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:: Outotec TankCell Proves Its Worth
Outotec and Codelco have finished testing the world’s largest mechanical flotation cell, the TankCell-300, with an active volume of over 300m3, at Codelco's Chuquicamata copper mine in Chile. During that time, the new cell was tested against the plant’s existing flotation cells which are TankCell-160 models, installed in 2001 by Outotec.
Results were obtained during the normal running of the plant, where feed rate to the cells was on average 3600t/h dry weight, with a coarseness of 300 microns and copper content of 0.6%. Sampling was carried out twice a day, averaging four hours per campaign.
In its initial setup, the TankCell-300 was measured to be 3.7% units higher on recovery compared to the two TankCell-160 machines located in a parallel bank, while reaching an equal grade of copper in concentrate. In this setup, the TankCell-300 consumed 205kW of energy, including the cell mechanism and blower consumption. The specific energy consumption of the cell was 0.66kW/m3, compared to the TankCell-160s which yielded a result of 0.71 kW/m3.
In addition to the testing programme, an alternative hydrodynamic setup of the TankCell-300 was also trialled. During this period, the cells were fed with lower-grade ore containing 0.49% copper. This setup improved the metallurgical results further, with over 5% units higher recovery and 1% unit improved concentrate grade than in the parallel TankCell-160 cells. Energy consumption was also lower, approximately 0.58kW/m3 for the TankCell-300.
Outotec reports that during the entire testing program, the TankCells did not exhibit sanding or mechanical problems, and have subsequently been incorporated into flotation circuits at Codelco Norte's mines.
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