Project description and overview
Flotation is a surface chemical phenomenon which relies on differences in hydrophobicity between the valuable minerals and the waste ore in the pulp to achieve a separation. The process is remarkably robust, however significant improvements can be achieved by firstly measuring some basic pulp chemical parameters (pH, Eh, dissolved oxygen, temperature, oxygen demand and EDTA extractable metal ions), and secondly used these data to better control the process. As we know the feed mineralogy is constantly varying, but these variations are not easily measured and currently there is no technology providing these measurements continuously in real time. This has ramifications for circuit stability, reagent optimisation and control, and the ability to produce saleable concentrate grades at maximum recoveries.
The on-line pump chemistry monitor (PCM®) was developed to measure the pulp chemistry and was installed in a number of copper concentrators (e.g. Phu Kham, Boddington, EHM, Prominent Hill, Peak and Ridgeway).
Modifying the reagent regime to account for changes in the mineralogy will result in more effective reagent control and improved metallurgy as well as potential cost savings with reduced reagent consumptions. This has been demonstrated at Ernest Henry where using the PCM instrument delivered $800,000 p.a. savings in reagent.
The objectives of this project are to build a commercial ready PCM®, demonstrated it in the field and commence the commercial roll out.