Process Mineralogy Today

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Category: Risk


HAVE YOU VALIDATED YOUR MINERALOGY DATA?

Do you rely on routine SEM-EDS mineral analysis to monitor or drive process development and operational optimisation? Have you ever considered the reliability and consistency of your mineralogy data? The current framework for validating mineralogy results is often not visible to the end-user and in many instances inadequate to form a clear understanding of data quality. To address these shortcomings MinAssist has developed a new solution to reduce risk and give you more confidence in your SEM-EDS results so that you can focus on the interpretation and application of the data.  ...

Flotation Circuit: Concentrate Grade and Recovery

The texture of particles within a flotation cell play a pivotal role in both mineral recovery, and the grade, in the flotation concentrate.  Theoretical curves can be generated based on particle mineralogy and texture to indicate the maximum grade-recovery possible for a given feed ore.  Comparing this ‘theoretical’ curve to actual grade recovery will provide insight in to the efficiency of the flotation circuit.  Inevitably the ‘actual’ curve will plot below the ‘theoretical’; the question is how far below and can that gap be reduced (Figure 1)?

 

During day-to-day plant operation, deviation of the actual grade/recovery curve from this theoretical curve can be considered to be the result of either a change in the feed texture and mineralogy, or less than optimal operating conditions.  A comprehensive understanding of the controls on this will feed decision-making and reduce operational risk.  MinAssist has therefore added the Flotation Health Check to its suite of off-the-shelf process mineralogy studies; making it quick, simple and cost effective to use the theoretical grade recovery to help identify potential circuit optimisation.

Figure 1.  (A) Ore texture defines the theoretical grade recovery curve.  Particle images are used to show how high target mineral recovery will typically also mean recovery of gangue, reducing the grade. (B) If actual grade/recovery is less than the theoretical, then operational conditions may be changed to improve this (1).  If grade/recovery above the theoretical curve is targeted, then the texture of the feed will need to change (2). Figure 1. (A) Ore texture defines the theoretical grade recovery curve. Particle images are used to show how high target mineral recovery will typically also mean recovery of gangue, reducing the grade. (B) If actual grade/recovery is less than the theoretical, then operational conditions may be changed to improve this (1). If grade/recovery above the theoretical curve is targeted, then the texture of the feed will need to change (2).  Developed in conjunction with Professor Dee Bradshaw of JKMRC.

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What is Geometallurgy?

With today’s increasingly complex ore bodies, it is no longer sufficient to use grade and tonnes alone to manage risk and optimise an operation.  In response to this, Geometallurgy is being increasingly employed; seeking allow a block model of an ore deposit to be developed based on key metallurgical parameters and the predicted response of the rock during mining, processing and subsequent environmental management.  To help explain how and where geometallurgy can be used, MinAssist has compiled a short white paper introducing the subject: What is Geometallurgy?

 

What is Geometallurgy?

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Why feasibility studies fail! – A summary

ConveyorsLast week I attended a very interesting presentation by AMC Consultants chairman and past AusIMM president, Peter McCarthy on “Why feasibility studies fail!”.  Peter has been involved in running studies for over 40 years and has seen many different reasons for projects not achieving the targets set out in the original feasibility study.

Some of the key points of project failure were around the very human desire to see projects be developed, even when objectively they may be doomed to failure.  A lack of communication between study teams, construction teams and eventually operations teams also led to plans from feasibility not being implemented on the proposed schedule and leading to difficulties later in the project cycle.

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What is my risk? Using mineralogy as a risk reduction tool.

A significant benefit of process mineralogy is the advantage it can bring in reduction of technical risk in mineral processing.  Site metallurgists and managers can use mineralogy to gain an in-depth understanding of the ore being fed to their operation and reduce the effect of ore variability on recoveries.

 

Smart use of mineralogy in defining ore types and then monitoring their behavior through the process can help in numerous ways to improve the efficiency of control and key processes such as ore blending. 

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