Automated optical image analysis of iron ore sinter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


  • Eugene Donskoi
  • Sarath Hapugoda
  • James Robert Manuel
  • Andrei Poliakov
  • Michael John Peterson
  • Tom Honeyands
  • Mark Ian Pownceby

External Organisational units

  • UNSW
  • CSIRO Mineral Resources, Clayton
  • CSIRO Mineral Resources


Sinter quality is a key element for stable blast furnace operation. Sinter strength and reducibility depend considerably on the mineral composition and associated textural features. During sinter optical image analysis (OIA), it is important to distinguish different morphologies of the same mineral such as primary/secondary hematite, and types of silico-ferrite of calcium and aluminum (SFCA). Standard red, green and blue (RGB) thresholding cannot effectively segment such morphologies one from another. The Commonwealth Scientific Industrial Research Organization’s (CSIRO) OIA software Mineral4/Recognition4 incorporates a unique textural identification module allowing various textures/morphologies of the same mineral to be discriminated. Together with other capabilities of the software, this feature was used for the examination of iron ore sinters where the ability to segment different types of hematite (primary versus secondary), different morphological sub-types of SFCA (platy and prismatic), and other common sinter phases such as magnetite, larnite, glass and remnant aluminosilicates is crucial for quantifying sinter petrology. Three different sinter samples were examined. Visual comparison showed very high correlation between manual and automated phase identification. The OIA results also gave high correlations with manual point counting, X-ray Diffraction (XRD) and X-ray Fluorescence (XRF) analysis results. Sinter textural classification performed by Recognition4 showed a high potential for deep understanding of sinter properties and the changes of such properties under different sintering conditions.


Original languageEnglish
Article number562
Number of pages24
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 21 May 2021