J.N. KOHMUENCH, M.J. MANKOSA, H. THANASEKARAN, A. HOBERT
Minerals Engineering, 121 (2018)
The copper sulﬁde processing ﬂowsheet has remained virtually untouched for decades and follows a logical progression – crush, grind, ﬂoat, regrind and reﬂoat to produce a ﬁnal copper concentrate. This well-deﬁned and proven method of copper sulﬁde processing has served the industry well for over a century and is based on the particle size range for which conventional ﬂotation is most eﬀective. Work by numerous experts has shown that mechanical ﬂotation works well for a limited size range, from approximately 15 to 150 μm, and is best presented in the well-recognized “elephant curve.” Particles outside this critical size range are typically lost in industrial operations and rejected to tailings due to inherent constraints associated with the physical interactions that occur in the pulp and froth phases of conventional ﬂotation equipment.
The underlying mechanisms responsible for the decline in ﬂotation recovery of very ﬁne and very coarse particles have been extensively discussed in the technical literature. For coarser particles, low recovery is typically attributed to both turbulence and buoyancy constraints. To overcome these inherent limitations found in conventional ﬂotation cells, Eriez has developed and successfully implemented a technology, the HydroFloat™, that combines the aspects of ﬂuidized-bed separation and ﬂotation. More recently, this same technology has been demonstrated in sulﬁdes for recovering coarse value from concentrator tails. Other eﬀorts have shown the positive beneﬁt that can be derived from implementation within the concentrator itself. This paper will discuss the theory of operation of ﬂuidized-bed ﬂotation and data from various applications are presented.
J.N. Kohmuench (a)
M.J. Mankosa (b)
H. Thanasekaran (a)
A. Hobert (b)
(a) Eriez Magnetics Pty Ltd, 21 Shirley Way, Epping, Victoria 3076, Australia
(b) Eriez Manufacturing Company, 2200 Asbury Road, Erie, PA 16506, United States
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