Mineral Processing Engineering together with its associated scientific domains and multi-facet structure occupies a unique place in its own discipline. Mineral processing covers the stages of utilizing natural mineral resources in various areas such as metallurgy, iron-steel, glass, ceramics, cement, detergent, paint, building materials, and energy production. In this context, mineral processing follows various technological schemes to increase the metal content of minerals to a certain level, to remove undesirable impurities from mineral based raw materials and also to bring mineral particles to a size suitable for a valuable product. Therefore, design and operation of a plant which requires engineering and technological background of the process becomes prerequisite in mineral processing.
One of the most important problems today both in Türkiye and in the world is production of cheap and clean energy. A major portion of electrical energy presently is produced from coal-fired power stations. In addition coal is also utilized in different forms of solid and gaseous fuels. The quality of coal consumed domestically and in industrial plants is important from the point of human health and environmental pollution. Mineral Processing Engineers with their expertise help in the preparation of upgraded and environmentally friendly coals with more efficient technologies and thus provide both economic and environmental advantages.
Run-of mine mineral resources with high grades and large reserves have globally depleted and have been left with low grade, mineralogically complex and difficult-to-treat deposits. Advanced technologies for precious and rare/rare earth metals (Au, Ag, Pt, Pd, In, Ge, Se, Te, Li) and nuclear energy raw materials (U, Th) have been mainly explored by foreign companies and their experts which should be replaced by our own mineral processing engineers trained and equipped with all necessary up to date knowledge and technology; this is a real challenge.
Rapid progress in developing new materials has demanded preparation of raw materials towards a value added commercial product. We can give examples of preparing products for bio-mechanic, textile, insulation, advanced ceramics, nanotechnology applications. However, development of such materials from a particular raw ore requires well equipped knowledge, experience and confirmed expertise. Also applications both in Europe and the world indicate that utilization of solid wastes including municipality garbage involving all types of solid-liquid separations fall within the expertise area of mineral processing engineers.
Preparation aggregates used as construction materials and concrete industry and production of different blended cement become important industry in our modern daily life. In this context, many aggregation and cement plants have improved their production facilities to comply with the required standards. Mineral processing engineers will definitely contribute to this vital sector with their accumulated knowledge.
All the above criteria and indicators clearly point out the necessity of educating students in İTÜ Mineral Processing Engineering Department which is the first and and only engineering department in the country.