation 2+5h X X


Simulation labs

The simulation labs are conducted in collaboration with Outotec. This part should be designed to be similar to the labwork part above, i.e. 1-2 hours introduction followed by 3-4 hours of practical exercise individually or in small groups. The results are reported in the form of a written simulation lab report from each session/case.

Time requirement and credits

The approximated time distribution between the different parts of the course is as listed in the table. An estimated correspondence in ECTS credits of each part is also given. The course is arranged intensively in three blocks, with each block spanning about 1 week over 2-3 months.

Introduction and theory 2-3 days LTU
Labwork 3-4 days LTU
Simulation labs 3-4 days Outotec


Course literature

Material distributed during the course

Supplementary reading

Mineral Processing Technology – An introduction to the practical aspects of ore treatment and mineral recovery, B. Wills & J. Finch, 8th Edition, Butterworth-Heinemann, Oxford, UK, 2015.

See Schedule