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Flotation 2000

Hilton Hotel, Adelaide, Australia
March 29-31, 2000


This 3-day international symposium, organised by Minerals Engineering International in association with the Ian Wark Research Institute (Australia) and the JK Mineral Research Centre, Australia, was sponsored by Amdel, the Australian Mineral Research Association (AMIRA), Baker Process and CSIRO.

The conference was held at the Adelaide Hilton, situated in the heart of Adelaide, close to the shopping, theatre, central market and business districts, and close to the famous Barossa and Clare Valley wine regions. Adelaide Hilton

Conference Report
Dr. Stephen Grano, Ian Wark Research Institute, University of South Australia, Adelaide. Australia

The Flotation 2000 conference, part of the Minerals Engineering International Conference Series, was held at the Hilton Hotel, in Adelaide, capital of the state of South Australia and centre of Australia’s premier wine growing regions. The conference was jointly hosted by the Ian Wark Research Institute located in Adelaide and the Julius Krutschnitt Mineral Research Centre located in Brisbane. Sponsors of the conference were AMDEL, AMIRA, Baker Process and CSIRO. The conference attracted over 170 delegates representing 17 different countries. Delegates to the conference were provided tours to AMDEL’s laboratories and pilot plant for wine tasting and to the Ian Wark Research Institute to the view research facilities there.

The presentations were comprised of 23 posters and 50 oral deliveries. Full papers from the presentations will be peer reviewed on submission and those accepted will be published in Minerals Engineering Journal. The technical sessions covered most aspects of mineral flotation including: (1) Non-Sulphide Mineral Flotation, (2) Control, Modelling, Simulation and Optimisation, (3) Fundamentals of Flotation, (4) Plant Practice and Machines, and (5) Sulphide Mineral Flotation. There was an excellent blend of research, operational and vendor related papers, covering a wide variety of issues in mineral flotation.

(1) Non-Sulphide Mineral Flotation: This session focussed on fundamental and practical aspects of (1) quartz flotation and the role of alcohols in the adsorption of amine based collectors onto quartz, (2) separation of dolomite from phosphate containing minerals by a two stage process, (3) effect of alumina slimes on the separation of haematite from quartz with a cationic collector, (4) collectors for liberated gold flotation, (5) talc depression during the flotation of platinum group metal ores, (6) ion exchange of oleate collector for surface species on apatite, and (7) the separation of zeolite from quartz through the use of an amine collector and starch depressant. Poster presentations on Non-Sulphide Mineral Flotation included; (1) separation of quartz from magnesite through the combined use of a cationic collector and starch depressant, (2) a comparative study of the separation of calcite from apatite contained in Saudi Arabian ores by flotation or calcination, (3) separation of feldspar from nepheline syenite by a combined acid leach and flotation process, and (4) separation of silica containing minerals from limestone for the production of high quality pigments with low abrasion characteristics.

(2) Control, Modelling, Simulation and Optimisation: This session had a broad range of presentations covering a diverse field including; (1) froth image analysis (four papers), (2) flotation circuit simulation and optimisation (two papers), (3) gas hold up estimation by conductance measurements in a column cell, (4) flotation modelling based on liberation data, (5) spreadsheet tools to analyse flotation circuits, (6) flotation cell pulp level stabilisation, (7) CFD simulation of collision rates in a turbulent flotation cell, and (8) data acquisition and control. Poster presentations on these topics included; (1) a fundamental model of froth which considers particle transport mechanisms on bubbles and in thin liquid films, and (2) modelling of flotation columns with reference to the effects of mixing in the pulp zone for both attached and unattached particles.

(3) Fundamentals of Flotation: This session focussed principally on fundamental physico-chemical aspects of flotation including; (1) xanthate collector speciation in flotation pulps including kinetic modelling of degradation pathways, (2) adsorption of silica particles onto titania surfaces and the effect of linear poly phosphates on this process, (3) direct observation of particle loading on bubbles under turbulent conditions, (4) transport mechanisms of hydrophilic particles in a flotation froth, (5) effect of frother type and concentration on bubble size in both the pulp and froth zones, (6) adsorption of colloidal iron oxide onto galena and its effect on flotation, (7) measurement of superficial gas rates and direct and indirect measurements of bubble size using drift flux analysis, (8) determination of adsorbed collector orientation using polarized infrared measurements as a function of both collector concentration and adsorption from collector mixtures, (9) steric compatibility of polymers with calcite and apatite surfaces using molecular modelling. Poster presentations on Fundamentals of Flotation included; (1) bonding mechanisms of dithiophosphates onto zinc sulphide studied by NMR spectroscopy, (2) removal of colloidal iron oxide from galena and sphalerite, (3) effect of sphalerite iron composition on its copper activation and collector adsorption, (4) collection efficiency of model particles under turbulent conditions, (5) interaction of sphalerite and silica particles, (6) selective flocculation of ultrafine galena particles, and (7) statistical comparison of surface species on galena particles studied by ToF*SIMS.

(4) Plant Practice and Machines: This session focussed on industrial flotation practice and flotation devices including; (1) air jet injection to increase bubble-particle collision efficiency, (2) recent developments in flash flotation including dual tailings outlet to increase mill pulp densities, (3) vortex stabilisation on large flotation cells, (4) plant modifications for apatite concentration to account for different mineralogical characteristics of ore types, (5) de-aeration devices to minimise froth in thickener overflows, (6) seasonal variations in the separation of pentlandite from waste minerals due to changes in process water composition, (7) effect of oil and lubricant contamination on copper flotation, (8) plant modifications to exploit the natural flotability of gold, silver and lead minerals to minimise zinc contamination of concentrates, (9) collectorless flotation of copper minerals in Jameson cell, (10) comparative metallurgical performance in zinc flotation plants, (11) a laboratory study to optimise pyrite-gold flotation plant practice including the effect of regrind and cleaning circuit configuration, (12) coarse (2 mm) coal flotation by entry of coarse particles directly into the flotation froth. Poster presentations on Plant Practice and Machines included; (1) modifications to a copper plant to increase recovery, (2) a methodology to mimic plant flotation pulps in the laboratory, (3) effect of water quality on galena separation from sphalerite, (4) effect of sulphidisation and grinding media on copper recovery in a flotation plant.

(5) Sulphide Mineral Flotation: This session focussed on fundamental and practical aspects of; (1) the effect of conditioning gas on sulphidisation of copper ores, (2) shear flocculation of galena and sphalerite in mineral mixtures and ores in the presence of kerosene emulsion, (3) pentlandite-feldspar interactions in the flotation of platinum group metal ores including inadvertent copper activation of feldspar investigated by analysis with ToF*SIMS, (4) ToF*SIMS studies of sulphur speciation on oxidised sulphide mineral surfaces, (5) synergistic effects related to collector types in the flotation of platinum group metal ores, (6) cationic collectors for the separation of sphalerite from pyrite and quartz, (7) studies on multipolar ligands for the flotation of sulphide minerals, (8) role of copper ions in sphalerite and pyrite flotation selectivity, and (9) quantification of manganese in sphalerite and its effect on its flotation. Poster presentations on Sulphide Mineral Flotation included; (1) mineral liberation analyser and (2) upgrading of sulphide minerals for surface analysis by ToF*SIMS.

The conference was of sufficient magnitude and breadth to be able to make some general comments on the direction of flotation research and practice. Of specific interest was the introduction of new techniques such as ToF*SIMS for the surface analysis of individual mineral phases in mixed system, and a strong research thrust on particle transport mechanisms in flotation froths. Image analysis of flotation froths is rapidly becoming a routine technique for flotation plant control, while the chemistry of flotation froths requires further research. Another feature was the wide application of polymers in non-sulphide mineral flotation, while these reagents are yet to make their large and expected impact on sulphide mineral flotation. Flotation devices are continuing to be developed to improve the capture efficiency of both fine and coarse particles. However, in general, these new devices are yet to make a large impact on plant practice while the fundamental processes of particle capture, particularly for fine particles, requires further research. Flotation circuit modelling will have a large impact on plant design and optimisation in the future.

In conclusion, the conference, which was dedicated to the memory of Dr. Bill Trahar, was very well attended, well organised and held in an excellent venue.

Photos from the conference can be viewed here, and please feel free to download them for your own use (right click on a photo and select "save picture as..."), if you'd like to get prints done from them you could try using Shutterfly. This website allows you to upload digital photos and then have them printed onto photographic paper and mailed to you.

Amdel has a page dedicated to the wine-tasting evening at their pilot plant on their website, intriguingly entitled "S.E.X. and Alcohols do mix!".

Publication of Papers

Minerals Engineering Journal

The following papers have been published in Minerals Engineering:

Volume 13 Number 8/9

Selectivity in the polymer assisted separation of galena from quartz by flotation
E.M. Wightman, S.R. Grano and J. Ralston (Australia)

SIMS studies of oxidation mechanisms and polysulfide formation in reacted sulfide surfaces
R. St.C. Smart, M. Jasieniak, K.E. Prince and W.M. Skinner (Australia)

Volume 13 Numbers 10/11

Control of slime coatings by the use of anionic phosphates: a fundamental study L. Huynh, A. Feiler, A. Michelmore, J. Ralston and P. Jenkins (Australia)

The effect of frothers on bubble size distributions in flotation pulp phases and surface froths
C. Aldrich and D. Feng (South Africa)

Volume 13 Number 12

Improving flotation recovery of copper sulphides by nitrogen gas and sulphidisation conditioning
D.W. Clark, A.J.H. Newell, G.F. Chilman and P.G. Capps (Australia)

Investigation of seasonal metallurgical shift at Incos Clarabelle Mill
M. Xu and S. Wilson (Canada)

Volume 13 Number 13

A review of hematite flotation using 12-carbon chain collectors
K.B. Quast (Australia)

Effect of grinding media and NaHs on copper recovery at Northparkes Mines
W. A. Freeman, R. Newell and K. B. Quast (Australia)

Statistical comparison of surface species in flotation concentrates and tails from TOF-SIMS evidence
C. Piantadosi , M. Jasieniak, W. M. Skinner and R. St. C. Smart (Australia)

Vol. 13 Nos. 14/15

Effects of oils and lubricants on the flotation of copper sulphide minerals
J. L. Bos and K. B. Quast (Australia)

Molecular modelling of reagents for flotation processes
L. S. Leal Filho, P. R. Seidl, J. C. G. Correia and L. C. K. Cerqueira (Brazil)

Volume 14 Number 1

Plant practice innovations in a phospate concentrator
L.A.F. de Barros, L.S. Leal Filho and A.E.C. Peres (Brazil)

Boundary conditions for column flotation -a study by transfer function representation of an axial diffusion model
C. Tokoro and Y. Okano (Japan)

Reverse magnesite flotation
A.N. Santana and A.E.C. Peres (Brazil)

Vol. 14 Number 2

Holdup models from experimental conductance data in a bubble column
L. E. Mattenella and C. R. Zapiola (Argentina)

The role of copper ions in sphalerite  pyrite flotation selectivity
T.K. Dichmann and J.A. Finch (Canada)



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