Storage and Transport

Hays, Ronald M. ; Matthews, C. W. ; Price, W. L. ; van Slyke, W. R. ; Lovrien, J. K. ; Yu, A. T. ; Cole, S. P. ; Terry, Sanford ; Campbell, D. R. ; Young, K. A.
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Pages: 236
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1985
Storage and transport systems are essential for mineral processing. Section 10 includes systems for storage and transport of dry bulk materials, slurries, and water necessary for operation of mineral pro¬cessing plants. All aspects of these systems are presented, including material characteristics; dry material placement in and reclamation from storage stockpiles and bins; dry material conveyance; hydraulics (liquid flow and pumping); slurry characteristics; slurry storage and reclaim, slurry flow (distributors, launders, and pipes), and pumping; water (primary and secondary process, reclaimed, fire, cooling, and domestic) supply, transport, and storage; equipment selection and sizing; power transmission; controls; and health and safety. The mate¬rials considered include crude ore; process and other water supplies; initial, intermediate; and final in-plant materials; finished materials; and tailings and other waste products. Section 10 is a compilation of practical operating data for engineers, technicians, and plant opera¬tors. For the design of mineral processing plants, including selection and sizing of equipment, the design engineer should consult with equipment manufacturers, suppliers, engineering firms, and plant op¬erators with specialized experience in particular materials handling methods. When unusual conditions are encountered, actual pilot or full scale testing may be required to insure adequate design. Operation of mineral processing plants is dependent on the proper engineering and construction of storage and transport systems for dry bulk materials, slurries, and water. It is obvious that processing plants cannot produce the required quantities of semifinished and finished products unless these material can be transported adequately to, through, within, and from the plant. Costs of storage and transport systems may exceed 50% of the total capital and/or operating costs. Considerable attention must be given to the design, layout, and engineering of these systems. These systems are interrelated with the mineral processing method and it is necessary to determine the best combination of mineral processing method and storage and transport systems. Storage and transport systems perform a major supportive func¬tion to mineral processing. The final selection of these systems depends on the final selection of the processing method and related systems (environmental control, tailings and waste disposal, etc.). The process¬ing method determines the characteristics of materials to be stored and transported; distances, elevations, flow rates for transport; and storage requirements. Flowsheet After selection of the processing method and related systems, a flowsheet must be developed. This flowsheet should indicate produc¬tion rate, percent solids or moisture, and specific gravity for all initial, intermediate, and final products or product flow streams. It also may be necessary to know the size analysis, chemical analysis, abrasiveness, and other physical characteristics of various product flow streams. The flowsheet provides basic information for plant layout, storage requirements, and selection and sizing of process and transport equip¬ment. Storage and transport systems often function improperly be¬ cause of inadequate flowsheet data or process revisions, resulting in improper equipment selection and sizing. Further details on plant design are presented in Section 33. After selection and sizing of process equipment, it is necessary to select the type of material transport equipment to be used for in¬plant materials handling as well as crude ore, tailings, and final prod¬ucts. The storage and/or surge requirements, including capacity and location, then are determined. Storage and/or surge capacity is neces¬sary for leveling production rate fluctuations due to variations in material characteristics; production scheduling; equipment mismatch¬ing, failure, or breakdown; and scheduled maintenance downtime. Variations in ore grindability will cause fluctuations in throughput or production rate for grinding mills and variations in ore grade will cause fluctuations in production rate for concentrating equipment. Variations in material moisture content and percent solids can have serious effects on the capacity of material transport equipment. In some cases, a blending system may be desirable or necessary to reduce variations and to obtain uniform production and/or metallurgy. Storage capacity often is needed because of different production schedules for various phases of the mining and mineral processing complex. As an example, the mine and coarse crushing plant may operate on a one- or two-shift-per-day schedule while the fine crushing plant and concentrator on a three-shift-per-day schedule. This would require storage between the coarse and fine crushing plants. Another example would be load-out storage where unit trains are used to haul concentrate or final products. The concentrator could be operated on a three-shift-per-day schedule while only I to 2 hr may be scheduled for unit train loading. This would require adequate load-out storage so that the concentrator can be operated continuously. Process equipment with mismatched capacities requires storage or surge capacity between the mismatched equipment to achieve oper¬ating efficiency. As an example, the fine crushers may have greater capacity than the rod mills. Storage between the fine crushers and the rod mills permits both the crushers and rod mills to be operated at optimum capacity with the crushers actually operating or running a lesser number of hours per day. Mismatched capacities for process and transport equipment also may require storage or surge capacity. Mismatching of equipment capacities most often occurs because of the difficulty in equipment sizing. Thus, the design engineer must anticipate where in the flowsheet these mismatching capacities are likely to occur while making every effort to assure that equipment is selected and sized properly. Equipment breakdown can cause major operating difficulties and lost production. These breakdowns can be reduced with adequate scheduled maintenance. Lost production due to nonscheduled down¬time caused by equipment breakdown can be reduced further by standby equipment and storage and/or surge capacity ahead of essen¬tial mechanical and electrical equipment. As an example, standby pumps and conveyors often are available as part of the in-plant trans¬port system. Storage and/or surge bins and tanks often serve dual functions, such as dewatering, mixing, and smoothing production rate fluctuations.
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