Application Of Partition Modeling In The Redesign Of A Heavy Mineral Sands Plant - Preprint 09-094
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Jan 1, 2009
Partition models are commonly used to assess the separation performance of circuits incorporating density-based processes. Unfortunately, this useful tool has traditionally been overlooked by the heavy minerals sands industry due to difficulties associated with the use of toxic dense liquids. In the present study, this problem has been avoided via the development of partition models based on experimental data from microscopic grain-counts. This technique, which uses different mineral species as density tracers, provides a new tool for evaluating the multi-stage circuits that are required to successfully upgrade heavy mineral sands. The partition model approach easily identifies shortcomings of existing circuits and, when used with conjunction with linear circuit analysis, provides tremendous insight regarding the optimum arrangement of unit operations in terms of separation efficiency and plant throughput capacity. An industrial case involving the redesign of a heavy mineral sand spiral plant is presented to demonstrate the utility of these process engineering tools in plant optimization.