D R Seaman, Li, Lamson, B A Seaman and Adams
Presented at the AusIMM Mill Operators Conference Brisbane, Australia 23 - 25 June 2021
Red Chis Mine, operated by Newcrest Mining Ltd, is a copper-gold mine located in Northern British Columbia, Canada. The process plant produces an auriferous-copper concentrate for sale to smelters and generates two tailings streams, a non-acid generating (NAG) stream and a potentially acid generating (PAG) stream. The PAG stream is disposed of sub-aqueously in the tailings impoundment area.
Rougher flotation performance was found to be poor in comparison to batch flotation tests conducted on ore samples during the feasibility study. Poor froth geometry in the rougher cells made it impossible to implement process control in the roughing circuit, and an inconsistent approach to operating these cells was identified as an opportunity for immediate improvement. Residence time limitations were found to be limiting rougher flotation performance.
This paper presents steps taken to optimise the existing rougher cells with the installation of concentric launders (donut launders) to reduce froth transportation distance followed by the implementation of a rougher flow controller to control the process and short interval control to align the focus and drive the operating philosophy towards improved recovery.
The paper also presents some brief results of a six-cell pilot campaign of the Eriez StackCell® technology planned to provide the next stage of rougher performance improvement.
The authors would like to acknowledge the metallurgy, maintenance and operations teams involved in the successful implementation of the modifications made to the physical, and operational changes at Red Chris mine. Cross discipline support for this initiative as well as the gracious support of the Newcrest senior management team ensured the successful outcome presented herein.
The authors would also like to acknowledge the Telfer Operations management team for making, colleagues, Matt Livingstone and Lara Napier available to Red Chris for development, implementation and transfer of the short interval control approach adopted at Red Chris.
The Eriez flotation division provided valuable assistance and collaboration in the piloting program and provision of their technical specialists on the piloting and subsequent concept design for the next phase of improvement. Ray van Wagoner from Rio Tinto Kennecott Utah Copper graciously loaned Newcrest three of the pilot cells.
The authors would also like to acknowledge the Cadia Operations management team for making Emily Jacques available to support the Red Chris piloting team.
The authors would also like to thank Newcrest Mining Limited for the allowing the data to be presented and published.
D R Seaman1, K Li2, G Lamson3, B A Seaman4 and M H Adams5
1. Principal Metallurgist, Newcrest Mining Limited, Perth WA 6008.
2. Senior Project and Tailings Metallurgist, Newcrest Red Chris JV, Canada.
4. Principal Metallurgist, Newcrest Mining Limited, Perth WA 6008.
5. General Manager Red Chris JV/Vice President Canadian Operations, Newcrest, Canada.
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