Laboratory Testing for Flotation Circuit Design

Barbery G., ; Bourassa, M. ; Maachar, A.
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Pages: 14
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1986
Laboratory testing for flotation circuit design is carried out on a routine basis in a large number of lab- oratories throughout the world. Usually a sample of ore, assumed to be characteristic of the material to be processed in a future plant, having a mass of the order of a few kilograms, is ground in a batch ball or rod mill, in the presence of water and some re- agents (for pH control, etc. .. ); after dilution to the adequate solid concentration, the resulting slurry is transferred into a laboratory batch flotation machine, having a volume which can vary from 0.5 to 8 10 -3m3. Various types of machines are in common use, manufactured by the same companies that market industrial size flotation machines. The operation of flotation in the laboratory is carried out by an experienced technician, who uses parameters such as impeller rotation speed, air flowrate addition, froth height, froth removal rate, in conjonction with reagent addition sequence, to "test" the ore. After flotation, the froth products ("concentrates"), and the solids remaining in the cell are filtered, dried, and analyzed for the various elements of interest. For flotation circuit design, a kinetic test is usually carried out, in which the froth products obtained at various times are collected to assess the time response of the ore in the laboratory machine with the combination of reagents used. Although this description is rather sketchy, it enables to outline some of the major difficulties in using laboratory data for flotation circuit design: 1. ore sample representatively 2. feed preparation procedure (laboratory compared to industrial scale) 3. laboratory procedures (type of ma- chine, type of operation, experimental errors. . . ) 4. flotation machine scale-up 5. flotation kinetic scale-up 6. flotation circuit design using laboratory data These various points will be discussed in the present paper, in order to stress the problem areas as well as possible solutions. ORE SAMPLE REPRESENTATIVITY It has been stated many times that one of the major problem in designing a flotation circuit is the representatively of the sample to be taken. Sampling of an ore body during prospection and evaluation is a specialized field, which has been progress in with the introduction of geostatistics. The application
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