Engineering & Mining Journal

DEC 2018

Engineering and Mining Journal - Whether the market is copper, gold, nickel, iron ore, lead/zinc, PGM, diamonds or other commodities, E&MJ takes the lead in projecting trends, following development and reporting on the most efficient operating pr

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FLOTATION 56 E&MJ • DECEMBER 2018 www.e-mj.com COMPANY PROFILE-PAID ADVERTISEMENT and improves the flotation rate through enhanced bubble-particle interactions." Newcrest reported in the 2018 Investor Day Briefing Book it is considering putting a coarse ore flotation system ahead of its flash float/gravity circuit. Possible advantages in- clude energy efficiency, low operating cost, and a small footprint, the miner reported. At an estimated capital cost of roughly $70 million, the system could possibly con- tribute as much as two to three percentage points to the targeted percentage increase in LOM total gold recovery, helping, along with other improvements, to raise the tar- get LOM gold recovery rate from 72%, as determined by the prefeasibility study, to possibly 79%, the miner reported. The disadvantage is the newness of the technology, Newcrest reported. The idea, one of two reported as possi- ble LOM recovery improvement projects, would be subject to the completion of a feasibility study and attainment of the requisite permits and approvals. Recovering Single Particles Minerals Refining Co. (MRC) reported it is planning to pilot test its Hydrophobic-Hy- drophilic Separation (HHS) system at an American copper mine in the second quar- ter of 2019. The system, originally developed and pilot-plant-proven to capture and dry the smallest coal fines, will be tested at pro- cessing roughly 50 to 100 pounds per hour of ore solids comprised of less than 10 micron particles otherwise destined for the thickener, Stan Suboleski, Ph.D., pres- ident, MRC, said. "After the concentrating plants do multiple flotation steps and give up on the ore that is too fine for flotation, that is the ideal place to put HHS," he said. Currently, MRC is lab-trialing the sys- tem using cleaner-tailings samples from four copper and nickel mines. "Once we are satisfied that HHS works well on all four, we will probably be at the point where we can schedule the pilot test at one of them," Suboleski said. The goal, he said, is to produce a concentrate that is 20% copper. "At that point, it becomes something that refiner- ies would love to have." A 20-t/h commercial HHS system for capturing coal fines is calendared for com- missioning prior to the end of 2019. The technology has reportedly been developed to a point where the miner can recover coal fines that are now being pumped to the impoundment as waste. The product, on average, is of a higher quality than that pro- duced by the plant. The system also enables the miner to "dial" in the water content, usually in the single digits, Suboleski said. Those capabilities suggest the tech could be deployed for similar applica- tions in the hard rock space, he said. "We think on the mineral side it might have a future going after really small particles," Suboleski said. "We've recovered parti- cles down to single micron size, and even smaller than that when we were trying it out on rare earths," he said. "We don't know how fine we can go with this tech- nology, and that is probably going to be pretty important on the metals side." HHS shares characteristics with tradi- tional flotation systems. Instead of being aerated, the slurry is mixed with an oil. Oil molecules simply perform better at grabbing hydrophobic particles, Suboleski said. "It is a matter of contact angle," he said. "We can recover particles that are both larger and smaller than flotation can." The system employs several steps. In the first step, the oil and slurry are mixed mechanically. "We have to mix this stuff Bel-Ray has been solving lubrication problems since 1946 and has provided high tech min- ing lubricants for more than 50 years, often working with OEM's to develop high perfor- mance lubricant specifications for mining and processing machinery. 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