About The Process
An iron ore mining company operated an iron ore mine and pelletizing plant adjacent to the tailing ponds that Saucon Minerals has leased from the State of Michigan. Rocks rich in iron ore were crushed and ground to a fine powder to separate the iron ore from other compounds.
Since the material was so fine, it had to be hydrated in order to process it through magnetic separators forming a concentrated material. The material that did not meet specification was discarded by pumping it into large contained open areas called tailing ponds. The tailings were very high in silica but also contained residual amounts of iron and other valuable minerals. The mine was shut down in 1988 and the mining company abandoned the tailing ponds leaving a large area where hardly any vegetation could grow, a veritable “industrial wasteland”.
Saucon Minerals’ extraction process entails grinding the tailings to achieve proper sizing. The material is then processed through a series of magnetic separators yielding two distinct products, magnetite iron ore concentrate and an organic fertilizer / soil amendment product containing valuable micronutrients that are essential for healthy plant growth.
After the tailings are processed into iron ore concentrate and organic fertilizer, the remaining material will be discharged back into the tailing basins. Since most of the metallic elements will have been removed from the material, the material will possess the characteristics needed to promote plant growth. The company intends to plant alfalfa, wild flowers and tree seedlings in the restored tailing basins thereby completing the transformation process.