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Improve Your Concentrator Performance Using Process Mineralogy
The first presentation of this in-demand professional education course was held at the JKMRC, Indooroopilly, Brisbane.
The programme involved seven specialist presenters, covering the topics: Basic Mineralogy; Plant Sampling and Sample Preparation; Measuring Mineralogy & Liberation; Analysis Tools; The MLA; Statistics and Modelling; Concentrator Diagnosis; Developing Solutions and Estimating the Benefits.
A highlight was the case study which was introduced at the beginning of the course and allowed attendees to work through the quantitative analysis of a set of mineral liberation data. Mineral recovery was calculated on a size-by-size basis then size-liberation data was incorporated into the analysis. Mis-reporting particles were identified and mineralogically limiting grade-recovery curves were considered. Techniques for mass balancing of the data were discussed with an example worked through as part of the case study.
When and how to include plant surveys in concentrator problem solving was studied, including advice on which samples to take and how to ensure that the mineralogy sample is representative of the stream. Case study survey data were used to identify process weaknesses from inadequate liberation, process weaknesses from entrainment or flotation of liberated gangue and process weaknesses from loss of liberated valuable mineral. Finally solutions to these processes weaknesses were discussed.
Attendees also heard about the advantages and limitations of the techniques available to obtain process mineralogy data, and the sources and levels of statistical uncertainty in the data. In future, they will know which analysis methods to request, the type of sample required and the best way to make use of the results generated.
The first course had ten attendees ranging from metallurgical technicians through to senior plant metallurgists, from operations in Australia, New Zealand and Brazil. The course was held as part of the Continuing Professional Education Program 2000 of the Sir James Foots Institute of Mineral Resources. Future courses will be held at the JKMRC in Brisbane, and a customised version of the course can be held at other sites including at concentrator operations to maximise the opportunity for staff to learn of the benefits of including quantitative mineralogy in plant problem solving and optimisation.
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