Computer Control of Chalcopyrite Flotation at Mount Isa Mines Limited
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Jan 1, 1976
Progress in the development of an automatic control system for the chalcopyrite flotation circuit at Mount Isa Mines Limited is discussed. Preliminary studies have shown that the operating grade/ recovery curve for a sulphide flotation circuit is established by rougher-scavenger behaviour and the operating point on that curve by cleaner-retreatment behaviour. The control strategy of the rougher-scavenger banks involved regulation of xanthate to maintain recovery and control of air to seek the optimum grade/recovery curve. Control of the cleaner circuit to maintain the correct operating point of the plant relative to the ore entering it will be by air. Pulp levels will be used as an additional controllable variable in due course. Sensing instruments include a "Courier" on-stream analyser and several mass flow metering systems each of which contains a magnetic flow meter and a gama gauge. Measurements of concentrate grades and recoveries are made as early as possible in the rougher bank so that a change in the ore entering the plant can be detected as soon as possible. Over a period of six months from initial control systems application, computer control of xanthate resulted in an overall reduction in consumption of 10%. Experimental work has indicated that improved metallurgical performance will result from the introduction of additional air and level control loops.