The Importance of Controlling the Chemical Environment in Flotation Circuits

Herbst, J. A. ; Lee, K. Y. ; Gebhardt, J. E.
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Pages: 10
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1994
Benefits of proper control of reagent usage in flotation circuits are typically improved metallurgy and savings in reagent costs. Improved metallurgy can mean more consistent product quality, i.e., final concentrate grade, better recovery of product values from the feed, or higher plant throughput at existing target recovery, and grade values. Flotation performance is sensitive to a variety of process disturbances which occur in operating plants, such as changes in flow rate, percent solids, size distribution. flotability of mineral species, etc. A way to handle these variations is to fully understand the dynamic flotation responses to disturbances and to implement a suitable control strategy to compensate for these disturbances. Depending on the objectives of the control system, various types of control strategies are available which employ different levels of refinement to achieve the desired performance. Typically, variables such as collector and frother dosages and reagent addition points can be manipulated to affect the performance of the circuit. In the case of sulflde mineral flotation, manipulation of the process electrochemical potential, in flotation and in grinding, offers another degree of process control. Because of the complex and interactive nature of flotation process variables, optimized reagent control requires consideration of all, or at least the most important, interactive variables of the flotation circuit. Model- based optimizing control provides a framework to handle the complex and dynamic nature of flotation reagent process control.
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