A CSIRO-developed on-line reagent monitoring system which measures collector levels within flotation pulps could prove valuable for the mining industry.
The reagent monitoring system provides users with on-line measurements of residual collector in strategic process streams.
Monitoring the level of residual collector could, when applied in an operating plant lead to significant reduction in collector consumption, and may lead to improved metallurgical performance.
The system uses a robust UV detection system to measure the levels of species such as xanthate and cyanide in flotation pulps.
Dr Chris Greet, principal metallurgist at Magotteaux, explains how the company became involved with the reagent monitoring system.
“Our laboratory test work indicated that by changing the pulp chemical environment during grinding through the use of a more inert grinding media, it was possible to reduce reagent consumption and improve both galena and sphalerite flotation response,” Dr Greet told Australian Mining.
“The next step was to determine if this worked in the field, so we approached Perilya Ltd, who agreed to a plant trial in their Broken Hill concentrator.”
During the plant trial, one primary ball mill was converted to a more electrochemically inert grinding media type, and tests were completed comparing this line to the two remaining lines which operated with electrochemically active grinding media.
Plant trials confirmed that the use of an electrochemically inert grinding environment would lead to reductions in collector consumption without a negative impact on metallurgical performance.
“However, conducting such tests in the laboratory, and then at plant scale can be laborious. What we needed was a technology that would provide good quantitative data in real time. We spoke with Warren Bruckard, research project leader at CSIRO Minerals, who suggested that CSIRO’s recently developed reagent monitoring system might be just the ticket for our work.’
Magotteaux and CSIRO established a test program to demonstrate that xanthate could be detected in the lead primary rougher tailing using the reagent monitoring system, and then assess the effect different grinding chemistries had on collector adsorption and subsequent galena flotation behaviour.
CSIRO researchers successfully used the system to measure and record the levels of residual xanthate in the primary lead rougher tailing for both grinding environments.
A number of different tests confirmed the system’s sensitivity to varying levels of residual xanthate in the pulp solution.
“The initial results were very encouraging. Since then we have completed a number of test programs with CSIRO which confirm our earlier test work — different grinding chemistries do have an impact on collector adsorption, which has positive ramification on reagent consumption and metallurgical performance,” explains Dr Greet.
“Magotteaux intends to explore the technology further, but can see clear benefits to the mining industry where the on-line reagent monitoring system could provide operators with an unprecedented level of control over collector addition rates.”
Acting Communications Manager, CSIRO Minerals