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MEI Online: Froth Flotation: Latest News: October 3rd 2011


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:: Float the Non-floatable: A Solution to Coarse Particle Recovery

It is well known that coarse particles behave poorly in a conventional flotation cell and were previously regarded as “non-floatable”. However, recent laboratory work demonstrates that Fluidised Bed Froth (FBF) Flotation extends the upper size limit of flotation recovery by a factor of 2-3 resulting in significant concentrator performance benefits. AMIRA’s P1047 project, Improved Coarse Particle Recovery by FBF Flotation, is expected to commence in 2012, and will be structured in two phases.

The first or proof of concept phase will be carried out over 12 months and consists of continuous pilot scale testing of the new cell design on a range of mineral types, quantification of the technical benefits and development of the know-how for full scale design. Over the following three years, the second phase will design, fabricate, commission and demonstrate a full-scale commercial unit at a minimum of two sponsor-nominated sites.

It is intended that the project will deliver a comprehensive technology package for inclusion in brownfield expansion or greenfield projects.

Some of the benefits for FBF technology are:

  • Early rejection of gangue with minimum mineral loss

Potential for significant increase in concentrator throughput or significant improvement in capital efficiency

  • Reduced energy consumption

Independent modelling predicts that if particles of 1mm can be floated, comminution energy consumption will be lowered by at least 20%.

  • Better management of water requirement

FBF cells can take product straight from the milling circuit without dilution, and the feed to the FBF Cell could be up to 80% w/w solids, which could lead to significant savings in process water demand.

  • Improve recovery of metallic and other dense minerals.

In a continuous FBF Cell, dense mineral particles will tend to sink to the bottom and accumulate in the cell, thus they can be recovered in a concentrated form by emptying the cell periodically. This could be a significant benefit where the concentration of the heavy metallic material is too low to warrant a separate treatment plant to recover them.




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